Did you know that you can meet the ANSI Z358.1 standard for safety showers and still be unsafe? It is possible to be so focused on meeting the standard that you miss some very serious risks right next to your emergency shower and eye wash station location.
Emergency safety showers and eyewash stations minimize injuries caused by chemical burns. But some environments aren’t conducive to safety showers. For instance, if tepid water, or a constant supply of water, cannot be guaranteed, or the ambient temperatures are below -13 F (-25 C), it is impractical to use a standalone shower.
Ten seconds. That’s the longest it should take anyone to reach a safety shower when splashed with hazardous chemicals. That’s about the same amount of time that it takes to tie your shoelaces or to fold a t-shirt. Ten seconds passes very quickly, but an injured person must make their way from the incident to an emergency safety shower before that time frame expires.
A local fire brigade responds to an incident at a small chemicals factory. Many hazardous chemicals are on site and the incident has resulted in some injuries. The crew swings into action as their training and experience kick in. They assess the situation, demarcate the danger zone and don their full protective hazmat suits. These brave emergency responders risk their own lives to rescue injured workers and contain the situation.
An emergency safety shower seems like a very simple piece of safety equipment. It must provide tepid water. It should activate quickly. It needs to flow for at least 15 minutes. But, is a simple on/off safety shower the right equipment for every environment?