Eyewash Flushing and Other Requirements
September 14th, 2021

Reminders related to flushing and care of eyewashes

During recent inspections of research areas, OESO and other inspectors have noted the following common findings related to emergency eyewash inspection, flushing and care: 

  • Eyewashes must be flushed weekly so that clean water is available for flushing the eyes if needed. For almost all Duke work areas, this is the responsibility of local staff. The flushing requirement also applies to eyewashes in shared laboratory space - labs must assure flushing of all eyewashes in areas where they work.
  • Record eyewash flushing on the Weekly Eyewash Maintenance Log, usually posted on the wall near the eyewash. (If you use a different log, be sure to follow the instructions on the linked document. If you keep flushing logs in a central location, post a sign near each eyewash to indicate where flushing logs are kept.)
  • After flushing, replace the caps to keep the nozzles clean and clear of debris.
  • The area in front of the eyewash and within 6 inches in all directions of the nozzles must be clear of obstructions from equipment, chemical bottles, glassware, etc. Some laboratory areas have had success marking the area to be kept clear with colorful tape. On a related note, be sure nothing is blocking your safety shower – no item can be stored within 16” of the center of the showerhead, between the showerhead and the floor.
  • Maintenance must inspect eyewashes and safety showers at least annually. This will be documented by the maintenance group using their standard practice. In most laboratory areas, an inspection card will be used to document maintenance checks. Lab staff should not write on this inspection card.
  • If you notice broken caps, issues with water pressure, incorrect orientation of the spray nozzles, or other concerns, reach out to your maintenance provider to request that the eyewash be repaired.

Keeping your eyewash in good shape and flushing it regularly is important since we never know when these devices may be needed by someone in our work areas. 

For more information about requirements related to emergency eyewashes and showers, see the Emergency Eyewash and Shower Equipment policy in the University Safety Manual.