Avoid These Pitfalls to Ensure Workplace Safety and Compliance

Today we're diving into the critical topic of purchasing emergency eyewashes. These essential safety devices can make a significant difference in protecting employees from serious injuries. In this article, we'll explore the five common mistakes people make when buying an emergency eyewash and how to avoid them. By the end, you'll be equipped with the knowledge to make informed decisions that enhance workplace safety and compliance. 

1. Ignoring AS4775 Emergency Eyewash and Shower Equipment Requirements
One of the most frequent mistakes is not thoroughly understanding or adhering to AS4775 requirements. AS4775 mandates that eyewash stations must deliver a controlled flow of water at 1.5 L per minute for 15 minutes. They must be easily accessible and free from obstructions. Failing to meet these standards can result in non-compliance fines and, more importantly, inadequate emergency response capabilities. Familiarize yourself with AS4775 guidelines to ensure your eyewash station meets all necessary requirements. 

The relevant part of this standard is:- 
AS4775 Emergency eye wash and shower equipment - Section: 7 Plumbed and Self Contained Eye Wash Equipment 7.1 Performance of plumbed and self-contained eye wash units 

A means shall be provided to ensure that a controlled flow of flushing fluid is provided to both eyes simultaneously at a velocity low enough to be non-injurious to the user. When activated plumbed and self-contained eye wash equipment shall deliver flushing fluid to the eyes at a flow rate not less than 1.5 L/min for a minimum of 15 minutes. 

2. Overlooking the Importance of Accessibility
An emergency eyewash is only effective if it can be reached quickly in an emergency. Many workplaces place these stations in areas that are not easily accessible or are obstructed by equipment and storage. The location of your eye wash equipment should be within a 10-second walk from the hazard area and should not have any barriers that could delay access. Regularly assess your workplace layout to ensure that eyewash stations are strategically placed for maximum accessibility. 

3. Choosing the Wrong Type of Eyewash Station
There are various types of eyewash stations, including plumbed units, self-contained units, drench hoses and portable units. Each type has its advantages and is suitable for different environments. Plumbed units provide a continuous flow of water but require plumbing installation. Self-contained units are portable and easy to relocate but need regular maintenance to ensure the water is potable. Assess your workplace needs and choose the type of eyewash station that best suits your environment and hazards. 

4. Neglecting a Regular Maintenance Plan
Purchasing an emergency eyewash is only the first step; regular maintenance is crucial to ensure it functions properly when needed. Many workplaces fail to conduct weekly checks, leading to potential issues such as clogged nozzles or depleted flow rates. Set up a routine maintenance schedule to test your eye wash equipment weekly and have it inspected annually. This practice ensures that the equipment remains operational and compliant with safety standards. 

5. Failing to Provide Adequate Training
Even with the best equipment, an emergency eyewash station is useless if employees do not know how to use it properly. Comprehensive training is essential to ensure that all employees understand the location, operation, and importance of the eyewash station. Conduct regular training sessions and drills to keep everyone informed, prepared and trained in emergency response. Clear signage and instructions should also be displayed prominently near the eyewash stations to guide users during an emergency. 

Avoiding these five common mistakes when buying an emergency eyewash can significantly improve your workplace safety and compliance. By understanding AS4775 requirements, ensuring accessibility, choosing the right type of station, maintaining equipment regularly, and providing thorough training, you can protect your employees from serious eye injuries. Take this opportunity to review your safety measures and make any necessary improvements to create a safer work environment.

Emergency Safety Shower and Eyewash Product Guide

If you require additional assistance you can download our Emergency Safety Shower and Eyewash Product Guide. This product guide discusses the points above in more detail and additional options for you to consider for your workplace. 

This Product Guide also includes a Safety Shower and Eyewash Decision Flow Chart to assist you in finding the right product for your requirements.