I think it’s pretty normal to feel hesitation or fear toward the idea of a jet of water squirting directly at your eyes as you struggle to keep them open.
It is a natural safety mechanism for the human brain to close your eyes when something is coming towards them. Flinching is an instinctive reaction of self defense.
This humorous and relatable scene from The Office rightly portrays how most people feel about the idea of eye wash stations:
In the scene Andy Bernard is trying to get work as an amateur actor and is cast in a safety video showing how to use an eyewash station. He is guided into the eye wash station screaming bloody murder the entire time.
HOWEVER if you find yourself in a position of having gotten a hazardous material in your eyes I’m sure the fear would quickly be replaced by a feeling of desperation and discomfort.
Here are some guides for using the eyewash station in case of emergency:
- Turn on the water
- Place your eyes into the streams
- Use your fingers to keep your eyes open
- Roll your eyes to make sure the water covers them
- Take out your contacts
- Seek medical help
According to the CCOHS you should rinse for different times based on the type of injury
5-minutes for non-irritants or mild irritants,
15-20 minutes for moderate to severe irritants and chemicals that cause acute toxicity if absorbed through the skin,
30 minutes for most corrosives, and
60 minutes for strong alkalis (e.g., sodium, potassium or calcium hydroxide).
Eyewash stations should be designed to deliver fluid to both eyes simultaneously at a volume of not less than 1.5 litres/minute (0.4 gallons/minute) for 15 minutes.
The placement of these stations is important as it is recommended that workers should be able to access the station in a period of only 10 seconds from the time of the incident.
Work areas and operations that may require these devices include:
Battery charging areas
High dust areas
Hazardous substances dispensing areas
Temperatures of the water are best kept at 20-25°C