Testing Your Emergency Showers and Eyewashes Isn’t Just an Annual Thing

[via OH&S]

With OSHA fine increases of 80 percent taking effect in August 2016, violations for inappropriate or inadequate eyewash and shower equipment have resulted in penalties above $100,000.

By Samantha Hoch
Oct 01, 2017

The standard guiding the placement, functionality, and maintenance requirements for emergency showers and eyewashes is ANSI/ISEA Z358.1, which was last revised in 2014. In its current form, it is the clearest and most useful tool for protecting workers from eye, face, and body injuries resulting from caustic and corrosive materials introduced by workplace incidents such as spills, splashes, and blown particulates.

The standard requires stringent testing to be conducted on a regular basis to ensure properly functioning equipment is being provided at all times if an incident were to occur. We should all understand that compliance is not a once-a-year or once-a-month responsibility. Compliance is an all-day, every-day requirement. Accordingly, emergency showers and eyewashes are required by the ANSI/ISEA Z358.1-2014 Standard to be activated weekly, with a more thorough evaluation on an annual basis. This requirement is established in Sections including 4.6.2, 4.6.5.

In practice, emergency response equipment such as eyewashes and showers sometimes falls to the wayside when it comes to maintenance, especially when prioritized against emergency preparedness equipment such as eye protection and fall protection. It’s pertinent to know that OSHA does not prioritize or take a backseat when it comes to providing adequate and properly functioning equipment, regardless whether the equipment aids in pre- or post-incident situations. With OSHA fine increases of 80 percent taking effect in August 2016, violations for inappropriate or inadequate eyewash and shower equipment have resulted in penalties of more than $100,000.


The standard itself has three minimum requirements for weekly inspections:

  1. Emergency equipment shall be activated weekly. (Each piece of equipment is required to be activated.)
  2. Activation shall ensure flow of water to the head(s) of the device. (This would be both the eyewash or eye/face wash head as well as the showerhead.)
  3. Duration of the activation shall be sufficient to ensure all stagnant water is flushed from the unit itself and all sections of piping that do not form part of a constant circulation system, also known as “dead leg” portions. (The duration is determined by the length of piping where stagnant water could be sitting before it reaches the head(s) of the unit.)

In addition to the above weekly minimum performance checklist required by ANSI/ISEA, it is recommended as a best practice to conduct additional weekly functional checks. The purpose of these additional checks is to fully ensure the equipment is operating correctly and is capable of providing proper first aid in the event of an emergency.







As a general statement, all 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 buildup and to minimize any microbial contamination due to stagnant water.


Self-contained, also often referred to as “portable,” emergency response equipment is typically used in locations where there is either no access to water or at highly mobile sites where hazards are mobile. The ANSI/ISEA requirement for this type of equipment is to be visually inspected weekly to determine if the flushing fluid needs to be exchanged or supplemented (Sections 4.6.3 and others). The units should be maintained as per the manufacturer’s specific model instructions. A majority of self-contained units that use potable water also offer a sterile bacteriostatic additive option to prevent the water from growing bacteria. An exchange of the water and refill of the additive is required every three months for most additive products, as well as rinsing the unit clean between the exchanges. If an additive is not being used, then the water should be exchanged on a weekly basis, at a minimum, with a thorough tank cleaning monthly. On an annual basis, self-contained units are required to undergo the full test just as plumbed units do.

The question is often asked whether a company must hire a certified tester to conduct the weekly and annual inspections. Fortunately, there are no prerequisite or certification requirements to be able to test the equipment, although having a complete understanding of the installation and performance requirements will aid in ensuring conformance. There are various training tools, including Online Competent Person Training, offered by equipment manufacturers and others for individuals to become subject matter experts. This allows company personnel to get familiar with what to look for and how to conduct the tests appropriately. Many companies today opt to have an outside third-party inspection performed for them annually, which provides an added measure of credibility and assurance to the review process.

Facilities that contain hundreds of shower and eyewash units should strive to create as many subject matter experts as possible. Once trained, the weekly checks can be completed rather quickly. Creating facility maps, having full testing kits available, and holding reoccurring training classes can assist in the tedious, yet crucial weekly task.

Worker protection should be a priority in every safety plan and simply providing emergency showers and eyewashes is not enough. It is necessary to inspect, test, and monitor equipment readiness and performance for optimal response.


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.


Featured Editorial: When Overfamiliarity Becomes a Problem

Avoid the dangerous trap in emergency equipment maintenance.

By Casey Hayes

Weekly status checks should be performed only by people who are paying attention to absolutely everything and using a checklist that ensures all required elements are being properly reviewed. (Haws photo)

Whether it’s the back of your own hand or the drive you take to work five days a week, we become exceptionally familiar with certain things. And even though both of these examples are something you see regularly, you’re likely missing the changes that are happening right before your eyes. It makes sense—things such as aging and maturing landscapes take place over a long period of time. You simply become accustomed to what you see day in and day out.

The same familiarity can be true of emergency equipment maintenance. And that’s a problem. Changes and deterioration to your emergency equipment can often be hidden from view or take place over a protracted period. In either case, noting a problem likely takes a greater degree of attention. Better yet, it requires an objective, third-party evaluation.

Continue reading the full editorial on the OH&S Website>>

This article originally appeared in the October 2015 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

Haws Integrated Wins 2015 ‘New Product of the Year Award’

OH&S magazine’s seventh annual contest drew a record number of entries and 23 winning products. Haws Integrated’s 8720 Outdoor, Overhead Tank Combination Unit won 1st place in the Emergency Showers & Eyewashes category. Eighteen companies, including multiple winners 3M Personal Safety Division, Ergodyne, MSA Safety, and MSDSOnline, were honored on Sept. 10 for winning Occupational Health & Safety magazine’s New Product of the Year contest. Winners will be recognized with awards during the 2015 National Safety Congress & Expo taking place in Atlanta September 28-30.

 Learn more about our new Performance Series Overhead Tank Shower, model 8720.

The 2015 award winners are:

EHS Software
Gensuite LLC: Gensuite Audit Assistant
Electrical Safety
CBS Arcsafe, Inc.: RRS-3 HK
Emergency Response
MSDSOnline: Plan1 First Responder Share Service
Emergency Showers & Eyewash
Haws Corporation: Model 8720 Overhead Tank Combination Shower + Eye/Face Wash
Fall Protection/Prevention (tie)
Ergodyne: Squids Tool Traps
MSA Safety: Gravity Utility Full Body Harness
Foot Protection
Honeywell Safety Products: Oliver Safety Footwear for Women, OL21112 Industrial Hiker
Hand Protection
Sensidyne, LP: SV 103 Hand-Arm Vibration Dosimeter
Hazmat Safety
American Green Ventures (US) Inc.: Spillfix Industrial Organic Absorbent
Head Protection
MSA Safety: PINK V-Guard Cap
Hearing Protection
3M Personal Safety Division: 3M E-A-Rfit Dual-Ear Validation System
Heat Stress Prevention
Ergodyne: Chill-Its 6685 Dry Evaporative Cooling Vest
CompleteSourceSafety.com: Positive Impact Scratch & Win Incentives
Industrial Hygiene
Ion Science Ltd.: TigerLT
Noise and Vibration Monitoring Devices
Casella CEL Inc.: dBadge2
Online Training
NTT Training: SkillCircuit Online Training for Electrical Safety
On-Site Training
e-Hazard: Train the Trainer for OSHA 1910.269 Safety & Arc Hazard Awareness
Protective Apparel
MSA Safety: EVOTECH Arcflash Full Body Harness
Respiratory Protection
3M Personal Safety Division: Versaflo Powered Air Purifying Respirator TR-600
Safety Monitoring Devices
Blackline Safety: Loner Bridge System
SDS Management
MSDSOnline: MSDSOnline HQ/HQ RegXR Account
Signage & Identification
NeuraLabel Printing Solutions, A Neuralog Company: NeuraLabel 300X
Vision Protection
Gateway Safety Inc.: Swap MAG Safety Eyewear
In addition to being honored today, the winners are featured on Occupational Health & Safety’s website, ohsonline.com.

AXION Advantage™: New Product of the Year

2013 and 2014 have been great years as we launched various products including the Model 1900 Bottle Filler, the 9400 Steam Water Heat Exchanger, and the AXION Advantage™ System which have all received strong recognition within the industry. The AXION Advantage™ system offers health and safety professionals a medically superior response for upgrading existing emergency eyewash and shower equipment while exceeding ANSI compliance. With four Advantage kits providing the necessary pieces to convert 80% of existing eyewashes and showers, facilities will have the tools to upgrade older Haws® products, replace ineffective products and test for continued ANSI compliance.


Since it’s launch, AXION® MSR products new product has received numerous award for its ingenuity and ability. In fact, this new AXION Advantage™ System  has recently received several occupational safety awards including the 2014 ISHN Readers’ Choice Award, the 2014 American Society of Safety Engineers – Safety Show’s Attendee Choice Award, the ISHN New Product of the Year Award, and the OH&S New Product of the Year Award. To learn about more of our innovative products, visit our Smart Innovation pages.

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