How long should the eyes be rinsed if they are exposed to hazardous chemicals or debris?

For eyewash stations to be effective, ANSI recommends that the eyes be flushed immediately for at least 15 minutes (at a low pressure) with either water or flushing fluids. The amount of time needed for rinsing should be increased if the contaminate is corrosive. Here are the ANSI recommendations based on severity.

  • 5 minute flushing for mildly irritating chemicals
  • 20 minutes for moderate-to-severe irritants
  • 20 minutes for non-penetrating corrosives
  • 60 minutes for penetrating corrosives

In all cases, if irritation persists, repeat the flushing procedure and get medical attention immediately.