- 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.
March 4, 2013
Mr. Robert F. Levandoski, CSP, CIH
Fuss and O'Neill Manufacturing Solutions, LLC
146 Hartford Road
Manchester, Connecticut 06040
Dear Mr. Levandoski:
Thank you for your letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for a clarification of OSHA's standards pertaining to 29 CFR 1910.151(c) 1 , Medical services and first aid. This constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any question not delineated within your original correspondence. We apologize for the delay in our response.
Your question is paraphrased and our response follows.
Scenario/Background: My employer provides safety consulting services to manufacturing employers. A few of our clients have been cited under 29 CFR 1910.151(c), for not having quick drench facilities, i.e., eye wash stations or showers, at locations where forklift batteries are being charged. The citations were based on the potential contact with battery acid while the battery caps were removed and distilled water was being added.
It is common for many companies to use a broad range of building locations for battery charging. In many cases, these locations do not have potable water for an eye wash station or quick drench shower.
There are several products on the market that eliminate the need for an employee to remove the battery caps for servicing of the battery. One of the devices is an auto-filling system that adds the appropriate amount of water, thereby eliminating the exposure of the employee to the caustic battery acid.
Question: If an employer installs a battery auto-filling system that completely eliminates employee exposure to caustic battery acid, would the employer still be required to provide a suitable facility for quick-drenching or flushing the eyes per OSHA standard 1910.151(c)?
Reply: No. If the battery auto-filling system that you describe in your letter completely eliminates employee exposure to corrosive battery acid, the employer would not have to provide a facility for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body. However, if there is other potential employee exposure to other corrosive materials in the workplace, then the employer would have to provide facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes or body. Please note that OSHA does not certify the safety of products, nor does the Agency endorse or approve products.
Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. OSHA's requirements are set by statute, standards, and regulations. Our letters of interpretation do not create new or additional requirements but rather explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. From time to time, letters are affected when the Agency updates a standard, a legal decision impacts a standard, or changes in technology affect the interpretation. To assure that you are using the correct information and guidance, please consult OSHA's website at https://www.osha.gov. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact the Office of General Industry and Agricultural Enforcement at (202) 693-1850.
Thomas Galassi, Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs
1 1910.151(c) Where the eyes or body of any person may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials, suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body shall be provided within the work area for immediate emergency use.