- Standard Number:
OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov.
September 11, 1995
Mr. Gary Allison, President
Desert Assembly, Inc.
653 Middlegate Road
Henderson, NV 89015
Dear Mr. Allison:
This is in response to your request letter of July 12, that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) enforcement guidelines revert to our original position of acceptance of your product with no other qualifications.
Our meeting of July 12, focused on three topics: 1) Desert Assembly, Inc.'s faucet-mounted eyewash unit's compliance with American National Standards Institute, INC. (ANSI) standard Z358.1; 2) OSHA's position on the application of faucet-mounted eyewash units and the flushing water temperature; and 3) Competitive market equality for safety related products such as faucet-mounted eyewash units developed for a specific application. This response for clarity will address each topic separately.
Based on the following information, Opti-Klens units comply with ANSI Z358.1-1990.
1. The May 6, 1994 interpretation letter by the Secretariat of ANSI Z358.1, Industrial Safety Equipment Association (ISEA), superseding its memo of May 13, 1993, in which Opti-Klens faucet-mounted eyewash system was deemed to meet the requirements of the standard for emergency eyewash equipment.
2. Results of two independent testing laboratory reports showing that the Opti-Klens units compiled with paragraphs 5.1 through 5.3.1 of ANSI Z358.1-1990.
The Opti-Klens faucet-mounted units, having met the requirements of the consensus standard to which OSHA defers, is an acceptable device.
Your letter also asks about OSHA's position concerning the maximum eye flushing water temperature that is suitable for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes under by 29 CFR 1910.151 and the concern about installing them on combination hot/cold water mixing valves. Our position has not changed from our letter of October 19, 1994. OSHA's recommended maximum eye flushing water temperature is 100 degrees F. This temperature should be considered a ceiling that provides a greater margin of safety and of comfort to an individual whose eyes are already traumatized.
The diverter valve modification to the Opti-Klens unit demonstrated during our meeting along with installation and operation instructions to the end user should resolve the potential problem of the "user reaction to hot water - pull away potential" during eye flushing activities. In addition to the modifications discussed during the meeting, we would like to recommend the following administrative considerations be added to your guidance to end users.
a. Where there are multiple faucets within the space where the eye wash is to be installed, employers should turn off the hot water supply to the mixing valve faucet on which the eye flushing units are mounted.
b. Where eliminating the hot water by shutting it off is not an option, the employer should remove the cold water valve handle in the full on position and change the hot water valve handle so that is not as easily activated in an emergency (i.e., switching from a lever handle to a turn knob).
The third point discussed at our meeting is the issue "level playing field" in marketing of safety related products mandated by government regulations, and the use of interpretations of non-regulatory consensus bodies. There are times, such as in the case of the Opti-Klens faucet-mounted units, where the consensus standard's interpretation and resulting OSHA interpretative guidance have been used against a product for marketing purposes. As an Agency, we cannot dictate or restrict the usage of documents in the public domain. However, OSHA, as the interpreter of its own standards, determines the extent to which the Agency will apply a consensus standard interpretation. Our practice is that when there is no compelling evidence to refute an ANSI Secretariat's interpretation, we ordinarily defer to the consensus body (ANSI).
If you have further questions on this response, please contact Mr. Don Kallstrom in the Office of General Industry Compliance Assistance (202) 219-8031.
John B. Miles, Jr., Director
Director of Compliance Programs