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.

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