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.