Update on the Eyewash and Shower Station Rule
In 1981, Cal/OSHA adopted an emergency eyewash and shower standard (General Industry Safety Orders §5162). It references the 1981 version of ANSI standard Z358.1. Unlike Z358.1, which has been updated periodically over the years (last updated in 2014), §5162 has been long overdue for an update since its adoption over 30 years ago.
The 2014 updated version of the ANSI Z358.1 standard addresses the following: certification, design, employee training, maintenance, performance, and testing on eyewash and shower stations. It includes updated specifications, including but not limited to: design, drench hoses, new devices, and plumbing of systems.
With equipment, products, technology, and work procedures ever changing with efficiency as well as worker health and safety in mind, there are several options currently up for debate with regards to updating §5162. One option is to reference the ANSI standard (which would require employers to purchase the ANSI standard) or opt for certain items from the standard to incorporate in the Cal/OSHA regulation. To prevent employers from having to purchase the ANSI standard, a second option would be to require all eyewash and shower equipment to be labeled as meeting the ANSI standards. Either way, Cal/OSHA is long overdue for updating this standard. As of right now, the Cal/OSHA Standards Board is set to meet and discuss this issue in possibly the first half of 2018. The Cohen Group will keep you posted. Stay tuned.