Eyewashes and Safety Showers
Eyewashes and Safety Showers are a vital piece of emergency response equipment in any laboratory using hazardous chemical or biological materials. This is because:
- The first 10-15 seconds after exposure to a hazardous substance, especially a corrosive substance, are critical.
- Accidents can still occur even with the use of appropriate personal protective equipment and engineering controls.
- Delaying treatment, even for a few seconds, may exacerbate serious injury.
- Safety showers and eyewash stations provide immediate in-laboratory decontamination by allowing staff to flush contaminated clothing or skin with copious amounts of fluid.
If you need to use a safety shower or eyewash due to exposure, make sure that you remove contaminated clothing and flush for at least 15 minutes once activated. Chemicals can continue to affect your skin or eyes even if you can no longer feel an exposure sensation.
Standards and Guidelines
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has developed a standard (Z358.1-2014) which provides guidance on placement, accessibility, flow characteristics, and recommended checks for eyewash and shower equipment. The following instruction will keep units serviceable and functional for use:
- Locate your nearest eyewash and safety shower-you should be able to reach it within 10 seconds even with your eyes closed.
- Verify that the eyewash/safety shower location is well lit and marked with appropriate signage. If you cannot find a unit or your signage is missing please contact RMS.
- Ensure path of travel to eyewash/safety shower is free of obstructions.
- Periodically activate to flush eyewash/safety shower to ensure adequate water/solution flow, there is no sediment buildup and that valves open easily. Safety showers and eyewashes are required to activate with a single motion and remain activated until physically shut off.
- Check that eyewash provides a continuous flow to both eyes and those outlets are covered when not in use to protect from contaminants.
RMS will conduct annual inspections of the units. It is the responsibility of the laboratory personnel to maintain the equipment in operational condition.
If you would like a demonstration of how to activate your safety shower or eyewash, please call 702-895-4226.