Safety Showers and Decontamination Equipment

Company Overview

Hughes Safety Showers is a world-leading manufacturer of Emergency Safety Showers, Eyebaths and Decontamination Equipment.

The Company has supplied industry worldwide for 45 years and built a reputation for excellent engineering design, stringent quality standards and unrivaled customer service and support. Research is at the heart of the Company’s product development program ensuring that customers always have access to the most effective methods of decontamination. Close cooperation with end users provides essential feedback on product design to optimize performance with a wide range of hazardous substances and environmental conditions.

Company History

The Company was founded in the United Kingdom in July 1950 by John D. Hughes MBE, a qualified mechanical engineer and father of the present Managing Director. Activities included the fabrication of pipework and pressure vessels along with the erection of pipelines and structural steelwork for the chemical and petrochemical industries.

Whilst working on various sites where chemicals were being manufactured, the Company’s employees became aware of an absence of effective Emergency Shower and Eyebath facilities.

This deficiency was painfully highlighted on several occasions when chemical or other burns were suffered.

Such was the case when a Hughes employee, Charlie Gamble, accidentally stepped into a tank containing a sulphurous mixture, causing burns to his foot and leg. The only decontamination facility on the site was a domestic cast iron bath half full of stagnant, contaminated water!


From these observations, the Company began designing and developing a range of Emergency Safety Showers and Eyebaths long before any of the current OSHA/COSHH requirements or ANSI recommendations. Initially, these Emergency Showers and Eyebaths were rather crude and basic, but with feedback and constructive criticism from users, designs were improved and refinements such as frost protection were included in unit design.

With the steady increase in demand for such equipment, J D Hughes Fabrications Limited was incorporated in England in September 1968 specifically to manufacture Emergency Shower and Eye wash Equipment. The Company soon became the local leader and for the past forty-five years has been the largest specialist manufacturer of this type of equipment throughout Europe and now provides sales and service to over 160 countries worldwide from a number of local country offices. 

Since taking control of the Company in the late seventies, Tony D Hughes, son of the founder, and also a qualified mechanical engineer, has brought his own personal touch and engineering expertise to the Company and its products. Under his direction all products have been the subject of continual design and development from both functional and aesthetic aspects.

Activity in North America intensified in 2006 with the opening of premises in Sarnia, ON and in 2013, these manufacturing facilities have expanded to include an 18,000 sq ft factory and distribution centre. In 2010, we added a key sales and marketing office in Houston, Texas and since then our service to American industry has grown by over 300%



With a philosophy of only using the very best materials available, and building each Emergency Shower and Eyebath Unit to the highest achievable standard, Hughes products are widely regarded as the best available on the market with an expected lifespan that far exceeds that of the nearest rivals.

In 1992, accreditation to BS EN ISO 9002 and later to ISO 9001:2000, was further evidence of the Company’s commitment to quality. Through continuous improvement, the Company has now attained ISO 9001:2009 and continues to keep quality management as a key performance measurement in the business.

Various innovative products have been developed and produced by the Company over the years, including the highly acclaimed ‘Portaflex’ Decontamination Shower.  This Portable Decontamination Unit is now used by the majority of fire brigades throughout the United Kingdom and a large number of emergency services worldwide.

To complement the Portaflex, a comprehensive range of Mass Decontamination Units has been developed for the emergency services and the military, as well as for use by the chemical, petrochemical and associated industries.

To simplify things and to avoid confusion for their customers, the Company was renamed, and in 1997 became The J.D. Hughes Group Plc, with multiple geographic trading companies as wholly or jointly owned subsidiaries including a manufacturing facility in Sarnia, ON and our sales and marketing headquarters at the heart of the oil, gas and petrochemical industries of America in Houston, Texas.



To support increasing business throughout Europe, Hughes Notduschen GmbH was established in Germany in 2000 to handle sales and distribution. This ensures a quick delivery at competitive prices to the growing European safety market.

In 2006, Hughes Notduschen were successful in attaining DVGW certification for over 25 products, confirming compliance to the new DIN EN 15154 (1+2) Standard.

Hughes Middle East, operating out of the Sharjah International Free Zone in the UAE was also established to provide valuable technical and commercial support to the Company’s local distributors and strengthen Hughes’ presence across the Gulf States.

In recognition of the significant and sustained growth in Hughes’ export business, the Company was awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade 2006, one of the most prestigious awards made to British companies. The Company was once again awarded the Queen's Award for Enterprise: International Trade 2012 - Continuous Improvement and recognized specifically for the extensive investment in the United States.

The JD Hughes Group takes great pride in our workforces throughout the world and, in 2012, was accredited by the internationally recognized 'Investors in People" achieving the Gold Standard, one of only a handful of manufacturing companies to do so.

After more than 45 years and now with a burgeoning North American business and new award-winning products, the Hughes Group is looking forward to another great year supporting our customers and our distribution partners throughout the world.