Eye Wash and Shower Station

Eye Wash and Shower Station

EYE WASH STATION
EYE WASH AND SHOWER STATION

Why are emergency showers or eyewash stations important?

The first 10 to 15 seconds after exposure to a hazardous substance, especially a corrosive substance, are critical. Delaying treatment, even for a few seconds, may cause serious injury.

Emergency showers and eyewash stations provide on-the-spot decontamination. They allow workers to flush away hazardous substances that can cause injury.

Accidental chemical exposures can still occur even with good engineering controls and safety precautions. As a result, it is essential to look beyond the use of goggles, face shields, and procedures for using personal protective equipment. Emergency showers and eyewash stations are a necessary backup to minimize the effects of accident exposure to chemicals.

Emergency showers can also be used effectively in extinguishing clothing fires or for flushing contaminants off clothing.

How long should contact area be rinsed/flushed?

ANSI Z358.1-2014 does not specify how long the affected body part should be rinsed. It does specify that the equipment installed according to the standard be capable of providing flushing liquid for a minimum of 15 minutes.

However, other references recommend a minimum 20-minute flushing period if the nature of the contaminant is not known. The flushing or rinsing time can be modified if the identity and properties of the chemical are known. For example:

  • 5-minutes for non-irritants or mild irritants,
  • 15-20 minutes for moderate to severe irritants and chemicals that cause acute toxicity if absorbed through the skin,
  • 30 minutes for most corrosives, and
  • 60 minutes for strong alkalis (e.g., sodium, potassium or calcium hydroxide).

In all cases, if irritation persists, repeat the flushing procedure. It is important to get medical attention as soon as possible after first aid has been given. A physician familiar with procedures for treating chemical contamination of the eyes and body should be consulted.

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