Huntington Beach, CA, August 14th , 2018
Thousands of people are blinded each year from work-related eye injuries. These injuries cost more than $300 million per year in lost production time, medical expenses and worker compensation according to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA).
In California, Cal/OSHA requires the presence of emergency eyewash stations in various circumstances to allow workers to wash away chemicals, biological agents and other substances to help mitigate eye injuries. These eyewash stations, whether permanently connected to a source of potable water or having self-contained flushing fluid, need proper maintenance or they may present a hazard that could worsen or cause additional damage to a worker’s eyes.
This is due to the fact that microorganisms can thrive in eyewash stations if they are not maintained properly and OSHA lists the following contaminants that could be present. They include:
- Acanthamoeba which is a microscopic single cell organism that may cause eye infections. This amoeba can live in treated water and on rare occasions, exposure results in eye infections known as Acanthamoeba
- Legionella is a group of bacteria that are found in water often living with amoeba and may cause a serious lung infection. Acanthamoeba are effective hosts for Legionella, they may both be present in contaminated water. Legionella does not cause eye infections, but inhaling water droplets containing it can cause Legionnaires’ disease.
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa may cause infections to eyes, skin, muscle, lung and other tissues. This bacterium has developed resistance to many antibiotics.
“Unfortunately, water found in improperly maintained eyewash stations could contain organisms that thrive in stagnant or untreated water and are known to cause infections,” said Michael Chapman, Laboratory Manager of LA Testing’s Huntington Beach facility. “An eyewash station that is not maintained and has become contaminated could put anyone that uses it at risk since organisms in the water may come into contact with the eye, skin or may be inhaled. A worker that has to use an eyewash station after exposure to a hazardous chemical or material may have eye injuries that make the eye highly susceptible to infection. Workers with skin damage or a compromised immune system are also at increased risk for developing illnesses from a contaminated eyewash station.”
Helping to prevent these types of infections from occurring are the laboratory experts at LA Testing. They offer comprehensive microbial testing services for eyewash stations and other sources. LA Testing has also sponsored an educational video about eyewash stations and potential microbial risks from improper maintenance that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/bqfeOTRn5EY.
To learn more about microbial or other environmental, occupational, health and safety testing services, please visit www.LATesting.com, email info@LATesting.com or call (800) 755-1794.
About LA Testing
LA Testing is California’s leading laboratory for indoor air quality testing of asbestos, mold, lead, VOCs, formaldehyde, soot, char, ash and smoke damage, particulates and other chemicals. In addition, LA Testing offers a full range of air sampling and investigative equipment to professionals and the general public. LA Testing maintains an extensive list of accreditations including: AIHA LAP LLC., AIHA ELLAP, AIHA EMLAP and AIHA IHLAP, CDC Elite, NVLAP, State of California, State of Hawaii Department of Health and other states. LA Testing, along with the EMSL Analytical, Inc. network, has multiple laboratories throughout California including South Pasadena, Huntington Beach, San Leandro and San Diego.