Ensuring Compliance for Eyewash and Drench Shower Equipment – Part 2

By: Bonita Tucker

No need to be confused about the requirements for emergency equipment, see below and contact us with any additional questions.

Location of equipment:

  • All flushing equipment must be located in areas that are accessible within 10 seconds (roughly 55 feet). This is commonly referred to in the industry as the 10-second rule.
  • Keep in mind that an injured worker may need additional time to reach the flushing stations, as the severity of the injury could vary.
  • In the presence of highly corrosive chemicals, consideration should be given to installing the flushing equipment much closer to the hazard.
  • Be cautious of electrical supply panels that may be within “splashing distance” such as charging stations for Forklifts and other battery operated machinery.

Obstructions:

  • Safety Showers and Eyewash Stations must be located on the same level as the hazard and the path of travel shall be free from obstructions.
  • You must install equipment on every level that contains a hazard.
  • Nothing can block access to the flushing stations.
  • A door is considered an obstruction.
  • If the hazard is non-corrosive, one door can be present if it opens in the same direction of travel as the person requiring the use of the flushing station.

Identification:

  • Eyewash and Drench Shower Stations must be installed in a well-lit area and identified with a highly visible safety sign.

Supply Lines:

  • All water supply lines must be provided to meet the ANSI minimum flow requirements at 30-90 PSI. The recommended incoming pipe sizes are as follows:
  • 1/2″ (1.27 cm) IPS for Eyewash Stations and Eye/Face Wash Stations
  • 1″ (2.54 cm) IPS for Drench Showers
  • 1-1/4″ (3.175 cm) IPS for Combination Eyewash Drench Showers

Shut-Off Valves

  • If shut-off valves are installed on the supply line for maintenance purposes, provisions must be in place to prevent unauthorized shut-off. Lock-out, Tag-out devices are the most common method to secure shut-off valves.

Waste Disposal

  • Proper disposal of contaminated flushing fluid must be considered. Consult with your local authorities for additional guidance on the proper wastewater disposal.

Water Temperature & Tepid Water:

  • ANSI defines “tepid water” as “A flushing fluid temperature conducive to promoting a minimum 15 minute irrigation period. A suitable range is 16-38°C (60-100°F)”.
  • Medical professionals recommend that tepid flushing fluids be used to treat chemically injured eyes and body tissue. Temperatures that exceed 100°F can enhance chemical interaction with the eyes and skin. Additionally, flushing fluid temperatures below 60°F can cause hypothermic shock. The ANSI Z358.1-2009 standard states that while cooler flushing fluids may provide immediate relief after chemical contact, “prolonged exposure to cold fluids affect the ability to maintain adequate body temperature and can result in the premature cessation of first aid treatment”.
  • Tepid water can be delivered to Eyewash and Shower flushing stations by installing Thermostatic Mixing Valves (TMV’s) or Water Tempering Valves
  • It is important to note that standard water mixing valves should not be used for the purpose of providing tepid water to Emergency Eyewash and Drench Shower Stations.
  • Mixing valves designed specifically for Eyewash related products include a hot water shut-off to prevent accidental scalding, and a cold-water bypass to ensure the delivery of flushing fluids if the hot water supply fails.
  • Where the possibility of freezing conditions exists, equipment shall be protected from freezing or freeze-protected equipment shall be installed.
  • Where the ambient water temperature may exceed 100°F, anti-scald valves should be used to purge potentially scalding water from the supply lines.

Training:

  • All employees who may be exposed to hazardous, particulate, or corrosive materials shall be instructed on the proper operation of Eyewash & Drench Shower equipment. In addition, all employees must be made aware of the locations of flushing stations.

Maintenance & Testing:

  • Proper maintenance and weekly testing is necessary to ensure that Emergency Drench Showers and Eyewash Stations are functioning safely and properly.
  • The ANSI standard states that plumbed flushing equipment “shall be activated weekly for a period long enough to verify operation and ensure that flushing fluid is available.”
  • The ANSI Z358.1-2009 standard also requires Portable and Self Contained equipment “be visually checked to determine if flushing fluid needs to be changed or supplemented.”

Personal Wash Units/Bottled Eyewash:

  • Bottled Eyewash or other Personal Wash Units such as single head Drench Hoses are considered to be supplemental equipment only. These types of flushing units do not meet ANSI’s requirements for Eyewash and/or Drench Shower stations and should not be used as an alternative to a15-minute flushing station. The ANSI Z358.1-2009 standard states, “A personal wash unit may be kept in the immediate vicinity of employees working in a potentially hazardous area. The main purpose of these units is to supply immediate flushing. With this accomplished, the injured individual should then proceed to a plumbed or self contained Eyewash and flush the eyes for the required 15-minute period.”

Performance & Installation Requirements:

Eye Wash Stations

  • Minimum flow for plumbed and portable Eyewash units is .4 GPM at 30 PSI
  • Units must be capable of delivering a minimum of 15 minutes of flushing fluid
  • Eyewash units shall be capable of being activated in 1 second or less
  • Stay open ball valves must be used to accommodate for hands-free rinsing
  • Flushing fluid must be provided to both eyes simultaneously
  • Dust caps or dust covers must be installed to protect the unit from contaminates
  • Sprayheads must be positioned between 33″ and 45″ from the floor
  • Sprayheads must be positioned at least 6″ from the wall or nearest obstruction

Eye/Face Wash Stations

  • Minimum flow for plumbed and portable Eyewash units is 3 GPM at 30 PSI
  • Units must be capable of delivering a minimum of 15 minutes of flushing fluid
  • Eyewash units shall be capable of being activated in 1 second or less
  • Stay open ball valves must be used to accommodate for hands-free rinsing
  • Flushing fluid must be provided to both eyes simultaneously
  • Dust caps or dust covers must be installed to protect the unit from contaminates
  • Sprayheads must be positioned between 33″ and 45″ from the floor
  • Sprayheads must be positioned at least 6″ from the wall or nearest obstruction

Drench Showers

  • Minimum flow for Drench Showers is 20 GPM at 30 PSI
  • Units must be capable of delivering a minimum of 15 minutes of flushing fluid
  • Drench Showers shall be capable of being activated in 1 second or less
  • Stay open ball valves must be used to accommodate for hands-free rinsing
  • Drench Shower pull-rod must be installed no more than 69″ from the floor
  • Drench Shower sprayhead must be positioned between 82″-96″ from the floor
  • Spray-pattern must be 20″ in diameter at 60″ above the floor.
  • Center of spray pattern must be at least 16″ away from any obstruction
  • Combination Units must meet both criteria for Drench Showers & Eyewash