These 5 Emergency Equipment FAQ’s Can Keep You Out of Trouble

1. How do you determine if you need a safety shower versus just an eye/face wash?

It depends on what the potential hazard is. We advocate that an eye/face wash should be the requirement over an eyewash as it is rare for a chemical to only splash into your eyes and not on your face as well. A combination shower and eye/face wash is necessary when the SDS for the chemicals you are using require one. If contact with the skin is not harmful, but contact with eyes would be, then an eyewash or eye/face wash only is suitable. If there is any potential hazardous skin contact, then a shower is most appropriate.

2. What are the types of chemicals when used in the workplace require the use of an eyewash station?

We recommend viewing your SDS’s (safety data sheet) and looking under the Proper PPE and First Aid requirements. Most SDS’S require some sort of emergency equipment along with a required flow time of 15 minutes and sometimes longer.

3. For portable or gravity-fed eyewash stations, what’s the standard for draining and refilling the tank? Along with the additive.

As there are a couple of different designs on the market, I cannot provide a specific “standard” you should follow. The ANSI requirement is that any portable or self-contained eyewash should be visually inspected weekly to determine if the flushing fluid needs to be exchanged or supplemented. The units should be maintained as per the manufacturer’s specific model instructions. For Haws, and most other manufacturer’s units, using potable water and a sterile bacteriostatic additive exchange is required every three months as well as rinsing the unit clean between the exchanges. If you are not using an additive, then the water should be exchanged on a minimal weekly basis, with a thorough tank cleaning monthly.

4. What is the standard for testing the eyewashes and showers?

ANSI Z358.1 has specific standards for testing based on the type or style of equipment in use. As a general statement, equipment needs to be inspected weekly to ensure that there is a flushing fluid supply and that the equipment is in good repair. If the equipment is of a plumbed design, then it should also be activated weekly to clear the supply line of any sediment build up and to minimize any microbial contamination due to stagnant water. The weekly inspection also looks at the location to ensure that the equipment is well lit, identified with signage, free of obstruction and on the same level as the hazard. Annually, the equipment needs to be inspected against all aspects of the ANSI Z358.1 standard including flow capabilities, temperature and irrigation patterns. Please view our full on-demand ANSI Standard web seminar on our Haws YouTube page.

5. What requirements are there for disposing used water from an eyewash or shower?

Waste or “grey” water is not in the scope of the ANSI Z358.1 standard however the appendix of the standard does call out that consideration should be given to proper disposal of waste flushing fluids. Freezing temperatures, drainage, elevated showers, and pollutants are some but not all of the considerations. It may depend on your specific situation so I would recommend consulting authorities on your local, state, and federal regulations.

Antsy about ANSI? 5 Common FAQ’s

Questions answered by ANSI subject matter expert and Director of Haws Integrated Operations, Casey Hayes.

Is testing of the safety showers and eyewashes actually required in the standard and not just the appendix?
Yes, it is part of the standard. It is not in the appendix. We talk about the weekly flush and the requirements to get the debris out and to ensure that water is available. And, we also discuss in the standard the requirements for the full ANSI annual test. The annual test ensures things like making sure we have 20 gallons per minute to the showerhead and that the spray pattern of the shower meets the requirements. Same for the eyewash. It is also when you will test to make sure it is 10 seconds from the hazard and nothing is obstructing the pathway of victim reaching the unit.

2. Does the accessible 10 second rule apply to a fast pace walk or run?
In previous revisions, there was a distance in the requirement. At one point, we had 10 seconds and 100 feet. At another point, we had 10 seconds and 55 feet. We have taken out the distance requirement so that we don’t have to determine whether it is a walk or a run. We are putting that back onto the installation aspect for you to determine what 10 seconds looks like. In the appendix, it does talk about 55 feet which is probably the right distance, but the standard does not get into the details.

3. Does EPA prohibit floor drains in college chemistry labs?
I have never been asked about this as far as EPA. I do know that the ANSI Z358.1 standard is strictly a performance standard and does not talk about floor drains because they are concerned about the performance of the shower. So, floor drains have nothing to do with that. If you look at plumbing codes, it specifically says that floor drains are not required. We believe that is due to the fact that they don’t want water that has chemicals in it to go to the sewer drain. I have never seen anything related to EPA.

4. Can you please reference the OSHA standard that requires testing once a week?
CAL OSHA says they only enforce once per month. OSHA specifically does not talk about anything in regards to the performance of the safety shower. It specifically says it must supply a suitable facility. It does not get into specifics as to what a suitable facility is. OSHA is starting to reference the ANSI standard as a guideline as to what a suitable facility is but nowhere in OSHA do they talk about the testing of the equipment. If you are building to the plumbing code, specifically references that the shower must meet ANSI and therefore the requirement for weekly/annual testing comes into play.

5. Are written records of testing required on-site?
This is outside the ANSI standard. This is what I would call a best practice. We are seeing that the testing validation is not on the tag on the shower but not being placed with the health and safety time. Testing has been enhanced so people are collecting and filing it away.

Learn more about ANSI by registering for our upcoming live web seminar on ANSI Z358.1-2014 Compliance.