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Eyewash/Shower – Focus on Portable Safety Equipment

“Purchasing safety equipment, while meeting crucial standards such as ANSI Z358.1-2014, can be a daunting task. As a designer and manufacturer of safety showers, eye washes and decontamination equipment, Hughes Safety Showers can guide you through the recommendations to ensure you have the correct equipment, in the right location on site to achieve compliance and protect the safety of your workforce.” Hughes, www.hughes-safety.com.

Portable emergency safety showers and face/eyewash stations are among the equipment types covered the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Eyewash and Drench Shower Standard (Z358.1-2014). Employees at temporary or remote worksites are entitled to speedy and effective first aid, the same as their counterparts at permanent facilities. Lack of access to a clean potable water supply or a power supply that can ensure the water remains at the required tempered level may present challenges, but not a basis for exemptions. Meeting the requirements of the standard with appropriate portable equipment can make a significant difference in the medical outcome if a worker’s eyes, face or skin have come into contact with hazardous chemicals. Severe injuries, permanent disability and even fatalities may be avoided, if portable emergency safety showers and face/eyewash stations are readily available and functioning at the performance level specified in the standard.

Where is portable emergency safety equipment needed?

The construction; oil and gas and utilities industries are among those who have portions of their workforces spend time at temporary or out-of-the-way locations. In these circumstances, just as in conventional facilities, keeping workers safe depends both upon implementing measure to prevent incidents and on being ready to respond if an incident does happen. Assessing the specific layout, dimensions and workforce size at a temporary worksite is the first step in selecting the right and the right amount of portable equipment that can be used to provide first aid to an employee who has been exposed to hazmat.

What to look for in portable equipment

The eyewash/emergency shower industry has developed technologically advanced equipment designed to provide first aid despite challenging conditions. Major manufacturers offer portable shower units that provide proximity response within 10 seconds of exposure and can drench water at 20 gallons per minute when connected to a water main by a hose. On sites where that option is not available, large portable units can be filled with potable water by hose and transported to the required location using the standard towing hitch provided. Features that are available in high-quality equipment include:

  • Tires that allow a portable shower cylinder to be easily moved around a site by an individual
  • A towing hitch that enables the equipment to be towed by a vehicle
  • Insulation and trace tape heating that cause the unit to deliver water heated at a safe level
  • Frost protection
  • An external, acid-resistant coating
  • The ability to fit an eye/face wash station or handheld eye, face and body shower hose to a portable shower unit

Other considerations

According to the ANSI standard, flushing equipment must be located in areas that are accessible within 10 seconds (roughly 55 feet). However, when highly corrosive chemicals are present, locating the flushing equipment closer to the hazard is a good idea. Additionally, make sure that the equipment is identified by a highly visible safety sign, that it is not blocked by obstructions and that it is in a well-lit area. WMHS

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