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. Every second longer increases the intensity of the burn. Every delay causes more severe damage to body tissue, eyes, or skin.
Regulators set laws and standards to make sure workers can receive immediate relief from chemical burns. But, they are not only guidelines. The Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) enforces its regulations through fines. In fact, they increased their maximum penalties on Jan. 15, 2018. Companies now face fines of nearly $130,000 for willful violations of OSHA rules or standards.
OSHA Emergency Shower Requirements
There are two types of OSHA standards that focus on emergency showers and eye wash stations.
OSHA 29 CFR 1910.151(c) addresses the need for facilities to enable workers to flush themselves of corrosive materials via safety showers and eye wash stations. It states, “Where the eyes or body of any person may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials, suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body shall be provided within the work area for immediate emergency use."
Other standards address specific industries and the hazards associated with them. Facilities with open tanks must have an emergency safety shower (or an alternative) within easy reach. This covers dipping and coating applications. The pulp and paper industry must provide facilities to counteract lime or acid burns.
However, the OSHA emergency shower and eye wash station requirements do not specify details about their functionality or location. Instead, OSHA refers companies to ANSI/ISEA Z358.1-2014. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) adopted this standard to protect workers from eye injuries from caustic and corrosive substances.
Emergency Shower Requirements for Installation
The ANSI standard details installation requirements for emergency showers and eye wash stations.
Location of emergency safety showers must be on the same level as the potential hazard requiring their use. They must be free from obstructions and well-lit with clear signage to make it easy for people to find. Under no circumstances should it take longer than 10 seconds to move from the incident to the safety shower.
Safety shower flow rates must meet the need for sufficient flow of water to flush the affected area completely. Showers require a minimum supply of 20 gallons per minute at a pressure of 30 lbs. per square inch for at least 15 minutes. Eye washes require a minimum flow rate of 0.4 gallons per minute. Eye and face wash units must supply at least 3 gallons per minute.
ANSI also specifies water temperature requirements. Water supply must be in the tepid range of 60 to 100 F (16 to 38 C).
Emergency Shower Requirements for Servicing and Maintenance
The ANSI standard details servicing and maintenance requirements for emergency showers and eye wash stations.
Prevent a buildup of sediment by activating weekly to flush water through the system. For eye wash equipment, also check that there is an even flow between the two nozzles. Download our weekly activation test record to help keep track of weekly maintenance checks.
Annual inspections certify that the emergency safety shower remains compliant with the ANSI requirements. Validate water temperature, flow rate, location, operation, etc. on an annual basis. This will ensure the equipment is performing according to design and providing the right level of emergency relief. Hughes provides annual inspection services to help you maintain your emergency showers and eye wash stations.
Contact Hughes Safety Today to Meet Emergency Shower Requirements
Hughes offers an assortment of emergency safety showers and eye wash stations to comply with OSHA and ANSI requirements. Click here to see our available products. Contact us to receive expert advice for your safety shower installation.