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How To Choose An Eyewash Station For Your Facility

Let's Start With the Two Basic Types

Portable Stations

Portable units can be installed where plumbing is not available and they can be moved around a work area depending on the need in your facility.  There is flexibility with this type of eyewash.  Portable units don’t require the use of the plumbing in the facility.  They are self- contained units.

Plumbed Stations

Plumbed stations can be permanently set up in a work area using your facility’s own plumbing.  This type allows a constant flow of water to the units.

Thinking About a Portable Unit?

Portable Equipment Offer Various Choices to Fit Your Facilities Needs

  • Portable Units are versatile and can be placed near the hazards in your facility
  • They can be wall-mounted, rolled around on a cart or placed on a shelf
  • There are also pressurized tank units that are mobile enough to be used in a variety of work spaces and remote areas

There are Two Ways that the Flushing Fluid can be Delivered in a Portable Unit:

  • Potable Water Treated with a Preservative (Bacteriostatic Solution)
    • The solution is added to potable water to keep it free from bacteria
    • The flushing fluid should be changed every three to six months (depending on manufacturer) to ensure clean and safe flushing of the eyes
    • The portable unit must be emptied, cleaned with mild soap and water and refilled depending upon the maintenance schedule
    • A new bottle of bacteriostatic solution must be added with each refill

  • Sealed Cartridges
    • A manufacturers’ sealed cartridge which contains the flushing fluid is installed in specially designed eyewash.
    • It has a shelf life up to 24 months from date of manufacture without needing to be changed
    • There is a higher cost up-front with this type of unit but it is virtually maintenance-free for the life of the cartridge
    • Simply replace the cartridge when it expires.

Mounting Considerations for Portable Units

  • Portable stations come in many shapes, styles and sizes. (Consider height, width and depth)
  • Measure the dimensions of the wall and depth of the area where the unit will be placed


  • High Density Polyethylene which is usually bright green, yellow or blue

Thinking About a Plumbed Unit?

Plumbed Units Become a Permanent Fixture in Your Facility

  • They are set up with the facilities plumbing

Stay Open Valves

  • These plumbed units must have a stay open valve that cannot be shut off unless it is shut off manually according to the ANSI standards

Bowl Material

  • Plumbed units can be purchased with plastic or stainless steel bowls


  • Wall mounted
  • A free standing pedestal
  • Faucet Mounted on a sink

Various Plumbed & Portable Styles That Can Meet Your Specific Needs

Faucet Style Eyewash (Plumbed)

  • Ideal for medical offices and laboratories
  • Screws directly onto the faucet tip or can be purchased as one unit including a faucet and eyewash combined
  • Both efficient and compact
  • No additional wall space in the facility is needed

Lab Units (Plumbed)

  • Designed to provide safety in a laboratory
  • Various configurations such as swing activated and downward pull activated
  • The sinks in the lab offer the plumbing and drainage that can be tapped into in order to set up these units.

Eye/Facewash  (Plumbed and Portable)

  • Flushes both the eyes and the face simultaneously

ADA Compliant Eyewash Stations  (Plumbed or Portable)

  • Able to be used for workers that have disabilities
  • Designed to be installed further from the wall for easy access of a wheel chair

Tank Style Units  (Portable)

  • Can either be a primary or supplemental unit
  • The primary units are ANSI compliant.  This type has two spray heads attached to the unit and enough fluid to provide a full 15 minute flushing of the eyes while a supplemental does not

Units for Cold Weather (Plumbed or Portable)

  • A heated station can provide workers with the proper flushing temperature even in a sub-zero environment
    • Portable Units contain a heater attached inside or outside the unit depending on the manufacturer
    • Plumbed Freeze Proof Units operate with a self- draining valve to keep the pipes from freezing
    • According to the ANSI Standard the flushing fluid should be between 60 and 100 degrees

Measurement is Important

Position the Spray Heads to meet ANSI Standard

  • Position the spray heads of an eyewash 33 to 45 inches from the floor and 6 inches from the wall for both portable and plumbed units

Drainage Considerations

Floor Drain

  • A drain in the floor will allow the flushing fluid to wash away instead of forming a puddle on the floor which can cause a hazardous situation

Special Buckets to Catch the Fluid

  • A bucket can be purchased to catch the flushing fluid of a portable unit

Eyewash Stations designed with a Reservoir

  • Reservoir is built into a portable unit which catches the flushing fluid (Fendall 1000 and Fendall 2000)

*Hazardous Chemical Drainage

If the chemicals that workers are working with contain hazardous materials that cannot be introduced into a sanitary waste system, then the piping from the drain would need to be either connected to the facility’s acid waste disposal system or a neutralizing tank.

Placement is Critical

Distance from Hazard

  • The Eyewash needs to be installed or positioned within 10 seconds of the hazard which is approximately 55 feet

No Obstructions Between Hazard and Emergency Equipment

  • Must be able to be reached without any obstructions being in the path of the injured worker
  • It should also be on the same floor level as the hazard
  • No stairs or ramps to walk up or down in order to reach the unit
  • No doors between the hazard and the unit

Make the Eyewash Visible and Easy to Find

  • An eyewash station should be in a well-lit place with a visible sign

The Flushing Fluid

It Can't be Too Hot or Too Cold

  • According to the ANSI standards, the flushing fluid must be between 60 and 100 degrees fahrenheit
  • A heated eyewash might be required in a colder facility in order to maintain this temperature

Thermostatic Mixing Valves

  • Thermostatic mixing valves can be purchased to blend cold and hot water to ensure a constant, safe flushing fluid temperature

Alarms Help to Alert Others of an Emergency

Eyewash Alarm

  • Sounds once the unit has been activated to alert others to an emergency that is in progress

Make Sure That They Are Working

  • Portable units that have been treated with bacteriostatic solution should be emptied and refilled every three to six months (depending on manufacturer's expiration dates) and they should be visually inspected periodically to ensure that they have not been tampered with
  • The cartridges in the in the Portable Cartridge style units should be changed every twenty four months from the date of manufacture.  If the eyewash has been activated for any reason and the cartridges seal has been broken, then they must be changed immediately
  • Maintenance should be documented on maintenance tags attached to the units or hung on the wall next to the station

Supplemental Eyewashes

If an eyewash does not meet all of the ANSI Requirements, it is considered a supplemental eyewash that isNon- ANSI compliant.  There are various types of supplemental types available

  • Eyewash Bottles
  • Tanks with only one sprayhead
  • Units that don’t flush for a full 15 minutes

OSHA Compliance and Worker Protection

The bottom line is that there are quite a few types of eyewash stations to choose from that can make your company OSHA compliant and a safer place for your employees to work.

If you have additional questions regarding the type of unit that would be beneficial for your facility, give our eyewash specialists a call at 866-864-3495 or send us an email at [email protected] and we will be happy to help with your choice.