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Safety Tip: Equipment Location Installation – Defining Obstructions


If it only takes a single hop, skip, or jump to get to a piece of emergency equipment from any location in your workplace, your workplace is in compliance with one of the ANSI Z358.1 requirements. A walk to the nearest emergency equipment location should total less than 10 seconds and be obstruction free. But what defines obstruction?

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Our definition of obstruction is not limited to obstacles or barriers (pipes, closed doors), it also includes impediments or delays (stairs, curbs). An obstruction would be anything that impedes access to the equipment by increasing the time to reach the unit or causing further injury. There are obvious obstructions that would clearly delay access to an emergency response shower unit in 10 seconds or less but other hazards could not only cause a delay but could cause further injury. Stairs (because of the requirement to be on the same level as the hazard), piping, boxes, cabinets, trash, office furniture, etc would all be considered a clear obstruction and should be cleared from the equipment area.

Doors are specifically discussed in the appendix of the standard which is not part of the standard but serves as a guide. The standard states that if a door is used, it must open in the direction towards the shower. Yet, a typical door that opens with a handle would not be accepted per the appendix. Ideally a shower unit that is enclosed will have saloon-type doors that swing in and out for access and don’t require the added motion and added time of twisting a handle. If a door is needed for privacy or temperature control, it must open in the direction of the shower without any type of handle to open the door.

Considerations for equipment location should go into effect before purchasing and installing. It’s important to keep in mind where each individual piece will be stationed and how many pieces will need to be purchased to make sure you are creating a predictable, reliable, stable environment to reduce any unnecessary emergency response problems or delays.

To stay up-to-date on additional safety tips, watch the ”Haws Presents ANSI Z358.1 Answered” on-demand webinar by clicking here.