Improper Use of Eyewash Results In Trip To Emergency Room


While using a fluorescent stain in the cytogenetics lab, I felt something splash up into my eye. I was not wearing safety goggles or glasses. I went to the nearest sink that had an eyewash (mounted into the counter with a handle and hose). I flushed-out my eye for a minute to remove whatever had splashed into it.  

My eyes remained irritated so I flushed them out again at the eyewash station. Soon afterwards, my eyes began to swell shut. I walked over to the emergency room to be seen by the doctors. They were unable to pinpoint the cause, but thought I was having an allergic reaction to some irritant exposure to my eyes. I was given antihistamines and was OK after a few hours.

A few days later, I noticed someone using the same eyewash to clean glassware and stainless steel trays. The eyewash was draped over into the sink and sitting in a cleaning solution. So the water from the eyewash that I was using to flush out my eyes was most likely contaminated with chemicals. This practice was discontinued immediately and the eyewash was cleaned and put onto a routine maintenance schedule that included regular flushes.