Eyewash Station Use and Maintenance

Feb. 24, 2022

In instances of chemical or infectious agent exposure to the eyes, immediately flush with water for at least fifteen minutes. Follow this procedure:

  • Use an eye wash when possible so that hands are free to hold the eyes open. If an eyewash is not available, pour water on the eye, rinsing from the nose outward to avoid contamination of the unaffected eye.
  • Hold eyelids away from your eyeball and rotate your eyes so that all surfaces may be washed thoroughly.
  • Remove contact lenses while rinsing. Do not lose time removing contact lenses before rinsing. Do not attempt to rinse and reinsert contact lenses.
  • Seek medical attention regardless of the severity or apparent lack of severity. Explain carefully what chemicals or infectious agents were involved.

Lab users should know the location of all eye wash stations, safety showers, facility alarms and building evacuation routes. Also familiarize yourself with the location and contents of the EHS emergency response handbook (if you cannot locate one in your laboratory, contact EHS for a replacement).


Eyewash stations should be run on a monthly basis for 1-3 minutes, if otherwise unused, to flush stagnant water from the line. Run the water longer if the line is being used for the first time.

Before you do this, be sure to check if the eyewash station is plumbed. If the drain is not connected to plumbing, place a bucket underneath before turning on the water.  

While flushing, review the tags on units to ensure that all annual activations/inspections are current. If annual inspections are not up to date contact Facilities at 258-8000.