Emergency Eye Wash Station: Types, Features, and Top Picks

eyewash station features and top picks

An emergency eye wash station is a crucial safety device in places where chemicals and harmful substances are handled. Eyewash stations are designed to provide quick decontamination and flush out any harmful materials that might get into someone’s eyes, which can prevent serious injuries or even blindness. This article explores the different types of eye wash stations, their key features, and our top picks for each one.


Emergency Eye Wash Station: Overview

emergency eye wash station with sign

To start, let’s look at eye wash stations and their role in industrial safety. An eyewash station is a first-aid and emergency response equipment that delivers a steady stream of water with controlled water temperature and pressure that provides flushing and washing abilities needed to remove hazardous chemicals or materials that can damage the eyes.

Eyewash stations feature these key components and elements:

  • Nozzles: These are designed to deliver a soft, steady stream of fluid to irrigate the eyes without causing further harm.
  • Control Valve: Usually a push lever or pedal that the user can easily activate in an emergency. This valve controls the flow of the flushing fluid.
  • Water Supply: This includes connections to a continuous source of clean water. In plumbed units, this might be directly connected to the building’s water supply.
  • Basin: A container to catch the used flushing fluid, preventing spillage and contamination in the work area.
  • Backflow Preventer: To ensure that contaminated water does not flow back into the clean water supply.

In addition, here are some key industry standard requirements for emergency eye wash stations for effective and efficient operations:

  • Accessibility: Eyewash stations should be accessible within 10 seconds or about 55 feet from the hazard areas, with a clear, unobstructed path.
  • Proper Installation: The nozzles should be at a height suitable for the user, generally between 33 to 45 inches from the floor.
  • Regular Maintenance: To prevent microbial contamination from stagnant water, maintenance of eye wash stations includes weekly activation and at least annual inspection of the whole system.
  • Adequate Water Supply: The station must provide a sufficient volume of tepid fluid to ensure a continuous flow for at least 15 minutes.

Plumbed vs. Portable Eye Wash Stations

There are generally two types of eye wash stations - plumbed and portable. When setting up a safety plan, choosing the right type of eye wash station is crucial depending on factors such as the nature of the hazards, the optimal location of eye wash station, and the availability of clean water.

Plumbed eye wash stations are permanent fixtures that are connected directly to a source of potable water. These are best suited for work areas or locations where hazardous materials are regularly handled. On the other hand, portable eye wash stations are highly versatile and flexible devices. It features a reservoir of flushing fluid that can be easily transported or transferred from one location to another.

Here’s a summary of the key features and differences between plumbed and portable eye wash stations:

Feature Plumbed Eye Wash Station Portable Eye Wash Station
Installation Requires plumbing installation. No plumbing required; easy to set up.
Water Supply Unlimited, as long as connected to a continuous water supply. Limited to what the tank can hold; needs regular refilling.
Mobility Fixed; cannot be moved once installed. Highly mobile; can be relocated as needed.
Maintenance Needs regular maintenance to prevent water stagnation, ensure functionality, and protection from corrosive materials. Requires maintenance to refill and ensure the cleanliness of the water.
Temperature Control Can be equipped with mixers to regulate water temperature. Some models can be equipped with heaters for use in cold environments.
Cost Higher initial setup and installation costs. Generally lower upfront cost, but ongoing maintenance can add up.
Usage Ideal for permanent work areas with consistent hazard exposure. Best for temporary or changing work sites without fixed plumbing.
Capacity Designed for prolonged use (15 minutes as required by safety standards). May have a smaller capacity, not always suitable for the full required flush time.


Types of Eye Wash Stations: Features and Top Picks

eye wash station sign

Eyewash stations come in a variety of shapes and sizes, offering more versatility and flexibility to cater to various environmental needs and space configurations in industrial work facilities. Here is an overview of the different types of emergency eyewash stations and our topics for each one.

Wall-mounted Eye Wash Station

Wall-mounted eye wash stations are secured to the wall, providing a stable and reliable solution for eye safety. They are typically equipped with one or two spray heads, a push lever or foot pedal for activation, and a drain to dispose of used water. These are ideal for permanent installations in laboratories, industrial settings, or workshops where hazardous materials like chemicals are routinely handled. Their fixed position ensures that workers know exactly where to go in an emergency.

Key Features:

  • Space-saving design that fits well in small areas.
  • Often equipped with flip-down covers that activate the flow of water and protect against contaminants.
  • Provides steady, hands-free operation once activated.

Top Pick: The Global Industrial™ Emergency Eyewash Station, Wall Mount, stands out in the market for its practical design and essential safety features. This model is particularly noted for its robust plastic bowl that is mounted directly to the wall, ensuring durability and stability. It includes a dual spray head system with flip-top dust covers, automatic flow control, and integral flow control to ensure gentle water flow, making it safe and effective for eye decontamination. Its easy activation, via a highly visible push plate, ensures rapid response during emergencies, making it an excellent choice for workplaces dealing with hazardous substances.

Floor-Mounted Eye Wash Station

Floor-mounted or pedestal-mounted eye wash stations are free-standing units installed directly on the floor. They usually feature a broader base for stability, making them robust enough for heavy-duty industrial environments. This type is best used in places without suitable walls for mounting, such as open industrial areas, large manufacturing floors, or construction sites with defined hazard zones.

Key Features:

  • Robust design suitable for high-risk areas.
  • Highly visible, often featuring bright colors for easy identification in emergencies.
  • Can include additional accessories like body spray features.

Top Pick: The Hughes STD-85GS/P-SS Floor-mounted Eye/Facewash Fountain is a standout product, notable for its robust construction and efficient design. This model features a stainless steel bowl which ensures durability and cleanliness. It is equipped with aerated diffusers that provide a soft flow of water, minimizing the risk of further injury during flushing. Its pedestal mount design makes it highly visible and easily accessible in emergency situations. Ideal for industrial settings, this eye/face wash station is designed to deliver a thorough cleansing experience efficiently and effectively.

Deck-Mounted Eye Wash Station

Deck-mounted stations attach directly to countertops or laboratory benches. They often have swivel heads that can be moved out of the way when not in use. These stations are perfect for environments where space is limited but hazards are present, such as school and industrial laboratories or compact production areas where immediate decontamination is required.

Key Features:

  • Compact and easy to install on existing fixtures.
  • The nozzles swivel aside when not in use, allowing normal use of the sink or work area.
  • Quick activation, typically via a lever or push handle.

Top Pick: The Guardian Equipment G1805 Eyewash, a deck-mounted unit, is distinguished by its efficient design tailored for quick emergency responses. This emergency eye wash system features AutoFlow™ technology with a 90° swivel that activates by moving the spray head assembly horizontally over a sink. Each spray head is equipped with a dust cover, flow control, and a filter to ensure clean water output. The polished chrome-plated brass construction and its easy installation right beside a sink make it an excellent choice for environments requiring immediate eye decontamination without sacrificing work space.

Dual-Head Drench Hose Eye Wash

This type features a flexible hose with dual spray heads, allowing for directed flushing. It can be used for the eyes or as a body spray to rinse other affected areas. Dual-head drench hoses are versatile and useful in environments where chemicals can splash not only the eyes but also other body parts, making them ideal for chemical plants, paint shops, and agricultural facilities.

Key Features:

  • Dual heads allow for simultaneous eye and facial area flushing.
  • Flexible hose makes it possible to reach different parts of the body if needed.
  • Ideal for situations where contaminants might affect more than just the eyes.

Top Pick: The Speakman SE-925-TEW-VB Drench Hose and Eyewash stands out for its versatility and safety compliance. This wall-mounted unit includes twin aerated spray heads for effective flushing, a 12-foot recoiling hose for flexibility, and a stay-open valve for uninterrupted operation. Meeting ANSI Z358.1 standards, it is particularly suitable for laboratories and industrial settings where space and immediate response are crucial. Its design ensures quick, targeted flushing, making it a top choice for emergency eye wash and body drench solutions.

Faucet-Mounted Eye Wash Station

Faucet-mounted eye wash stations convert a regular faucet into an eye wash station with a simple attachment that can be activated in emergencies. They are generally less expensive than full units and are easy to install. These are practical for offices, classrooms, and less hazardous areas where full-sized equipment might be considered over-preparation. They are also good for areas with limited space.

Key Features:

  • Easy to install with simple adapters that fit most standard faucets.
  • Activated by pulling a diverter valve, switching from faucet to eye wash station.
  • Cost-effective and practical for less hazardous environments.

Top Pick: The Uline BL_880 Faucet Mount Eyewash Station offers a practical and efficient solution for converting any standard faucet into an emergency eyewash station. This product is notable for its ease of installation with no plumbing required, making it an ideal choice for workplaces that need flexible safety solutions. The eyewash operates via an easy-pull knob and features flip-top dust covers to maintain cleanliness. The simple design and functionality make it a cost-effective choice for adding emergency preparedness without extensive modifications.

Gravity-Fed Portable Eye Wash Station

Gravity-fed portable eye wash stations use gravity to deliver water through a nozzle and do not require a plumbing connection. They typically consist of a tank that is filled with sterilized water or a flushing solution, mounted on a stand or trolley for mobility. These stations are ideal for locations without direct water supply like construction sites, remote field locations, or areas in industrial plants where permanent installations are not feasible. They are also useful during temporary projects where chemical or hazardous material exposure risks are present.

Key Features:

  • Typically equipped with a large capacity tank that holds enough flushing solution to provide a continuous flow for 15 minutes
  • Easy to move and set up in various locations, making it ideal for sites without direct water access.
  • Requires regular checks to ensure the stored fluid remains clean and sterile.

Top Pick: The Haws 7500 Portable Eyewash Station boasts a 16-gallon capacity, ensuring compliance with ANSI Z358.1-2014 requirements for emergency eyewash. It features a durable, high-density green polyethylene tank and ABS plastic eyewash heads ensuring a 0.4 gpm flow rate over 15 minutes. The unit is easily activated by a yellow pull-down arm, and its portable design is enhanced with integral handles and a wide-fill opening for easy maintenance and refilling. This makes it an ideal choice for remote and low-traffic areas that require dependable emergency eyewash capabilities.

Pressurized Portable Eyewash Tanks

Pressurized portable eyewash tanks are similar to gravity-fed units but use pressurized canisters to force water out, providing a consistent flow rate. These tanks can be refilled and pressurized manually or with an air compressor. This type is well-suited for environments where a higher volume and pressure of flushing fluid are required quickly, such as in large-scale construction sites or areas dealing with highly corrosive chemicals. They are also beneficial where the setup of traditional plumbing is impractical or too costly.

Key Features:

  • Delivers consistent and controlled flow of flushing fluid, often enhanced with additives like bacteriostatic agents to keep the water sterile.
  • Some models include a drench hose for spot flushing, adding versatility to the safety functions they can perform.
  • Includes pressure gauges to monitor and maintain the correct pressure levels.

Top Pick: The Bradley Portable Pressurized Eyewash with Drench Hose is a versatile and robust safety solution for any environment where hazardous substances are present. This unit features a pressurized tank that ensures a reliable flow of flushing fluid, a drench hose for flexible application, and a stainless steel construction for durability. It's easily activated with a push handle, making it ideal for quick response in emergencies. The portable design allows it to be positioned in optimal locations for immediate access when needed.

Eye Wash Saline Bottle

These are small, portable eye wash bottles filled with a sterile saline solution, meant for immediate eye flushing until an individual can reach a more substantial eye wash facility. Saline eye wash bottles are perfect for personal emergency kits, field workers, and places where larger eye wash stations are impractical. They are also recommended for quick, initial flushing as part of emergency response while moving towards a full eye wash station.

Key Features:

  • Portable and lightweight, easy to carry in work areas.
  • Quick and simple to use, requiring minimal training.
  • Provides immediate first aid, but not a substitute for the full 15-minute flushing required by standards.

Top Pick: The Honeywell Eyesaline Double Eyewash Station is a standout choice for workplace safety, featuring four 16 oz bottles, making it highly effective for immediate emergency eye flushing. Its key features include a user-friendly open housing style for quick access, a compact design measuring 19 in x 14 in x 4 in, and compliance with ANSI Z358.1 standards. The station's 18-month shelf life ensures long-term usability, making it a reliable solution for keeping workplaces compliant and workers safe from eye-related injuries. This product is made in the USA, emphasizing quality and reliability.


Choosing the right emergency eye wash station is essential for ensuring safety in environments where hazardous materials are handled. Make sure your workplace is equipped with the appropriate eye wash station to provide immediate response in case of an emergency, safeguarding the health and well-being of all employees.



How often should eye wash stations be checked?

Eye wash stations should be inspected weekly to ensure they are in proper working condition and that the flushing fluid is clean and safe to use. For plumbed stations, this includes activating the station to flush out any sediment or bacteria that may have accumulated. Portable stations should be checked according to the manufacturer’s instructions, typically ensuring that the fluid hasn't expired and the container is fully functional.

What is the OSHA requirement for eye wash stations?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that eye wash stations be accessible within 10 seconds or about 55 feet from the workplace hazard. They should also be on the same level as the hazard, the path to them must be clear of obstructions, and they must provide a minimum 15-minute continuous flow of flushing fluid at a rate that does not harm the eyes. OSHA refers to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z358.1 standard for detailed specifications on eyewash and shower equipment.

Is an eye wash station just water?

Most eye wash stations use either potable (drinkable) water or a buffered saline solution that is isotonic and less irritating to the eyes. The choice of fluid depends on the specific requirements of the workplace and the type of contaminants that may be present. Portable eye wash stations often use preservatives to maintain water quality, which should be replaced or refilled as per the manufacturer's guidelines.

Where must eye wash stations be placed?

Eye wash stations must be easily accessible and placed within 10 seconds or about 55 feet of a potential chemical exposure hazard. They should not require navigating stairs or obstacles, and the area around the eye wash station must be well-lit and clearly marked. The station itself should also be installed at a height that is reachable by all potential users, generally between 33 and 45 inches from the floor.

How long do you hold your eyes under the eye wash station?

In the event of an exposure, you should hold your eyes under the wash stream for at least 15 minutes. It is crucial to keep your eyes open and rotate your eyeballs in all directions during this time to ensure thorough flushing. Immediate and adequate flushing can significantly reduce the risk of injury or long-term damage to the eyes.

The material provided in this article is for general information purposes only. It is not intended to replace professional/legal advice or substitute government regulations, industry standards, or other requirements specific to any business/activity. While we made sure to provide accurate and reliable information, we make no representation that the details or sources are up-to-date, complete or remain available. Readers should consult with an industrial safety expert, qualified professional, or attorney for any specific concerns and questions.


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Author: Herbert Post

Born in the Philadelphia area and raised in Houston by a family who was predominately employed in heavy manufacturing. Herb took a liking to factory processes and later safety compliance where he has spent the last 13 years facilitating best practices and teaching updated regulations. He is married with two children and a St Bernard named Jose. Herb is a self-described compliance geek. When he isn’t studying safety reports and regulatory interpretations he enjoys racquetball and watching his favorite football team, the Dallas Cowboys.