Eye Wash Stations In Dental Offices

Jun 21, 2018 | Dental

As the Ministry of Labour continues to crack down on health and safety compliance there has been much uncertainty around eye wash station requirements for dental offices. While there does not appear to be concrete guidelines on eye wash unit specifications for dentists, I will outline what is known so far and what dentists can expect in the near future.

Currently, there is no universally recognized minimum requirement for eye wash stations in Ontario’s workplaces. With this in mind, Ministry inspectors commonly refer to the American National Standards Institute’s (ANSI) standard Z3581.1-2009; this provision deals with quick drenching and flushing equipment in the United States. In short, the ANSI standard requires employers to install eye wash units that adhere the following criteria:

a) Eye wash units shall be in accessible locations that require no more than 10 seconds to reach. Additionally, eye wash stations should be adjacent to work areas where eye splash injury is most likely to occur.

b) Flushing fluid temperature must be tepid. This means that in most cases a water mixer must be installed below the eye wash unit to ensure the flushing fluid’s temperature remains between 15 and 35 degrees Celsius.

c) Simple activation (off to on in 1 second) and hands-free once activated. Users should only require one hand to turn on the eye wash unit thus precluding the usage of faucets with separate hot and cold-water knobs.

d) Eye wash stations must provide at least 15 minutes of continuous flushing.

The above four points must be taken into account when purchasing and installing eye wash stations in dental offices in Ontario. Criterion “c” rules out the possibility of simply installing a faucet-mounted eye wash unit onto an existing “u-shaped” faucet in your office. Moreover, guideline “d” infers that dentists cannot use the popular wall-mounted bottles of flushing fluid to act as their primary eye wash station (although the aforementioned two devices can still serve as secondary eye wash units!).

Efforts by the O.D.A and other advocates to provide dentists with unequivocal, Ontario-specific eye wash station requirements are ongoing. The reality, however, appears to be that owner/operators of dental practices can expect to pay in the thousands of dollars in plumbing and installation charges for whichever type of eye wash station is deemed complaint when the new standard is decided upon. There is one other alternative to individually plumbed eye wash units that may be much more cost-effective and practical for dentists that have limited space in their existing offices.

To discuss alternatives to separately plumbed eye wash stations or to ask dental compliance related questions in general, I encourage you to contact me directly using the details below.

Paul Roberts, PCP, Hons. BA

SAJE: Dental Compliance Program



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Skills Review Course. Participants of this 2.5 hour course will review how to assess a patients’ vital signs, how to recognize common medical emergencies and much more. READ MORE »

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Participants will role-play as either the victim or rescuers in several simulated medical emergencies, and will learn to recognize and simulate the treatment of a variety of medical conditions using the equipment and facilities available in their dental office. READ MORE »


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