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Emergency showers - your questions answered

You surely know it when you “have something in mind”. The eye immediately tries to rinse out 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.

1. What is an emergency shower?

Wherever dangerous substances are used, there is always a risk of contamination for people. Dangerous liquids, dust, vapors, 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 area of application.

2. Are emergency showers required by law?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has rules and regulations pertaining to the inclusion of eye wash stations in the workplace. They may vary by industry, business type, the chemicals kept on the premises, and jurisdiction.

It's important to do some research to find out what your legal obligations are. 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 be capable of providing 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?

You should 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 there are hazardous substances on site that pose a risk to skin or eyes and will therefore require immediate rinsing in an emergency.

Important factors to consider when installing emergency showers, eyewash stations and/or eyewash bottles are the number of units being installed, the design of the units and the positioning of the units.

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 own assessment.

4. Can I use a regular water source instead of an emergency shower?

This is not recommended.

In an emergency, the most important thing is immediate, efficient and sufficient rinsing with the right amount of water. Only specially designed safety showers can achieve the optimal and efficient supply of water, due to the high volume flow and corresponding flow speed. They are also equipped with many important 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 particularly 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.


It's essential that emergency showers are 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 needs 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 the event of an emergency.

How do I operate the emergency shower?
Employees must know how to operate the emergency shower in the event of an emergency. Although emergency showers are designed to be as easy to use as possible, the trigger mechanism can vary on different models. Body showers are usually triggered by a drawbar. There are different 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 the correct wastewater disposal method for your site.

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 annually checked by an expert. In addition to this, 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 the event of 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 water distribution of the shower head and the water quality. For optimal results and ease of use, we recommend using a emergency shower test unit.

We are happy to advise you!

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