Eyewash Stations in Labs

Q: Does an eye wash station need to be mounted over a designated “clean sink” or can it be in any sink? Some of our Labs only have one sink, so that sink is considered to be a dirty sink. Can we have a swing-out eye wash station located above that sink?

A: The OSHA and ANSI standards do not directly address this issue. But Joint Commission, CMS, CAP and the other accreditors will definitely perceive this as a risk to the health and safety of the staff that may use the eye wash station. The risk must be assessed by you, and the mitigation activities to lessen the risk are really what you will be judged on. I suggest you discuss this with the Lab safety officer and the organization’s Infection Control practitioner, and see what they think. If you wouldn’t want to put your face down into the dirty sink then I’m sure you would not expect your staff to do so as well. Do a risk assessment, run it past the Lab safety officer and the IC practitioner, then run it past the Safety Committee and see what they say. If everyone is okay with it (including your accreditation organization), then you should be able to use it for the eye wash station, as long as the eye wash station is maintained and kept clean.