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Oklahoma State University

Emergency Safety Shower and Eyewash

EMERGENCY SAFETY SHOWER AND EYEWASH STATIONS

Approved safety shower and eyewash stations shall be available to personnel that utilize hazardous chemicals or materials. All personnel that might potentially be exposed to hazardous chemicals or materials are expected to know the location and correct operation of safety shower and eyewash stations.

EMERGENCY SHOWER REQUIREMENTS

Equipment

  • The emergency shower shall have uninterrupted flow equal to 20 gallons per minute (GPM) for a minimum of 15 minutes of tepid (60 to 100°F) water.
  • The center of the emergency shower spray pattern must be located at least 16 inches from any obstruction and will have a minimum diameter of 20 inches at 60 inches above the walk surface.
  • The valve of the emergency shower shall activate in one second or less and remain on until the user shuts it off.
  • The emergency shower must be located in an area that requires no more than 10 seconds (approximately 75 feet from hazard) to reach.
  • The emergency shower must be located in a well-lit area and identified with a sign no less than 6 inches in height and width (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Example of appropriate safety shower and eyewash

 

  • The spray head of the emergency shower must be positioned 82 to 96 inches in height from the walk surface.
  • The path of travel to the emergency shower must be free of obstructions and located on the same floor as the hazard.
  • If shut-off valves are installed in the supply line for maintenance purposes, provisions should be made to prevent unauthorized shut off.  
  • If shut-off valves are installed in the supply line for maintenance purposes, provisions must be made to prevent unauthorized shut off.

Use

  • If there is any question about the severity of a chemical exposure, immediately use the safety shower.  There is no time for modesty in the event of a chemical exposure.
  • Immediately move under the safety shower and pull the handle down. Strip any contaminated clothing, jewelry, or personal protective equipment off. Stand under the shower for 15 minutes flushing contaminated areas. Tilt head back and hold open eyes if exposed.  
  • In the event of chemical exposure do not worry about making a mess; water can easily be cleaned up.  The safety of the exposed person is always the primary concern.
  • After emergency shower use, seek immediate medical attention for further treatment.

Maintenance and Training

  • Emergency safety showers should be activated weekly to verify correct operation.  Safety shower testing units can be purchased from safety supply companies.  A testing log should be kept by the principle investigator, lab manager, or lab personnel.
  • During testing, the shower should be activated long enough for clear water to flow from the shower.
  • All personnel who might be exposed to a chemical splash must be trained in the location and use of the safety shower.
  • The department of Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) will annually inspect all safety showers to ensure the requirements of ANSI Z358.1 are met.

EYE WASH STATION REQUIREMENTS

Equipment

  • The eyewash must be able to deliver 0.4 GPM of uninterrupted tepid (60 to 100°F) potable water for 15 minutes.
  • The eyewash must be located in a well-lit area and identified with signage no less than six inches in height and length.
  • The eyewash must be positioned 6 inches from the wall or nearest obstruction for plumbed units.
  • The eyewash must be installed so the fluid flow pattern is no less than 33 inches but no greater than 53 inches from the walk surface
  • Spray heads and flushing fluid units should be protected from airborne contaminants.
  • The valve of the eyewash must activate in one second or less, and remain on until the user shuts it off.
  • The eyewash location must be no more than 10 seconds (approximately 75 feet) from the hazard.
  • The path of travel from the hazard must be free of obstructions, and located on the same floor as the hazard.
  • NOTE: Drench hoses may be considered an eye wash if the device meets the performance requirements previously discussed.
  • Eyewash stations should be plumbed directly to a drain.
  • If shut-off valves are installed in the supply line for maintenance purposes, provisions must be made to prevent unauthorized shut off.

Use

  • In the event of an emergency, activate eyewash by pushing handle back.  Hold both eyelids open with thumbs and forefingers.
  • Roll eyeballs back and forth so fluid flows on all surfaces of eye and under eyelid.
  • Flush eyes for 15 minutes.
  • After eyewash use, seek immediate medical attention for further treatment.

Maintenance and Training

  • Eyewash stations should be activated weekly to verify proper operation.  Testing assures the equipment will be operational when needed, but also serves to flush particulates and stagnated water from the piping system.
  • Documentation of weekly inspections should be maintained by the responsible Department and/or PI/Supervisor performing inspections.
  • All personnel who might be exposed to a chemical splash must be trained in the use of eyewash equipment.
  • All eye wash stations will be inspected annually by EHS to ensure the requirements of ANSI Z358.1 are met.

Personal Eye Wash and Eye Saline

A Personal Eye Wash is a supplementary eyewash that does not meet the requirements of plumbed eye wash equipment, and is not a substitute.