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The Rules of Emergency Eye/Face Wash Showers are Changing – Understanding the New ANSI Z358.1-2009 Standard
Recently the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) published a revised American National Standard Institute (ANSI) Z385.1 standard. The revised standard establishes minimum performance and use requirements for eye/face wash and shower equipment. The original ANSI Z385.1 Eyewash Standard was first implemented in 1981 with additional modifications in 1990, 1998, and 2004. While the change were not drastic, the 2009 revision did address crucial points relating to temperature range for water delivery, simultaneous use for combination showers and eyewash testing requirements. Here is an outline of the key revisions:
- Temperature Range for Water Delivery – In the 2004 Standard, it was not clearly outlined what tepid water meant and instead just simply stated that tepid was defined as moderately warm; lukewarm. The 2009 Standard now specifies exact temperature range to guarantee proper flushing. Tepid is defined as a flushing fluid temperature conducive to promoting a minimum 15-minute irrigation period, with a suitable range of 60-100 degrees Fahrenheit. Tepid water requirements are important in order to encourage users to complete the full 15-minute drench period. The full 15-minute drench period helps prevent chemical absorption, cool burns and prevent hypothermia.
- Simultaneous Use – The 2009 revision placed additional restrictions on combination showers capabilities and testing. The standard now clarifies and requires that components of combination units shall operate and be certified both individually and simultaneously. In addition, certification of the unit must come from a third party certifier as opposed to coming from the manufacturer.
- Eyewash Testing Requirements - The 2009 revision also modified the eyewash flow verification procedures. The Standard now mandates that when placing the testing gauge in the stream of the eyewash the flushing fluid shall cover the areas between the interior and exterior lines of the gauge at some point less than 8 inches above the eyewash nozzle. The template for testing the eyewash flow remained the same, only the requirements have actually changed.
In addition, there are a few other important considerations in the ANSI Z358.1 standard:
- The shower must provide a continuous flow of 20 gallons-per-minute of water for 15 minutes in order to properly drench the user.
- The emergency equipment must be accessible within 10 seconds of the location of a hazard and be on the same level as the hazard. Even short steps are not acceptable.
- The equipment must have a single motion valve operation. The user must be able to activate the unit from “off” to “on” in one second or less.
Haws Corporation provides many solutions to emergency equipment needs, including the Engineered Solutions Division (ESD) which is compromised of a dedicated team of engineers and technicians designing safety solutions. The ESD team provides a complete line of custom engineered mixing valves, tempered water solutions, recirculation systems, air-charged systems and alarms designed around specific requirements and meeting all ANSI Z358.1-2009 prerequisites.