Safety showers and eyewash stations are designed to help keep your employees safe by providing on-the-spot first aid treatment after contact with hazardous chemicals in the case of the eyes, and debris.
Any facility that works with dangerous materials should conduct risk assessments to decide where the shower and eyewash stations need to be placed to remain compliant and helpful to employees.
What is a Safety Shower?
A safety shower is a piece of safety equipment that is designed to wash away chemicals that have come in contact with the skin or clothes as a result of a chemical splash or spill that occurs. They are then used to flush away the hazard from the affected worker.
In order to wash away the corrosive material, the worker has to be able to get to the shower unobstructed within 10 seconds. In addition, the safety shower must allow between 70-80 litres of tepid water to flow each minute.
What is an Eyewash Station?
An emergency eyewash station is a portable or permanent station used to flush the eyes after contamination. These stations let workers flush their eyes within seconds of exposure and this will allow for less likelihood of permanent eye injury.
The equipment should provide flushing for a minimum of 15 minutes and the velocity of the flush should not harm the eyes.
Do You Need a Separate or Combined Shower/ Eyewash Unit
In some work areas, hazards may be limited to the worker’s face and eyes, or only the body, so a separate eye or eye and face wash station or a separate emergency shower may be appropriate.
However, the combined device can simultaneously flow to any part of the body or the whole body, making it the most protective and therefore recommended device. A combination device can also be useful in situations where the worker cannot follow instructions due to pain, shock or fear.
If your workplace has or is considering using a combination shower/eye wash basin, it is important that both elements of the unit can be used at the same time without a drop in water pressure in aspect, to ensure that it complies with AS775 and is sufficiently safe.
Where Should Safety Showers & Eyewashes Be Installed?
According to Australian Standard AS775, safety showers and eyewashes must not be more than 10 seconds away from identified hazards. They must be level with the threat and the path between the two must be unobstructed.
The safety washing point must be clearly distinguishable by signs and green light, and the surroundings must be well-lit.
All employees must know exactly where the safety wash stations are located and how to use them. Regular first aid training and training in the maintenance of the shower is also vital for supervisors and workers.
If you need help with your safety shower, Australia, Spill Station can offer audits of your workplace to find and identify any risks and help you find where the Safety Shower should be installed. Read more about Spill Station here.
What Are the Compliance Requirements?
Safety showers and eyewash stations must comply with the Australian Standard AS4775.
Here are the requirements your safety shower and eyewash stations need to comply with.
· The minimum flow rate for an emergency shower must be 75.5 L/min for at least 15 minutes.
· The above rate also applies to showers in combination units.
· Unplumbed or portable eyewash units must flow at 1.5L/min for at least 15 minutes.
· Plumbed eyewash stations must flow at 11.4L/min for 15 minutes.
· The shower must use tepid water.
· If your shower is outside and the weather conditions can affect the water temperature, they should be scald-safe.
· You must be able to travel to the shower unobstructed within 10 seconds or 15 meters.
· The nozzles on the eyewash should be protected from airborne contaminants.
· The eyewash design must allow for eyelids to be held open while eyes are flushed.
· The area around the safety unit should be illuminated and with appropriate signage.
· Equipment must be tested weekly and inspected for compliance annually.
With all the information above, you now have all the basic information about safety showers in hand. If you think your workplace safety showers need to be updated, or an audit completed, contact Spill Station now.
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