When splashed with hazardous chemicals, the longest it should take anyone to reach an emergency shower and eyewash station is 10 seconds. That’s hardly any time - about as long as it takes to turn on the tap and fill a glass with water or tie your shoes. While 10 seconds isn’t very long, it’s the maximum amount of time it should take an injured person to get to emergency safety shower.
Every second longer increases the intensity of the burn. Every delay causes more severe damage to body tissue, eyes, or skin.
OSHA sets regulations to make sure workers receive immediate relief from chemical burns. They enforce these regulations through fines. Companies face fines of nearly $130,000 for willful violations of OSHA rules or standards.
What are the OSHA Emergency Shower Requirements?
There are two types of OSHA standards that focus on emergency showers and eyewash 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 associated hazards. For instance, the pulp and paper industry must provide emergency shower and eyewash stations to counteract lime or acid burns. Facilities with open tanks need emergency safety showers within easy reach. This covers dipping and coating applications.
But, OSHA emergency shower requirements do not specify on functionality or location of safety shower equipment. Instead, OSHA refers companies to ANSI/ISEA Z358.1-2014. Meeting this standard is vital to protect workers from serious injuries from caustic and corrosive substances.
What are the OSHA Emergency Shower Requirements for Installation?
ANSI Z358.1 details installation requirements for safety showers and eye wash equipment.
Location of emergency showers and eyewash stations must be on the same level as the potential hazard requiring their use. They must be free from obstructions and well-lit. Use clear, concise signage in a highly visible color, to make it easy for people to find. It should never take longer than 10 seconds (approximately 55 feet or 16.8 meters) to move from the incident to the safety shower.
Flow rates of emergency shower equipment 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 need a flow rate of at least 0.4 gallons per minute. Face/eyewash should 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).
All Justrite emergency shower and eyewash stations comply with the ANSI standard.
What are the OSHA Emergency Shower Requirements for Servicing and Maintenance?
ANSI Z358 also defines the servicing and maintenance requirements for emergency showers and eyewash 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. To help meet these emergency shower requirements, download our weekly activation test record.
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 makes sure the equipment is performing how it should and providing the right level of emergency relief.
Free ANSI Tech Guide Helps Meet OSHA Emergency Shower Requirements
The ANSI Z358 standard can be complicated, but our free ANSI tech guide can help. Download today to make sure your emergency shower and eyewash stations meet safety shower requirements.