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Eyewash Stations

MCN Question of the Week

Eyewash Stations


Is there a standard related to monitoring the temperature when performing quality control checks for eyewash stations?


The Joint Commission does not have a specific standard related to monitoring the water temperature of an eye wash station BUT the following Joint Commission Laboratory standards speak to laboratory equipment:

  • EC.02.04.03 – the laboratory inspects, tests and maintains laboratory equipment
  • EC.02.06.01 – eye wash stations are readily accessible to laboratory staff

You must ensure your staff is safe.  This entails the testing and maintenance of eye wash stations which includes the water temperature; to hot and you cause further injury; to cold and you can cause hypothermia.

OSHA Regulation 29 CFR 1910.151(c) states – Where the eyes or body of any person may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials, suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body shall be provided within the work area for immediate emergency use.

Take a look at The American National Standard for Eyewash and Shower Equipment ANSI Z358.1-2014 for guidance on eyewash stations.

  • Water Temperature at Eyewash Stations:
    • ANSI standards (2014) recommend that the water temperature at eyewash stations should be “tepid”.  ANSI defines tepid water as, ”A flushing fluid temperature conducive to promoting a minimum 15 minute irrigation period. A suitable range is 16 – 38º C (60 -100º F).”
      • Temperatures higher than 38 degrees C (100 degrees F) are harmful to the eyes and can increase the chemical interaction with the skin and eyes.
      • Long flushing times with cold water (less than 15.5 degrees C [60 degrees F]) can cause hypothermia. This may cause a staff member to not rinse or shower for the full recommended time.
  • Quality of the Flushing Fluid and Preventive Maintenance:
    • The ANSI standard states that plumbed flushing equipment,“shall be activated weekly for a period long enough to verify operation and ensure that flushing fluid is available”.
    • Water should be tested and treated to remove chemical contaminants.
    • Preventive maintenance should be performed every three (3) months or as needed to check for valve leakage, clogged openings and lines and adequacy of the fluid volume.

Self-contained eyewashes should be visually checked weekly to determine if flushing fluid needs to be changed or supplemented

All testing and preventive maintenance should be documented and maintained in the Engineering Department.

If an eyewash station is in need of repair, notify your staff members and obtain a portable eyewash station immediately.

Related Products from MCN Healthcare:

Utilities and Equipment Management Policy and Procedure Manual


Regulatory Compliance Solutions for Healthcare Organizations,
Including Policy Management Software, Policy Library Templates,
StayAlert! – Regulatory Alert System, and Learning Management System


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