5 Compliance Requirements to Test Weekly for Emergency Safety Showers and Eyewash Stations

How often should safety showers be checked? How do you test an emergency shower or eyewash station?

These are important questions to ask, because emergency drench showers and eyewashes are crucial for minimizing the effects of exposure to hazardous materials in the workplace. Every second counts in the event of exposure, and a non-compliant safety shower or eyewash could be the difference between life or death for an injured worker. Also, companies are liable to be hit with hefty OSHA fines if they don’t maintain compliance.

OSHA requires that emergency showers and eyewashes be available when workers are working with corrosive materials, as stated on their website: “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.” While OSHA doesn’t set specific standards for emergency showers and eyewashes, they point to ANSI to define what “suitable facilities” means.

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) sets requirements for these emergency devices, mandating their accessibility within 10 seconds of an incident. Yet, many safety showers and eyewashes are currently out of compliance with ANSI regulations, creating greater risk for worker injuries and leaving employers open to penalties and fines from OSHA. According to a study done by a large emergency equipment manufacturer, approximately 88% of emergency showers and eyewash stations are not in full compliance with standards detailed in ANSI/ISEA Z358.1–2014.

How often to test emergency safety showers and eyewash stations

ANSI/ISEA Z358 mandates that activations and testing be done on a weekly basis to visually check that emergency showers and eyewashes are operating correctly, as well as to flush the plumbing so that water does not stagnate.

One of the biggest reasons that so many showers and eyewashes are out of compliance is because weekly activations and testing are not being conducted. We commonly hear of employers struggling to meet these requirements, since testing emergency showers and eyewashes can be a painstakingly slow and messy process. That’s why we created the easiest-to-use testing equipment on the market.

When conducting weekly activations, there are five important compliance requirements that are important to check if your safety showers and eyewash stations meet.

Compliance requirements to inspect during weekly testing

Mechanical Performance

Emergency safety showers and eyewash stations rely on various mechanical components to deliver water promptly and effectively during emergency situations. Valves, levers, and activation mechanisms must be fully operational and free of obstructions. Any malfunction in these parts can cause delays in water flow, compromising decontamination efforts and potentially exacerbating injuries.

During weekly testing, it is essential to conduct a thorough inspection of all mechanical components, ensuring their functionality and addressing any issues promptly.

Water Clarity

The clarity of the water flowing from emergency safety showers and eyewash stations is paramount to ensure proper decontamination. Contaminated water can worsen injuries and introduce additional hazards to the affected individual. During weekly testing, activate the unit and observe the stream for any discoloration, cloudiness, or foreign particles.

If the water appears murky or contaminated, immediate action must be taken to flush the system and address the underlying issues. Regular monitoring of water clarity helps maintain the effectiveness of emergency decontamination procedures and ensures the safety of employees.

Spray Diameter

According to ANSI/ISEA Z358.1–2014 standards, the spray pattern from emergency safety showers and eyewash stations must meet specific size requirements to ensure adequate coverage for the eyes, face, and body of the affected individual. At a height of 60 inches above the floor, the water pattern should have a diameter of at least 20 inches. This ensures comprehensive coverage, allowing for effective decontamination in emergency situations.

During weekly testing, it is essential to utilize a measuring device to confirm that the spray pattern meets this standard. Adjustments may be necessary to ensure optimal coverage and compliance with regulatory requirements.

Flow Rate

An adequate flow rate is essential to deliver a sufficient volume of water for effective irrigation and decontamination during an emergency. ANSI/ISEA Z358.1–2014 mandates minimum water pressure and flow rate requirements to ensure optimal performance of emergency safety showers and eyewash stations. Plumbed emergency drench showers and eyewashes require a minimum water pressure of 30 pounds per square inch (PSI), with typical facilities supplying their fixtures with at least 45 PSI inlet supply pressure. Additionally, the standard specifies minimum flow rates of at least 20 gallons per minute (GPM) for drench showers and 0.4 GPM for eyewashes.

Insufficient flow rates can impede the decontamination process, potentially delaying treatment and increasing the risk of injury to affected individuals. Therefore, regular monitoring of flow rates is essential to maintain the functionality of emergency safety showers and eyewash stations.

Water Temperature

Maintaining an appropriate water temperature is critical to prevent further injury and enhance the comfort of the affected individual during decontamination. ANSI/ISEA Z358.1–2014 defines tepid water as ranging from 60–100°F (15.6–37.8°C). Lukewarm (tepid) water is required for the full 15-minute flush, as it encourages affected users to continue flushing for the entire duration. Fluid that is too cold or too hot can deter flushing for the full 15 minutes and may exacerbate bodily injuries or chemical interactions with the eyes and skin.

Testing water temperature during weekly activations for emergency safety showers and eyewash stations is crucial to ensuring that emergency procedures will be effective when used.

Easy and effective testing

Our Green Gobbler Safety products are designed to help you stay in full compliance, without the pain and mess that traditional testing kits bring. The Safety Shower Test Cart can be quickly used in weekly activations to test water clarity, spray diameter, flow rate, and water temperature. Similarly, our eyewash testing kits enable you to easily test for compliance as well.

Transform the way you test safety showers and eyewash stations and easily ensure you’re staying in full compliance with ANSI requirements for compliance.

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