The emergency shower is the last form of defense that workers have against serious injury or death when established safety procedures and protective equipment have failed to do their intended function or were improperly used or applied. To this end, proper selection, placement and maintenance of emergency eyewash and shower systems is imperative.
SelectionSelecting the product to meet the need is the first step towards successful use and maintenance of emergency equipment. ANSI standard Z358.1-2004 provides guidelines for selecting this equipment and when instituting a maintenance program in your facility. Consulting the MSDS of the substance identified as the hazardous material will also help identify the type of equipment that you can install.
The equipment selection process should begin by completing a hazard assessment to determine what water delivery appliances should be used. Some suggestions:
PlacementOnce the type of equipment is selected, the next issue should be the placement of the eyewash and shower. The ten-seconds-of-travel rule is generally accepted and listed in the appendix of the ANSI Z358.1 standard. This suggests that an adult person walking normally is at a 3.8 mph rate, and that the emergency equipment should be no more than 55 feet from the hazard. The equipment should be provided in easily accessible areas, free of clutter and highly visible to all workers. Avoid locating the device in the immediate spill area or the spray path of the hazard. Like a fire extinguisher, the emergency equipment should ideally be located towards an exit/entrance rather than an inaccessible area of the facility.
In the placement process, take a good look around the selected area and consider the following:
MaintenanceMaintenance issues for emergency equipment include:
Lastly, donâ€™t forget training. Make sure that the potential users of shower and eyewash equipment know its location, how to use them and what to do for a coworker. Make them understand that holding the eyes open, directing water into the eyes and irrigating foreign materials from the eyes and off of the skin will be the issue â€” not just getting there. And back to where we started â€” this is emergency equipment and does not replace safety apparel and established procedures.