OSHA updates eyewash station resource

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently updated its resource for maintaining eyewash stations in the dental practice.

The OSHA Infosheet states the following:

"Eyewash stations are critical emergency safety equipment intended to mitigate eye injuries when control methods do not prevent exposure to a physical or chemical irritant or a biological agent. The ANSI standard for eyewashes specifies that eyewashes must be capable of delivering tepid flushing fluid to the eyes not less than 1.5 liters per minute (0.4 gpm) for 15 minutes after a single movement and subsequent hands-free operation. Whether the eyewash station is permanently connected to a source of potable water (i.e., plumbed) or has self-contained flushing fluid, improper maintenance may present health hazards that can worsen or cause additional damage to a worker's eye."

According to the infosheet, workers have the right to:

  • Working conditions that do not pose a risk of serious harm.
  • Receive information and training (in a language and vocabulary the worker understands) about workplace hazards, methods to prevent them and the OSHA standards that apply to their workplace.
  • Review records of work-related injuries and illnesses.
  • File a complaint asking OSHA to inspect their workplace if they believe there is a serious hazard or that their employer is not following OSHA's rules. OSHA will keep all identities confidential.
  • Exercise their rights under the law without retaliation, including reporting an injury or raising health and safety concerns with their employer or OSHA. If a worker has been retaliated against for using their rights, they must file a complaint with OSHA as soon as possible, but no later than 30 days.

CDA's Infection Control and Cal/OSHA Frequently Asked Questions resource provides more information on the Cal/OSHA requirements for eyewash facilities. The resource reminds dentists that water hoses, sink faucets or showers are not acceptable eyewash facilities.

For questions or to get additional information, contact CDA Practice Support at 800.232.7645.

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Some states may have more rigorous emergency kit requirements, and The Dentists Insurance Company advises dentists to check with their state dental board or dental association for specifics on what to include beyond ADA recommendations. TDIC advises all dentists to know when, how and in what dosages to administer drugs included in their emergency kits. Stocking emergency medications but lacking the training to administer them appropriately can be a liability.