Experts agree the most important first aid procedure for eye and skin contact with hazardous materials is abundant irrigation within seconds. The need for immediate flushing requires the installation of emergency eyewash and shower devices in accessible locations that require no more than 10 SECONDS to reach. Studies have shown there is a significant difference in the outcome of chemically burned eyes and skin tissue that receive prompt irrigation and those that did not undergo immediate flushing - patients required less surgery, had shorter hospital stays, and faster recoveries.
OSHA Regulations state in 29 CFR 1910.151: "Where the eyes or body of any person may be exposed to injurious corrosive chemicals, suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body shall be provided within the work area for immediate emergency use."
Another consideration for selection of emergency eyewash and emergency showers are the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for the chemicals used in your facility. The MSDS provides information about that chemical's potential health hazards and contains emergency and first aid procedures to follow immediately after exposure, until medical help arrives. The MSDS will normally state if an emergency eyewash and/or emergency shower is required
OSHA enforces the ANSI Z358.1-2004 standard that contains provisions regarding the design, performance, installation, use and maintenance of various types of emergency equipment (showers, eye washes, drench hoses, etc.).
The following specifications are taken directly from the ANSI Z358.1-2004 standard
Plumbed Shower: An emergency shower permanently connected to a source of potable water.
Self-Contained Shower: A shower that contains its own flushing fluid, and must be refilled or replaced after use.
The specifications below are for plumbed showers only.
A. Positioned 82"--96" from floor. B. Spray pattern will have a minimum diameter of 20" at 60" above the floor. C. Flow Rate=20 gallons per minute (GPM) at 30 pounds per square inch (PSI). D. The center of the spray pattern shall be located at least 16 inches from any obstruction.
A. Activate in 1 second or less. B. Stay-open valve (no use of hands). C. Valve remains on until the user shuts it off.
A. Shower shall be located in an area that requies no more than 10 seconds to reach. *Consult a medical professional to determine the appropriate distance for harsh acids and caustics (high hazard=closer distance). B. Shower location shall be in a well-lit area and identified with a sign. C. Shower shall be located on the same level as the hazard.
4. Maintenance and Training
A. Activate weekly to verify proper operation. B. All employees who might be exposed to a chemical splash shall be trained in the use of the equipment. C. All drench hose equipment shall be inspected annually to make sure they meet ANSI Z358.1 requirements. Note: Hand-held drench hoses support shower and eyewash units but shall not replace them. Some units meet the provisions for both an eye wash and a drench hose. These dual purpose units can be used to combine an eye wash and a drench hose into a single versatile, economic unit.
A supplementary eye wash that supports plumbed units, gravity-feed units, or both by delivering immediate flushing fluid.
NOTE: Personal eye wash units can provide immediate flushing when they are located near the workstations. Personal eye wash equipment does not meet the requirements of plumbed or gravity-feed eye wash equipment. Personal eye wash units can support plumbed or gravity-feed eye wash units, but cannot be a substitute.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is 10 seconds travel time?
The ISEA recommends the following for locating eyewashes and showers. Travel distance: The reference to a specific distance for placement of emergency equipment has been removed to place emphasis on the time that it should take to research the equipment. Consideration to lighting and path of travel should be given. In no situation should it take more than 10 seconds to reach the equipment and it should be noted that such equipment must be located on the same level as the hazard and the path of travel shall be free of obstruction. At this time, the Secretariat is not recommending a specific measurement of travel relative to a 10 second travel time.
Why is tepid water required and who requires it for eye washes and showers?
ANSI Z358.1 requires the use of tepid water for emergency showers & eyewashes. It is important to provide tepid water to showers and eyewashes so that a user has the ability to use the equipment as designed. Cold water may cause the user to abort use of the equipment before all contaminants can be removed. Additionally victims subjected to cold water may experience hypothermia. Water that is too warm may cause a thermal burn and additional injury to the eyes or body.
Are there any recommended procedures on how to effectively flush eyes that have been contaminated?
Individuals should be instructed to hold the eyelids open and roll the eyeballs so fluid will flow on all surfaces of the eye and under the eyelid.
Yes. Factory-sealed cartridges containing eyewash solutions are available. These products have shelf lives well in excess of preservative solutions and are significantly easier to maintain.
Wall mount eye wash station has a 12" bowl and twin spray heads with flow control for safe water flow. The eye wash station spray heads have hinged head covers to keep them clean. The water is activated with a large highly visible push handle and 1/2" chrome plated brass stay open valve.
The Fendall Pure Flow 1000 delivers unequaled eyewash safety, reliability, and value. This premier station features a patented system that delivers a purified, contaminant-free, and physiologically correct Eyesaline® solution from factory-sealed cartridges. Pure Flow 1000 does not require costly plumbing. It features a fluid balancing system that provides a constant fluid flow rate and stream height for the entire 15-minute flushing period required by ANSI Z358.1-2004. Pure Flow 1000 factory-sealed cartridges last up to 24 months, at least four times longer that other primary self-contained eyewash devices.
Combination eye wash and emergency shower safety station. Two GS-Plus spray-type outlet heads deliver a flood of water for rinsing eyes. Emergency shower head has 10" diameter and is orange ABS plastic. Spray head assembly consists of two GS-Plus spray heads. Each head has a flip top dust cover, internal flow control and filter to remove impurities from water. Furnished with ANSI-compliant identification sign.
Available with an ABS plastic or stainless steel eyewash bowl.
American National Standards Institute
11 W. 42nd St.
New York, NY 10036
Please Note: The information contained in this publication is intended for general information purposes only. This publication is not a substitute for review of the applicable government regulations and standards, and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific questions should refer to the cited regulation or consult with an attorney. Return to customer center