Emergency Shower And Eyewash Station Requirements – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has two different types of regulations that address the needs of emergency shower and eye wash equipment and eye/face wash equipment. The first general requirement is applicable to all facilities that require the installation of emergency shower or eyewash equipment as a form of first aid [29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 1910.151(c)]. The second type is specific to certain industries.
29 CFR 1910.151(c) states “Where the eyes or body of any person may be exposed to harmful corrosive materials, adequate facilities shall be provided within the work area for rapid soaking or flushing of the eyes and body for emergency use.”
Emergency Shower And Eyewash Station Requirements
Industries listed in the second type of OSHA regulations include: Activities that use an open surface container; Storage and handling of anhydrous ammonia; Motor industrial vehicles; Production of pulp, paper and cardboard; Telecommunications; Handling formaldehyde; Hazardous materials; and construction industry.
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Both types of regulations specify where and when emergency eyewash and shower equipment must be available. However, none of them specify minimum requirements for selection, installation, operation or maintenance. OSHA refers employers to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) ANSI/ISEA Z358.1 American National Standard for Emergency Eyewash and Shower Equipment as a recognized source of such guidance.
ANSI/ISEA Z358.1 is a national consensus standard that helps users select, install, use, and maintain eyewash, eye/face wash, and shower equipment. It was issued in 1981 and revised in 1990, 1998, 2004, 2009 and again in 2014. This standard is part of the building code in locations that have adopted the International Plumbing Code (IPC). The IPC is used or adopted in 35 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico.
Personal Eye Wash is a supplemental eye wash that supports water-based units, gravity units, or both to deliver an instant wash liquid.
NOTE: Personal eyewash units do not meet the requirements for plumbing or stand-alone eyewash equipment. Personal eyewash units can support, but not replace, water or gravity fed eyewash units.
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An irrigation hose is an additional device consisting of a flexible hose connected to an irrigation fluid that is used to irrigate and rinse the eyes, face, and body parts. Plumbed and stand-alone options are available. NOTE: Flush hoses may be considered an eyewash or eye/face wash if the device meets the performance requirements previously mentioned.
A: According to ANSI/ISEA Z358.1-2014, lukewarm is defined as “the temperature of the rinse fluid that is conducive to promoting a minimum 15-minute irrigation period. A suitable range is 60 to 100 °F.” Medical recommendations suggest that low-temperature irrigation fluid be delivered to chemically injured tissue. Temperatures above 100°F have been shown to be harmful to the eyes. Cold irrigation fluid provides immediate cooling after chemical contact, but prolonged exposure to cold fluids can affect the ability to maintain proper body temperature. The information indicates that a temperature of 60 °F is suitable for a lower parameter for lukewarm irrigation fluid without causing hypothermia in the user.
A: The purpose of the weekly activation is to ensure the supply of flush fluid to the head of the device, to clear the supply line of any sediment build-up that could prevent the delivery of flush fluid to the head of the device, and to reduce microbial contamination due to standing water. The duration of the activation depends on the volume of water contained in the unit itself and all parts of the pipeline that are not part of the permanent circulation system (ie “dead parts”). The water in these parts remains until the flow is activated by opening the valve. The goal is to completely flush out the stagnant water in the dead leg. Where mixing valves are used, both hot and cold water supply to the valve must be considered.
The information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only and is based on information available at the date of initial publication. No claim is made that the information or references are complete or that they remain current. This article is not a substitute for a review of currently applicable government regulations, industry standards or other standards specific to your business and/or activities and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific questions should consult the applicable standards or consult an attorney. OSHA 29 CFR 1910.151(c) focuses on emergency showers and eyewash stations specifically addressing the need for facilities to allow workers to rinse themselves of corrosive materials.
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It states: “Where the eyes or body of any person may be exposed to noxious corrosive materials, suitable facilities shall be provided within the work area for rapid soaking or flushing of the eyes and body for emergency use.”
Other safety standards for emergency showers relate to specific industries and the hazards associated with them. For example: facilities with open tanks must have an emergency safety shower (or alternative) within easy reach — this usually covers immersion and coating applications. Also, the pulp and paper industry must provide facilities to combat scale or acid burns.
While they cover a lot, OSHA’s emergency shower and eyewash station requirements don’t cover everything. They do not detail the functionality or location of the safety shower.
The first few seconds after a person is exposed to hazardous chemicals are critical. The longer the substance remains on the skin, the greater the damage. To meet the requirements of ANSI Z358, the emergency shower and eyewash station must be within 10 seconds of the accident scene. That’s about 55 feet. Emergency safety equipment should also be installed at the same level as the potential hazard.
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Keep the path to the emergency shower and eyewash station clear, in case vision is impaired. Place the safety shower and eyewash equipment in a clearly visible, well-lit location.
Emergency showers must flow at a minimum rate of 20 US gallons (76 liters) of potable water per minute for 15 minutes. This ensures sufficient time to remove contaminated clothing and wash away any chemical residue.
Likewise, emergency eyewashes must deliver at least 3 US gallons (11.4 liters) per minute, for 15 minutes. This ensures thorough decontamination.
Even for the visually impaired, emergency showers and eyewash stations must be easy to access and operate. Control valves must switch from “off” to “on” in one second or less. These valves should be designed so that the flush flow remains on without the use of the operator’s hands.
Emergency Eyewash And Shower Equipment
ANSI Z358 requires emergency shower and eyewash stations to provide lukewarm water in the range of 60 F to 100 F (16 C to 38 C). Temperatures exceeding this range can burn the injured person and cause a higher rate of chemical absorption by the skin. Lower temperatures can lead to hypothermia or heat shock. An affected person is less likely to remove contaminated clothing in cold water, thus prolonging exposure to the chemical.
Meeting ANSI Z358 temperature requirements is important to ensure worker safety. If the water temperature is uncomfortable, it is natural human behavior to exit the safety shower before the full 15 minutes are up. This reduces the effectiveness of rinsing and increases the possibility of injury due to dangerous chemical burns.
According to ANSI/ISEA Z358.1-2004, emergency eye wash and eye/face wash water stations should be visually inspected and activated weekly. The equipment requires annual servicing to ensure efficient operation. Proper training covering the location and use of eyewash is also essential in an emergency.
An emergency shower should deliver a sample of water at least 50.8 cm (20 inches) by 152.4 cm (60 inches) in diameter. This diameter ensures that the water will come in contact with the entire body – not just the top of the person’s head. ANSI also recommends that the shower head be between 208.3 and 243.8 cm (82-96 inches) from the floor. The minimum spray volume should be 75.7 liters/minute (20 gallons/minute) for a minimum time of 15 minutes.
Guardian Equipment Gfr3100 Eyewash Station
The shower should also be designed so that it can be activated in less than 1 second, and remain in operation without the operator’s hand on the valve (or lever, handle, etc.). This valve must not be higher than 173.3 cm (69 inches). If enclosures are used, ensure that there is an unobstructed area of 86.4 cm (34 inches) in diameter.
Eyewash stations should be designed to deliver fluid to both eyes simultaneously at a volume of not less than 1.5 liters/minute (0.4 gallons/minute) for 15 minutes. Combined eye and face wash stations require 11.4 liters per minute (3.0 gallons per minute). However, in no case should the volume be such that it could injure the eyes. The unit should be between 83.8 and 134.6 cm (33 to 53 inches) from the floor and at least 15.3 cm (6 inches) from the wall or nearest obstruction.
With an eyewash station, the user should be able to open the eyelids with their hands and still have their eyes in the liquid. In the case of eye/face fluid, the user should have enough
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