OSHA and ANSI Requirements for Eyewash and Safety Showers

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[via LabManager.com]

ANSI standard Z358.1 is detailed in terms of defining what is appropriate for safety showers and eyewash stations.

By Vince McLeod  

As lab managers and employees, we know that many inorganic chemicals (such as the mineral acids and alkalis) are corrosive to the skin and eyes. Likewise we are aware that many organic chemicals (such as acid halides, phenols, and so on) are corrosive and often toxic. Yet we Safety Guys are continually shocked by laissez-faire attitudes toward the use and maintenance of basic safety equipment by lab personnel, and the resultant unnecessary injuries.

One extreme example we constantly recall is the tragic UCLA accident just a few years ago, which resulted in a fatality from chemical burns.1 And we recently noticed a post on the American Industrial Hygiene Association pages for Lab Safety Chemical Exposure Incidents, where improper use of an eyewash resulted in a trip to the emergency room.2

The worker was using a fluorescent stain in the cytogenetics lab and felt something splash into his eyes. He was not wearing safety goggles or glasses. (D’oh!) Long story shortened, he flushed his eyes at the nearest eyewash, but they remained irritated and began to swell shut, necessitating a visit to the emergency room. Back at work a few days later, he noticed a coworker using the same eyewash to clean glassware and stainless steel trays, which were left resting in the sink in a cleaning solution. (What?!)

What does OSHA say?

In 29 CFR 1910.151 Medical Services and First Aid, it states that “where the eyes or body of any person may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials, suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body shall be provided within the work area for immediate emergency use.”3 OSHA doesn’t provide more specifics regarding what constitutes “suitable” or how “immediate” is defined. So how do we know if we are meeting the intent of the law?

Fortunately, we have the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and their consensus standard Z358.1, last updated in 2014. This ANSI standard is very detailed in terms of defining what is appropriate for safety showers and eyewash stations. In fact, OSHA uses this reference as a guide when inspecting facilities. So let’s review what is “recommended” for acceptable safety equipment.

Safety shower specs

Begin by checking your facilities for the proper hardware, as recommended by Z358.1. Rest assured that OSHA will, should one or more agents show up for an inspection. For safety showers, the shower head must be capable of flowing 20 gallons per minute (gpm) at 30 psi and producing a 20-inch diameter spray pattern at 60 inches above the surface where the user stands. The center of the sprayhead pattern should be at least 16 inches from any wall, door, or obstruction. It is recommended that the shower head be mounted between 82 and 96 inches off the floor, with the valve no higher than 69 inches.

Eyewash specs

Eyewash stations target just the eyes and therefore have a lower flow requirement. ANSI Z358.1 recommends a flow of 0.4 gpm also at 30 psi. The nozzles should be at least six inches from any obstruction and mounted between 33 and 45 inches above the floor. An eyewash gauge should be used to verify and test the flow pattern.

Requirements for both

Both safety showers and eyewash stations must be able to provide the recommended flow for at least 15 minutes. This usually translates into having the equipment plumbed in with hard connections to the water supply. For example, a quick calculation for the safety shower at 20 gpm yields 300 gallons needed. Self-contained or personal wash devices are allowed, but they are considered supplemental units that can provide immediate flushing while transiting to the permanent fixture.

If the local climate presents potential for freezing conditions, the equipment must be designed to avoid freezing or protected against that situation. Activation valves must open within one second and remain open until intentionally closed or turned off. It goes without saying that these safety devices should be constructed of corrosion-resistant materials.

The 2014 update to Z358.1 added two important criteria. The first is that the requirement for tepid water is now defined as having a temperature of between 60 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 37 degrees Celsius). The second change addresses simultaneous operation for combination units. This means that if you have a drench shower combined with an eyewash station, both devices must provide adequate flows and be fully operable at the same time.

Finally and most importantly, consider the location of equipment. We know you have the 10-second rule etched into your brain, as that is the most critical element when it comes to safety showers and eyewashes. This means that travel to the unit should be under 10 seconds for all hazardous areas that need this equipment. This equals about 55 feet. In addition, the drench shower or eyewash must be on the same level as the hazard and have a clear path for travel. We recommend painting or marking the floor area underneath the shower to help keep it clear. Z358.1 also recommends equipment be installed in a brightly lit area and marked with a highly visible safety sign.

Maintenance and training

The last thing you want is to rush to the eyewash or shower, only to be drenched with nasty, sediment-laden water. ANSI recommends flushing all equipment weekly to verify proper flow, and clearing the plumbing of any deposits. If your facility does not have floor drains installed, remember to bring a large, plastic trash can to catch the water. The weekly flushing can also provide a great training opportunity to refresh the operation and travel paths for your employees.

If you want to find out about the ANSI/ISEA Z358.1 significant requirements, attend our free 1-hour webinar on September 21st, 2017.

Register now and become subject matter experts of your emergency eyewash and shower equipment including weekly and annual testing. Request a certificate of attendance after the webinar.

This free webinar will cover:
• ANSI/ISEA Z358.1 significant requirements
• Important 2014 revision highlights
• Compliance best practices
• Live Q&A

WHAT: All You Need to Know About ANSI Z358.1 Webinar
WHEN: September 21, 2017 from 10am-11am PT / 1pm-2pm ET
PRESENTER: Justin Dunn, Product Specialist/Trainer and Samantha Hoch, Marketing Strategist
HOW: Register for free

Attendees will receive these complimentary materials after the webinar:
• OSHA white paper
• Weekly and Annual ANSI Checklist
• Access to On-Demand Webinar

REGISTER NOW>>

References

1. “tert-Butyllithium Claims Fellow Chemist at UCLA,” Chemistry Blog, January 19, 2009, http://www.chemistry-blog.com/2009/01/20/tert-butyllithium-claims-fellow-chemist-at-ucla/.

2. “Lab Safety Chemical Exposures Incidents,” American Industrial Hygiene Association, https://www.aiha.org/get-involved/VolunteerGroups/LabHSCommittee/Incident%20Pages/Lab-Safety-Chemical-Exposures-Incidents.aspx.

3. “Medical Services and First Aid,” US Department of Labor, Occupational Health and Safety Administration, https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=9806.

Haws Receives Safety 2017 Attendee Choice Award

ASSEAward_winner2017

 

ISHN’s annual hands-on safety and health products and services awards – a complement to the Reader’s Choice Awards — are based on voting by attendees at the American Safety of Safety Engineers (ASSE) annual professional development conference.

 

Haws is proud to announce that our Tempered, Gravity-Fed, Portable Eyewash model 7501T is a winner in the category of Emergency Eyewashes at this year ASSE Safety 2017 conference Attendees Choice Award.

Model 7501T is a compact portable tempered eyewash and is ideal for remote locations. The 9-gallon (34 L), gravity-fed, eyewash uses a heated, insulated blanket to provide ANSI compliant tempered potable water in operating temperatures between -30° F (-34° C) and 100° F (38° C) for locations without access to a continuous potable water source. The self-contained heating blanket electrical system uses NEMA 3R rated components. 120V electrical requirement with supplied 8′ power cord.

To see a complete line of Portable Eyewash solutions visit our website.

 

CCOHS on Emergency Showers and Eyewashes

Original article: Safety & Health magazine

An easily accessible, properly working emergency eyewash and shower station is critical at worksites where, in OSHA’s words, “the eyes or body of any person may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials.”

Emergency eyewash and shower stations provide immediate decontamination and allow workers to flush away hazardous substances, as well as put out clothing fires or flush contaminants off clothing, the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety states.

It’s all about location

Emergency eyewashes and showers must be easily accessible to workers. The American National Standards Institute recommends that a worker be able to reach a station in 10 seconds. CCOHS advises having this emergency equipment even closer, as an injured victim may not be able to see. This is where Personal Emergency Eyewashes are the solution. In addition, emergency eyewashes and showers should be identified with a highly visible sign in a language that all workers can understand.

Other tips:

Use the right unit

Emergency showers are designed to flush a worker’s head and body – not the eyes.

These showers should never be used as eyewashes because the high rate or pressure of the water flow could cause injury, CCOHS states.

Similarly, eyewash stations are meant to flush a worker’s eyes only.

Although combination units exist, CCOHS recommends performing a job hazard analysis to determine the potential hazards in your workplace and what type of unit is best suited for your establishment.

 

Free Site Inspection of Your Equipment

Have emergency showers and eyewashes in your facility? Do you know if they are compliant with the most recent ISEA/ANSI Z358.1- 2014 Standard? Don’t stress, we’ve got your back.

We are offering you a COMPLIMENTARY full day site inspection of you existing emergency response equipment, regardless of brand. And that’s not even the best part…

Once the physical equipment inspection is completed, we’ll provide you a full detailed report which will include the status of each piece of equipment, an executive summary, and…

A full recommendation report detailing what we recommend you need to do to upgrade your equipment to ensure ANSI compliance!

As if that’s not enough, all you have to do to take advantage of this offering is fill out a form! Then, a Haws Representative in your area will reach out to you to schedule the site visit.

Now, how in the world to you pass up an opportunity like this?? You just don’t. So go ahead and hit the pretty green button below to get started!

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ANSI Z358.1 FAQ: What is the Weekly Test vs. the Annual Test?

Are you unsure of when you should test the emergency showers and eyewashes in your facility? Do you know the difference between the weekly and annual testing requirements? In certain cases, a full 15-minute drench period is not required, however it is important to know what is required on a weekly basis versus annually.

ACTIVATE WEEKLY

Per the ANSI Z358.1 standard, you are required to activate the emergency equipment weekly to verify operation and to ensure there is a flushing fluid supply and clear the supply line of any sediment build-up that could prevent the flushing fluid from being delivered due to stagnant water.

How long do you activate for? ANSI states the duration of the weekly activation depends on the amount of water contained in the unit itself and all sections of pipework that are not a part of a constant circulation system, also known as the “dead leg” portions. The goal of the weekly activation is to flush out the stagnant water in the dead leg completely.

TEST ANNUALLY

All emergency eyewashes, eye/face washes, showers and combination units are required to be fully inspected annually to ensure conformance with the installation section of the Z358.1 standard for that type of equipment. The following some of the requirements that need to be met for the annual test:

  1. The equipment must be assembled and installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, including flushing fluid delivery requirement.
  2. Equipment must be accessible within 10 seconds, located on the same level as the potential hazard, and must be free of obstructions that may inhibit immediate use.
  3. Must be identified with well-lit, highly visible signage.
  4. Equipment must be connected to a supply of flushing fluid that can produce the required flush time of a full 15 minutes.
  5. Where the possibility of freezing conditions exists, equipment must be protected from freezing or freeze-protected equipment must be installed.
  6. Must deliver tepid flushing fluid for the full 15-minute drench period.
  7. Equipment must go from “off” to “one” in one second or less.
  8. Must provide a controlled flow of flushing fluid at a velocity low enough to be non-injurious to the user.

How long do you activate for? As stated above, you need to ensure the equipment is is delivering tepid flushing fluid for a full 15 minutes.

For full detailed information on the ANSI Z358.1 requirements for Emergency Eyewashes and Showers, watch the FREE on-demand webinar HERE.

For more ANSI resources such as a testing checklist, click here.

Things to Consider When Choosing Emergency Showers and Eyewashes

By Jim Schneider, Plumbing Engineer Magazine

In many work environments, properly installed and utilized emergency fixtures can mean the difference between a minor injury and a major injury or worse. When health and safety is on the line, it’s important to make sure all necessary considerations are taken into account when facilities are being designed and built.

Plumbing Engineer recently spoke to Margo Mee, Product Manager at Haws Corp., about things to think about when choosing emergency fixtures and systems.

PE: Can you tell us about Haws’ background with emergency fixtures? 

MM: Haws invents, manufactures and builds drinking fountains and standardized and customized emergency response products. For all our products, we continually focus on quality, service, reliability and complete solution support just as we have done for more than 100 years.

PE: What are some of the primary considerations when selecting emergency fixtures?

MM: When researching and purchasing a unit, a product that mimics medical protocols, offers full ANSI compliance in all scenarios, and really considers victim needs and comfort is the ideal solution to offer a complete emergency response system.

PE: From the manufacturing side, what are some of your primary considerations when designing and making emergency fixtures?

MM: Victim comfort for maximum results is the primary consideration when designing emergency products, but it also important that the product is reliable and durable. Our quality products are thoroughly tested and evaluated at numerous points during design and build.

PE: What kinds of challenges do you face with emergency fixtures? How do you deal with those challenges?

MM: Because they are not used frequently, a lot of facilities will place their importance on the back burner and not evaluate if their site’s needs have changed, if the install location is still ideal, if the units even work or are ANSI compliant. The best way to address these common issues is through continuous education. We offer onsite facility testing and evaluation, detailed informational videos, and on-demand and live webinars with access to our engineering team.

PE: Has the standard and market for emergency fixtures remained pretty constant, or are there many updates and changes? 

MM: The last major change in the standard was in 2009. That revision included a definition for tempered water and from there you could see product changes. The market itself continues to grow as people are more educated and are asking the right questions and demand that their site provide the ideal solution. Manufacturers are held accountable for providing a reliable product and if they can’t adhere, their products are being replaced.

PE: Are there any trends or updates to the standard you see on the horizon?

MM: We would hope to see a revision in the next 6-12 months.

PE: You wrote a white paper about exceeding the ANSI Z358.1 Standard. Can you tell us a little about the baseline of the standard itself?

MM: The ANSI Z358.1 Standard defines emergency eyewash and shower design, location, testing, activation, and temperature requirements for proper functionality and usage. Simply providing emergency eyewash and shower products is not enough. Facilities must inspect, test, and monitor emergency equipment system readiness and performance. Even though the most current ANSI Z358.1 standard now dates to 2009, most emergency eyewash and shower units across North America still do not yet comply with these significant provisions.

PE: Why should end users be looking to exceed the standard?

MM: Treat the situation as if you could be a victim. You would only want the best solution that performs as required as well as provides an additional benefits so the emergency response tool doesn’t cause further injury.

PE: How can products and systems exceed that standard?

MM: Haws products go beyond the minimum performances of emergency eyewashes and showers requirements by keeping the victim in mind when in an emergency situation. Haws products include victim comfort with water pressure and flow, effective flushing with the use of our unique AXION directional flow, appropriate and recognizable color coding, and temperature controls to encourage proper usage. In addition, Haws offers a variety of educational tools to help educate and train users.

 

REPOST: Trends in Emergency Eyewashes/Showers
Repost from Safety & Health article by Tracy Haas

Equipment reliability is imperative

Unlike personal protective equipment such as hard hats and steel-toe boots, emergency eyewashes and showers are not meant to be used every day. Ideally, a worker will never need one. But should an incident such as a chemical splash occur, it’s vital that emergency eyewashes and showers be ready for use.

Issues

Because emergency eyewashes and showers are not frequently used, their maintenance may not always be top of mind. “The two most common emergency shower misuses are not providing ANSI-required tepid water and failing to conduct weekly test activations to ensure the units are working,” said Ryan Pfund, senior product manager, emergency fixtures, for Menomonee Falls, WI-based Bradley Corp. Pfund recommends establishing a weekly inspection program to test your company’s eyewash and shower equipment to ensure it is working properly and providing tepid water instantaneously. “Manufacturers provide specially designed devices and materials to assist in testing,” he added.

Nuray Ebel, product manager at Sparks, NV-based Haws, echoed Pfund’s comment that ANSI Z358.1-required weekly testing – although crucial – is often neglected: “The most significant part of the weekly test is the validation that the equipment provides proper first aid to users – not just ensuring water is present.”

Keith Flamich, marketing manager for Chicago-based Guardian Equipment, notes that equipment reliability is imperative. “During incidents where emergency eyewash and shower units are activated, far too much is at stake to depend on equipment that is not properly tested and not third-party certified,” Flamich said.

What’s new

Emergency eyewashes and showers now have improved flow control and coverage, according to Pfund. “The newest models apply fluid dynamics technology that works with a pressure-regulated flow control to provide an integral and uniform flow of water directed at the affected area,” he said.

Flamich pointed to the increasing popularity of heat-traced freeze-resistant stations in cold-weather environments. “These units are manufactured with a heat-tracing cable wrapped around internal piping to prevent the freezing of standing water within the unit,” he said. “Once activated, a safety station first delivers the standing water before drawing from a tepid water supply.” However, he cautioned that these stations are commonly misunderstood, and people often believe the units are capable of heating a full 15-minute supply of water per the ANSI Z358.1 tepid water requirement. “The reality is that these units heat only the standing water contained within its internal piping prior to unit activation,” Flamich explained. “As such, there must be continuous source of tepid water supplying the heat-traced safety station (i.e., thermostatic mixing valve, tepid water loop, or instantaneous water heater) to meet the ANSI-required 15-minute tepid water flush.”

On a separate note, Ebel spoke of the benefits of using wireless alarm technology for emergency eyewashes and showers. “Wireless transmitters enable control and/or notification from remote areas where wiring or wire maintenance is not physically possible or economically feasible.”

OSHA and ANSI Z358.1: Your Guide to Compliance

Your Guide to ANSI Z358.1 Compliance

DATE: JUNE 23rd, 2016

TIME: 10:00-11:00am PT/ 1:00-2:00pm ET

DESCRIPTION: In November 2015, it was signed into law that OSHA fines are increasing by 80% for the first time since 1990. Ensure you are complaint with the updated ANSI Z358.1 Standard to avoid fines and guarantee you are providing properly functioning emergency equipment.

Hosted by leading ANSI compliance field expert Casey Hayes, this free web seminar will cover:

• ANSI Z358.1-2014 revisions and significant requirements
• Compliance best practices
• Live Q&A

Attendees will receive:
• Complimentary OSHA white paper
• ANSI checklist
• Access to on-demand webinar 

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.

Eyewashes: Is It “1 Second” or “1 Motion”?

DOWNLOAD THIS FLYER

The  ANSI Z358.1 Standard (American National Standard) mandates that proper eyewash activation – which describes a unit going from “off” to “on”- shall take one second or less.  This requirement has held true since the inception of the ANSI Standard in 1981 and throughout all revisions including 1990, 1998, 2004, 2009 and 2014. Despite this, the myth that the eyewash must go from “off” to “on” in one motion continues to be inaccurately shared.

To quote the 2014 Standard: “The valve shall be simple to operate and shall go from “off” to “on” in 1 second or less.”

This disconnect in awareness of the activation requirement has come up especially pertaining to faucet-mounted eyewashes where it is required for the user to turn on the water supply and then activate the unit, hence a two motion activation.

Specifically, the Haws® AXION® eyePOD® faucet-mounted eyewash has proven through testing that it meets the “off to on in one second or less” activation requirement.

Mounting easily to standard faucets, the AXION eyePOD provides healthcare offices, laboratories, schools, and even households with medically consistent inverted eyewash flushing technology.

As seen below, a simple rotation of the unit transforms normal faucet capabilities into a fully-functioning, ANSI compliant eyewash station.

eyepod stage 1 eyepod stage 2 eyepod stage 3 eyepod stage 4

Medically Superior Response®
The trademarked inverted water streams gently flush contaminants away from sensitive glands and ducts that surround the eye. The added protection to these valuable organs helps reduce against unnecessary injury.

DOWNLOAD THIS FLYER

Click here to learn more about the AXION eyePOD.

If interested in pricing information or receiving a quote, click here.

For more information on the ANSI Z358.1 Standard for emergency showers and eyewashes, visit our ANSI Resources page.

ANSI Z358.1 DEBATE: “1-Touch” vs. “1-Second” Activation

The  ANSI Z358.1 Standard (American National Standard) mandates that proper eyewash activation – which describes a unit going from “off” to “on”- shall take one second or less.  This requirement has held true since the inception of the ANSI Standard in 1981 and throughout all revisions including 1990, 1998, 2004, 2009 and 2014. Despite this, the myth that the eyewash must go from “off” to “on” in one motion continues to be inaccurately shared.

To quote the 2014 Standard: “The valve shall be simple to operate and shall go from “off” to “on” in 1 second or less.”

This disconnect in awareness of the activation requirement has come up especially pertaining to faucet-mounted eyewashes where it is required for the user to turn on the water supply and then activate the unit, hence a two motion activation.

Specifically, the Haws® AXION® eyePOD® faucet-mounted eyewash has proven through testing that it meets the “off to on in one second or less” activation requirement.

Mounting easily to standard faucets, the AXION eyePOD provides healthcare offices, laboratories, schools, and even households with medically consistent inverted eyewash flushing technology.

As seen below, a simple rotation of the unit transforms normal faucet capabilities into a fully-functioning, ANSI compliant eyewash station.

eyepod stage 1 eyepod stage 2 eyepod stage 3 eyepod stage 4

Medically Superior Response®
The trademarked inverted water streams gently flush contaminants away from sensitive glands and ducts that surround the eye. The added protection to these valuable organs helps reduce against unnecessary injury.

Click here to learn more about the AXION eyePOD.

If interested in pricing information or receiving a quote, click here.

For more information on the ANSI Z358.1 Standard for emergency showers and eyewashes, visit our ANSI Resources page.

OSHA regulations vary for eyewash flushing & shower drenching

Written by: Wesley J. Maertz

The question often comes up as to where OSHA calls out eyewash requirements. Emergency shower and eyewash station equipment needs are referenced in two different types of OSHA regulations. The first is applicable to all general industry or construction facilities that require the installation of emergency shower or eyewash station equipment. The second type is specific to certain industries.

Both regulation types specify where and when emergency eyewash and shower equipment must be available. Neither, however, specifies minimum selection, installation, operation or maintenance requirements. For the answers to these questions, organizations must turn to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/ International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) American National Standard for Emergency Eyewash and Shower Equipment standard, (ANSI/ISEA Z358.1-2014).

General applicable regulations

When working with corrosives, drenching facilities must be readily available according to 29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 1910.151(c) for general industry and 29 CFR 1926.50(g) for construction industry. Both state, “Where the eyes or body of any person may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials, suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body shall be provided within the work area for immediate emergency use.” These drenching facilities could include an eyewash, eye/face wash, shower or combination eye/face wash shower depending on the amount of possible exposure. Because OSHA does not clarify the minimum requirements for “suitable facilities,” employers often look to the ANSI/ISEA Z358.1 Standard for Emergency Eyewashes and Shower Equipment for guidance.

Specific industry applicable regulations

There are also industry specific regulations that address emergency drenching requirements. You must be familiar with these specific requirements if they apply to your workplace:

♦ Open Surface Tanks 29 CFR 1910.124(g)(2) and(3):

“An emergency shower and eye-wash station close to the dipping or coating operation. In place of this equipment, you may use a water hose that is at least 4 feet (1.22 m) long and at least 3/4 of an inch (18 mm) thick with a quick-opening valve and carrying a pressure of 25 pounds per square inch (1.62 k/cm2) or less; and at least one basin with a hot-water faucet for every 10 employees who work with such liquids.

♦ Anhydrous Ammonia 29 CFR 1910.111(b)(10)(iii)

“Stationary storage installations shall have an easily accessible shower or a 50-gallon drum of water.”

♦ Powered Industrial Trucks 29 CFR 1910.178(g)(2)

“Facilities shall be provided for flushing and neutralizing spilled electrolyte, for fire protection, for protecting charging apparatus from damage by trucks, and for adequate ventilation for dispersal of fumes from gassing batteries.”

♦ Pulp, Paper, and Paperboard Mills 29 CFR 1910.261(g)(5)

“…A deluge shower and eye fountain shall be provided to flush the skin and eyes to counteract lime or acid burns.”

♦ Telecommunications 29 CFR 1910.268(b)(2)(i)

“…Facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body shall be provided unless the storage batteries are of the enclosed type and equipped with explosion proof vents, in which case sealed water rinse or neutralizing packs may be substituted for the quick drenching or flushing facilities. Employees assigned to work with storage batteries shall be instructed in emergency procedures such as dealing with accidental acid spills.”

♦ Formaldehyde 29 CFR 1910.1048(i)(3)

“If there is any possibility that an employee’s eyes may be splashed with solutions containing 0.1 percent or greater formaldehyde, the employer shall provide acceptable eyewash facilities within the immediate work area for emergency use.”

Consensus applicable regulation

ANSI/ISEA Z358.1-2014 is a voluntary national consensus standard that OSHA refers employers to as a recognized source for guidance. It helps users select, install, operate and maintain emergency eye wash and shower equipment. The standard is divided into five sections and each section addresses minimum performance and use requirements, as well as installation, testing procedures, maintenance and training requirements. OSHA often uses ANSI/ISEA Z358.1-2014 as a guide during inspections and may elect to issue penalties based on non-compliance.

To ensure that eyewash stations and showers are always ready when needed, it is important that the requirements for test procedures and maintenance set forth in ANSI/ISEA Z358.1-2014 be followed. The requirements for testing and maintaining eye, eye/face washes and showers are based on the manufacturer’s instructions and ANSI protocols. Generally, the manufacturer’s instructions state that the devices should be inspected tested and the results recorded weekly. Individual owners’ manuals should be looked at for the specific manufacturer’s guidelines.

Determination of a corrosive material

Within the general guidelines, occasionally the question comes up as to whether OSHA requires eyewashes for anything other than injurious corrosive chemicals. In a May 5, 2004 letter of interpretation, OSHA states: “As the standard states, an eyewash and/or safety shower would be required where an employee’s eyes or body could be exposed to injurious corrosive materials. If none of the materials used in this work area is an injurious corrosive (as indicated by the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for each product), then an emergency eyewash or shower would not be required pursuant to 1910.151(c) and 1926(g)”

Corrosive material is present in many workplaces either by themselves or contained in other materials. It is a good idea to refer to several sources to determine if a chemical is considered a corrosive to OSHA’s definition as it applies to eyewashes.

One of the easiest ways to identify if a chemical has corrosive properties is to use OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200) and the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) as a guide.  The universal symbols/pictograms used on labels and containers provide clear indications if a chemical is a corrosive.

Another source to identify if a chemical is corrosive is the Safety Data Sheet (SDS). Section 2 of the SDS will quickly provide the same information found on the shipped container label including the pictogram and precautionary statements. Section 9 of the SDS provides more details about the physical properties of the chemical including pH, which is the measure of how basic or acidic the chemical is on a scale of 0-14. A rating below seven is more acidic and above seven is more basic.

One other source to reference is the NIOSH pocket guide. The pocket guide presents key information such as pH in abbreviated or tabular form for chemicals or substance groupings that are found in the work environment.

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Complete our customer experience survey to be entered to with a $250 Amazon gift card. Drawings held quarterly.