No workplaces or industries are void of danger. Despite safety measures, exposure to potential workplace hazards such as chemical splash, welding sparks, metal shavings or fine particulates can occur. Receiving immediate and proper treatment in the first 10 seconds following exposure can be key to minimizing serious injury. Emergency shower and eyewash stations help protect workers when an incident occurs.

Having emergency shower and eyewash stations that comply with ANSI guidelines is vital to meeting the requirements of International and European standards. Recognized worldwide, the American National ANSI Z358.1-2014 standard is the most comprehensive. It provides minimum requirements for design, installation, maintenance and inspection of emergency safety shower stations and emergency eye wash stations. Important elements of ANSI Z358.1 include:

ANSI Requirements: Location of Emergency Shower and Eyewash Stations

The first few seconds after a person is exposed to hazardous chemicals are critical. The longer the substance remains on the skin, the more damage occurs. To meet the ANSI Z358 requirements, the emergency shower and eyewash station must be within 10 seconds reach from where an accident occurs. That’s approximately 55 feet. The emergency safety equipment should also be installed on the same level as a potential hazard.

Keep the path to the emergency shower and eyewash station unobstructed, In case vision is affected. Locate the safety shower and eye wash equipment in a clearly visible, well-lit position.

ANSI Requirements: Flow Rates for Emergency Shower and Eyewash Stations

Emergency showers must flow at a minimum rate of 20 US gallons (76 liters) of potable water per minute, for 15 minutes. This ensures enough time to remove contaminated clothing and rinse any chemical residue.

Likewise, emergency eyewashes must deliver at least 3 US gallons (11.4 liters) per minute, for 15 minutes. This ensures a thorough decontamination.

ANSI Requirements: Operation for Emergency Shower and Eyewash Stations

Even with impaired vision, emergency shower and eyewash stations must be easy to access and operate. The control valves must switch from ‘off’ to ‘on’ in one second or less. These valves should be designed so the flushing flow remains on without the use of the operator’s hands.

ANSI Requirements: Water Temperature for Emergency Shower and Eyewash Stations

ANSI Z358 requires emergency shower and eyewash stations to provide tepid water in the range of 60 F to 100 F (16 C to 38 C). Temperatures that exceed this range can scald the injured person and cause a higher rate of chemical absorption by the skin. Lower temperatures can lead to hypothermia or thermal shock. The affected person is less likely to remove their contaminated clothing in cold water, thus prolonging exposure to the chemical substance.

Meeting the ANSI Z358 temperature requirements is important to ensuring a worker’s safety. If the water temperature is uncomfortable, it’s natural human behavior to step out of the safety shower before the full 15 minutes is up. This reduces the rinsing effectiveness and increases the chance of injury due to hazardous chemical burns.

ANSI Eye Wash and Safety Shower Requirements – Get in the Know

Confused about ANSI? We can help! Download this free Tech Guide to the ANSI Z358 standard.

Protect Your Workers with Justrite Emergency Shower and Eyewash Stations

Emergencies occur all the time in workplaces across the country. According to the CDC, approximately 2000 U.S. workers sustain eye injuries on the job each day. Justrite’s workplace safety solutions includes a range of emergency safety eye/face washes and showers, suitable for many applications and climates. Contact our professional consultants to discuss the best solution for your needs.