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ANSI Z358.1 FAQ’S: eyewash or eye/face wash? OSHA or ANSI?


Casey Hayes, Director of Haws Integrated™, is our go-to expert for questions on ANSI Z358.1. For your quick reference, Casey has responded to your most frequently asked questions to help you stay up-to-date on ANSI compliance.

What is the difference between an eye/face wash and just an eyewash?

An eyewash is specific to eyes, and the water flow rate is designed to hit only the eye surface. It is imperative that the eyewash temperature be 60° – 100° F and have a continuous flow for a full fifteen minutes. Having an eyewash with the right requirements will not only make a difference between temporary blindness and permanent blindness, but increase productivity. Nearly 2,000 eye injuries occur each day in the workplace and with only half of U.S. workplaces in compliance, the cost of an injury can be significant.

An eye/face wash will cover the eyes and a portion of the face. In addition, an eyewash has a .4 gpm minimum flow rate and an eye/face wash has a 3.0 gpm minimum flow rate.

Eye/face washes are beneficial because it’s rare that a victim only has a chemical hit the eye area so using an eye/face wash to flush more of the exposed area will only increase and enhance the emergency response.

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Does OSHA use the ANSI standard?

 OSHA requires the employer to provide suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes. While OSHA has not formally adopted ANSI Z358.1, they refer employers to the standard as a source of guidance. In other words, OSHA agrees to enforce safety standards presented by ANSI, while ANSI acts as an assistant to OSHA with safety and health standards. ANSI is recognized as an approval agency of voluntary national consensus standards.

It is the employer’s responsibility to assess the particular conditions related to the needs of the site to ensure the eye/face wash and shower unit(s) provide suitable protection for employees.

For more questions regarding ANSI Z358.1, read our white paper here.