The need for immediate emergency eye flushing requires the installation of emergency eyewash devices in accessible locations that require no more than 10 seconds to reach the eyewash where strong acids or caustics are present.
Time is of the essence with eye injuries. Toxic substances, when in contact with the eye, immediately begin to damage sensitive eye tissues. The longer hazardous materials remain in the eye, the more severe the damage. Beside tissue damage, acids and alkali can change the pH in the eye itself (and could lead to serious eye injury, including blindness). It’s imperative to begin flushing immediately after the eye comes in contact with a harmful substance…the first ten seconds are critical.
The ANSI Z358.1 - 2004 Standard mandates 15-minute primary eyewash devices “shall be in accessible locations that require no more than 10 seconds to reach.” Studies have shown that there are significant differences in the outcome of chemically burned eyes that received prompt irrigation compared with those that did not undergo immediate flushing. In cases where eyes were flushed promptly, patients required less surgery, had shorter hospital stays and made a more rapid recovery.