You undoubtedly know it when you “have something in mind.” The eye immediately tries to rinse the foreign body by producing more tear fluid. However, our body's protective mechanism is limited. This is where emergency showers and professional eye washes come into play, which, based on the natural model, ensure adequate rinsing in an emergency. However, our practice shows that there are always questions about emergency showers. You will find the answers to this in the following suitable products, as usual, in the DENIOS online shop.
Wherever dangerous substances are used, there is always a risk of contamination for people. Hazardous liquids, dust, vapours, sparks, metal shavings and wood splinters can get in the eyes or on the skin and cause considerable damage.
Emergency showers are an essential facility for quick first aid. They enable the affected regions to be flushed immediately, helping to contain acute damage and avoid negative long-term consequences. It is also possible to put out clothes fires with an emergency shower. Body showers, eye showers, or eyewash bottles are used depending on the application area.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has rules and regulations about including eye wash stations in the workplace. They may vary by industry, business type, the chemicals kept on the premises, and jurisdiction.
It's essential to do some research to determine your legal obligations. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) also provides guidelines that may be useful even if you've already met OSHA standards.
The ANSI Standard Z358.1-2009 establishes universal minimum performance and use requirements for emergency showers and eyewash stations.
ANSI Z358.1-2014 specifies that the equipment installed can provide flushing liquid for a minimum of 15 minutes. The flushing or rinsing time can be modified if the identity and properties of the chemical are known.
This checklist is a summary of the provisions of ANSI Z358.1-2014 relating to eye or eye/face wash and shower combination stations.
All Guardian safety stations are third-party certified to meet or exceed the provisions of ANSI Z358.1-2014.
3. Do risk assessments require emergency showers?
It would be best to use a risk assessment to determine whether or not you need to install an emergency shower on your premises. You will need to assess whether hazardous substances on site pose a risk to skin or eyes and will, therefore, require immediate rinsing in an emergency.
Essential factors to consider when installing emergency showers, eyewash stations, and eyewash bottles are the number of units being installed, the design of the units and the positioning.
Safety data sheets If hazardous substances are used in your company, the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) is one of the most important sources of information for risk assessment. A safety data sheet is not a risk assessment. You should use the information it contains to help make your assessment.
4. Can I use a regular water source instead of an emergency shower?
This is not recommended.
In an emergency, the most crucial thing is immediate, efficient and sufficient rinsing with the right amount of water. Only specially designed safety showers can achieve optimal and efficient water supply due to the high-volume flow and corresponding flow speed. They also have many critical additional functions that conventional washing options don't offer. For example, specially shaped eye attachments effectively support keeping the eyelids open to enable optimal rinsing of the eye area.
5. What should I consider when installing an emergency shower?
As a general rule, workers must be able to get to an emergency shower within 10 seconds of exposure to hazardous substances. In the case of hazardous substances, they may need to access them in even less time (depending on your risk assessment). There are certain chemicals that guidelines recommend require access to emergency rinsing facilities in 5 seconds.
Emergency rinsing facilities - it's crucial that nothing blocks access to the emergency facilities. Floor markings are a good way of ensuring that access to emergency showers and eyewash stations remains unobstructed. It's also important not to force people to climb stairs, ramps or open doors when attempting to access emergency showers and eyewash stations. Place emergency showers on the same level as the source of potential danger, avoiding all barriers such as doors and gates.
Emergency showers must be easily identified and visible at all times. To achieve this, clearly mark the area around the emergency shower with appropriate signage: "emergency shower" or "eyewash."
6. What do employees need to know about emergency showers?
When should I use an emergency shower? Inform your employees about any possible dangers in the workplace and explain the necessary first aid measures. All employees need to know under which situations an immediate rinse is required. The operating instructions for the emergency shower will form part of the risk assessment.
Where are the company emergency showers located? In an emergency, speed is essential. Employees must know exactly where the emergency showers and eye rinsing are located in an emergency.
How do I operate the emergency shower? Employees must know how to operate the emergency shower in an emergency. Although emergency showers are designed to be as easy to use as possible, the trigger mechanism can vary on different models. A drawbar usually triggers body showers. There are other options for eyewash stations, such as pressure plates or a valve lever. Eyewash bottles release the rinsing liquid by manually squeezing the bottle body.
Our tip: To ensure worker safety, extensive training on emergency equipment is vital.
7. What happens to the wastewater?
Proper disposal of any contaminated water must be considered when installing new equipment. Drainage, freezing temperatures and pollutants should all be considered in advance. We recommend that you consult with your Local Authority, Water provider or Environment Agency for additional guidance on your site's correct wastewater disposal method.
8. How often do I have to maintain an emergency shower?
For both emergency body showers and eyewash stations, best practice requires that they are checked annually by an expert. In addition, a functional check by the user should be carried out each month. For eyewash stations, a weekly check may be advised to keep the risk of contamination to an absolute minimum.
9. How do you test the function of an emergency shower?
A regular check of the emergency shower is needed to ensure it is operational in an emergency. Regular actuation will also aid in keeping the valve working efficiently. Frequent water changes will also prevent contamination of the water pipe. During the functional test, assess the volume flow, the shower head's water distribution, and the water quality. We recommend using an emergency shower test unit for optimal results and ease of use.
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