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ANSI Z358.1-2014: American National Standard for Emergency Eyewash and Shower Equipment

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ANSI Z358.1-2014 establishes minimum performance and use requirements for eyewash and shower equipment for the emergency treatment of the eyes or body of a person who has been exposed to hazardous materials. It covers the following types of equipment: emergency showers, eyewashes, eye/face washes and combination units. This standard also includes performance and use requirements for personal wash units and drench hoses, which are considered supplemental to emergency eyewash and shower equipment. This revision updates ANSI Z358.1-2009 and was prepared by the Emergency Eyewash and Shower Group of the International Safety Equipment Association, whose members are thoroughly knowledgeable in the design, installation and use of this important safety equipment.

Inadvertently coming into contact with toxic chemicals, corrosives, hydrochloric acid, ammonia and sulfuric acid can leave a worker with a serious burn injury or even a permanent disability, like blindness. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)’s Number of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses involving days away from work by event or exposure leading to injury or illness and selected natures of injury or illness, private industry[1], there were 9,180 incidents of exposure to harmful substance through skin, eyes or other exposed tissue in 2020. If an incident does occur and a worker’s eyes or body come into contact with hazmat, the timely use of emergency showers and eyewash stations can help prevent injuries or reduce the severity of injuries.

ANSI/ISEA Z358.1-2014, written and published by the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA), an ANSI-accredited standards developing organization, establishes minimum performance and use guidelines for eyewash and shower equipment for the emergency treatment of the eyes or body of someone who has been exposed to hazardous materials. Although OSHA’s 1910.151(c) regulation states that “suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body shall be provided” in work areas where employees may be exposed to injurious materials, the agency refers to ANSI Z358.1 as a source of guidance.

Key Provisions of the Standard

  • The standard covers emergency showers, eyewashes, eye/face washes and combination units. For all this equipment, the flushing liquid’s velocity and quantity should be controlled, and a control valve should be simple to operate and go from off to on in one second or less. The valve should also be resistant to corrosion.
  • Emergency showers and eyewashes should deliver tepid flushing fluid. However, there are certain circumstances in which a facilities safety/health advisor should be consulted for optimum temperature. Tepid fluid is considered 16-38 degrees Celsius (60-100 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • The shower or eyewash station should be highly visible and accessible, in a location that takes no more than ten seconds to reach.

Best Practices

  • In the event of hazardous material being splashed in the eye, the eye should immediately be flushed with gently flowing, potable water for at least 15 minutes.
  • The eye should be forcibly held open to ensure effective rinsing behind the eyelids, and the injured worker should move his or her eyes side-to-side and up and down during rinsing.
  • Contact lenses should be removed.
  • In the event of hazardous material coming into contact with the skin, the affected area should be thoroughly rinsed with water for at least 15 minutes.
  • Contaminated clothing should be removed and safely disposed of.
  • In both cases, medical treatment should be sought after emergency procedures are completed.

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