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Thinking Safety February 2013 eNewsletter

Thinking Safety eNewsletter

Thinking Safety Monthly eNewsletter

Five Common Eyewash Myths Debunked

  February 2013 | Issue #11

In This Issue:

Safety FAQ

QHow can I find a qualified radon professional? ACheck with your local government or state authority (State Radon Contact) for their list of available and approved contractors in your area. You can also check with two privately-run Radon Proficiency Programs: National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) or National Radon Safety Board (NRSB).

Grainger offers radon test kits to help with your radon testing needs.

Five Common Eyewash Myths Debunked

March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month sponsored by Prevent Blindness America. It's also Save Your Vision Month sponsored by the American Optometric Association (AOA). In honor of these upcoming events (focused on eye safety) this issue of Thinking Safety will take a closer look at some common eyewash safety myths.

Myth #1: "An eyewash flushing bottle counts as an OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) compliant eyewash."

Incorrect. According to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard for Emergency Eyewash and Shower Equipment (ANSI Z358.1-2009), 16- and 32-oz. bottles are considered personal eyewashes. Personal eyewash units provide immediate flushing and can be used as the employee is making his/her way to an approved emergency flushing station. An approved eyewash station must be able to flush both eyes simultaneously, for 15 continuous minutes, with a minimum flow rate of 0.4 gallons per minute.

Myth #2: "There are no specific guidelines for water temperature for an emergency eyewash or shower."

Incorrect. Guidelines in ANSI Z358.1-2009 specify the water temperature for emergency flushing equipment to be in the range of 60–100°F. Water temperatures below 60° can cause hypothermia and may prematurely stop the emergency first aid treatment. Temperatures above 100° can accelerate a chemical reaction with skin and eyes. The use of thermostatic mixing valves blend hot and cold water for a comfortable water temperature, which help ensure workers flush for the required 15 minutes.

Myth #3: "All gravity-fed eyewashes that meet the minimum 0.4 gpm flow rate are ANSI compliant."

Incorrect. Gravity-fed eyewashes that meet the minimum 0.4 gpm flow rate must also meet the requirement of 15 continuous minutes of uninterrupted flow. According to ANSI, the gravity-fed eyewashes that do not meet the minimum requirements are considered personal eyewashes only.

Myth #4: "Personal eyewash bottles have an indefinite shelf life as long as the seal remains unbroken."

Incorrect. Personal eyewash bottles are factory sealed. The shelf life for most personal eyewash bottles can be between two and three years from the date of manufacture. The expiration date will normally be printed on the bottle for easy identification.

Myth #5: "Emergency eyewash and emergency eye/face wash are synonymous terms."

Incorrect. Emergency eyewash and emergency eye/face wash have two different definitions under the ANSI Z358.1-2009 standard based on the rate of flow. The minimum flow requirement for eyewash is 0.4 gpm compared to the minimum flow rate of 3.0 gpm for an eye/face wash. Applications where emergency eyewash is suggested would be in a work environment where particulate hazards exist. In a work environment where chemical hazards are a concern, an emergency eye/face wash is suggested because chemicals can be hazardous to both skin and eyes.

Grainger offers a variety of Fendall, by Honeywell, emergency eyewash products. Check them out today!


Ask a Certified Safety Professional

by Wes Maertz, CSP

Technical Support Specialist
Certified Safety Professional
B.S.E. in Occupational Safety
14 years at Grainger

Question: Bob works for ABC Company. After arriving at work and parking his car in the company lot, he slips and falls as he is entering the building to start his shift. Bob wrenched his back and seeks medical attention. His physician recommends that Bob take two days off before returning to work. Would this event be considered work-related for recording purposes on the OSHA 300 log?

Interpretation: In an OSHA interpretation letter dated 1/15/2004 (scenario 2), OSHA considers this event to be work-related since it does not meet any of the work-related exceptions contained in 1904.5(b)(2). The employee was on the sidewalk/parking lot because of work, thus making it work-related for recording purposes. For a further explanation read scenario four of the OSHA interpretation letter.

Have a question for Wes or any of our other Technical Support Specialists? Drop us a line at for free help with safety-related issues.


FDA Proposes Rule for Foodborne Illness Prevention

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), one in six Americans suffers from a foodborne illness every year. According to the FDA, an astounding 3,000 deaths occur each year as a direct result or foodborne illness. The substantial number of cases each year has the FDA and many individuals concerned.

In an effort to reduce the number of foodborne illnesses and deaths each year, the FDA has proposed a rule that will require makers of food to develop a formal plan for preventing their food products from causing foodborne illness. In addition, food makers must have a plan in place for correcting any foodborne illness problems which may arise.

The rules are now under consideration and open to public comment until May, 2013 to help shape final requirements. The FDA is hopeful the implementation of additional food safety standards will improve public health.

For additional information on the proposed food safety standards, please visit the FDA website.


OSHA Unveils Inspection Plan

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has issued a new annual Site-Specific Targeting (SST) inspection plan for high-hazard workplaces to replace their plan issued on September 9, 2011.

The SST program is one of OSHA's main programs for high-hazard, non-construction workplaces that have 20 or more workers. The plan is based on data found in a survey of 80,000 high-hazard establishments. Of the 80,000, 1,260 of these workplaces were randomly selected by OSHA to help study and evaluate the program's effectiveness.

One notable change in the new SST program is that healthcare inspections will be conducted by OSHA's Nursing and Personal Care Facilities National Emphasis Program. In previous years, these inspections fell under the SST program.

In addition to the SST program, OSHA has 11 National Emphasis Programs that intensify inspections of hazards such as lead, silica, shipbreaking, trenching/excavations and process safety management. There are also approximately 140 regional and Local Emphasis Programs.

For more information on the annual inspection plan, visit the OSHA website.

Grainger offers an OSHA Recordkeeping Station that can help you record workplace injuries and illnesses.


Daylight Saving Time Reminder

Sunday, March 10 marks the clock-resetting tradition of daylight-saving time for our nation. This tradition has the majority of the U.S. "jumping ahead" by setting clocks one hour forward.

People in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, most of Arizona and some U.S territory islands do not need to change their clocks.

This annual event can also serve as an excellent reminder to replace smoke detector batteries and check the service life date on your carbon monoxide (CO) detector (most manufacturer's suggest 7-10 years of service life). Also, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) suggests replacing your smoke alarms every 10 years.

Grainger offers CO alarms, smoke alarms and batteries. You can also head to for useful information from our Quick Tips summaries regarding smoke detectors and carbon monoxide.


FREE March Webinar

Respirator Fit Testing: Your Guide to Compliance
Grainger Technical Support Specialist Sally S. will host an On the Job® webinar on respirator fit testing with an emphasis on qualitative fit testing. This free webinar takes place on March 21 at 1 p.m. CT. Topics on the agenda include written respiratory protection program content, selection of proper respirators, medical evaluation questionnaire review and fit testing protocols. Also, video presentations of the use of Bitrex™, Saccharin and Irritant Smoke (Stannic Chloride) for qualitative fit testing will be featured.

If you're interested in participating in this webinar or viewing past webinars, please visit the On The Job Webinar Series page to register.

Register Now!


Think Safety. Think Grainger.®

Rely on North America's largest distributor of safety products. You'll also find a network of safety resources that help you stay in compliance and help protect employees from hazardous situations. Count on Grainger for lockout tagout, fall protection equipment, confined space products, safety signs, personal protective equipment (PPE), emergency response and so much more!

Please Note
The content in this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only. This publication is not a substitute for review of the applicable government regulations and standards, and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific compliance questions should refer to the cited regulation or consult with an attorney.

If you have any questions regarding product specifications or applications, email us at