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Eye wash stations.

Eye wash stations and portable eye wash bottles are an item onboard our submarines that don't seem important until they are needed. The significance of maintaining eye wash stations (fixed and portable) in a perfect working conditions and availability could save one of our sailor's vision in the event of a mishap.

The first and most important item in ensuring your command meets all of the requirements for eye wash stations is to know what the requirements are. Knowing the required locations of your fixed or portable eye wash stations is the first step. Each Safety Officer, with the Medical Department Representative's (MDR) assistance, should review the baseline industrial hygiene survey, NSTM 223- and 670-1.8, and paragraph B0508 of OPNAVINST 5100.19D. At a minimum, the industrial hygiene surveys for submarines recommend portable eye wash stations to be located at the secondary sample sink and in the close proximity of nucleonics. The portable eye wash bottles need to be placed in a location that is accessible for use versus locked in a locker/cabinet.

Next, both the fixed and portable eye wash station locations must also be distinctly marked with highly visible signs per ANSI Standard Z358.1.1998 and OPNAVINST 5100.19D. The proper signs can be procured through the supply system using NSN 9905-01-345-4521. The signs are green, with a white-eye wash symbol, and white lettering.

Over the last year, surveyors have discovered only a few submarines are using the correct portable eye wash bottles. There have been a wide variety of bottles used in lieu of the correct eye wash bottles. Some of the bottles that have been seen are condiment bottles, specimen bottles, and a variety of other unsuitable bottles that do not meet ANSI specifications. The correct bottles can be obtained through the supply system using NSN 6450-01-353-9946. These bottles are intended to be readily available in sufficient quantities in compartments that do not have permanent or portable eye wash stations per OPNAVINST 5100.19D.

Permanently mounted eye wash stations in the auxiliary division spaces, should be readily available for use in the event of an emergency. On numerous occasions, these stations have been found to be inaccessible, removed, or used for temporary storage while work was being completed. If a permanent eye wash station requires removal or securing for various reasons, ensure an alternate means of emergency eye wash is available (e.g., the shower stall, placement of a temporary portable eye wash station). And most importantly, ensure the crew is made aware of these changes either through the POD, quarters, or training.

Finally, it's recommend that the MDR and Safety Officer check the eye was station for proper operation. This includes checking the flow, (to ensure the station delivers 0.4 gallons per minute for 15 consecutive minutes), the eyepiece fixture has the proper covers attached and that they pop off upon activation of the water, and ensure the eye wash station has not been removed or disassembled. This can be done when conducting habitability, zone, and safety inspections each week. If there are any further questions with regard to safety related items or stock numbers please contact me at the Naval Safety Center at (757) 444-3520 ext. 7098 or DSN 564-3520 ext. 7098, or email me at
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Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2004
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