Emergency Washing Facilities
Emergency washing facilities are required where there is a potential of eye or body
exposure to corrosives, strong irritants, or toxic chemicals. Emergency washing facilities
must be readily available and accessible. (WAC 296-800-15030)
- Corrosives are substances that can cause destruction of living tissue by chemical action (e.g. acids with a pH=2.5 or less, caustics with a pH=11 or greater).
- Strong irritants cause a strong temporary inflammatory effect on tissue at the site of contact.
- Toxic chemicals produce a serious injury or illness by absorption through any body surface.
- Eyewash stations should provide a soft stream of water not less than 0.4 gallons per minute (1.5 liters per minute) for at least fifteen minutes.
- Eyewash stations shall be designed to provide enough room to allow the eyelids to be held open with the hands while the eyes are in the stream of water. The eyewash must irrigate and flush both eyes simultaneously while the operator holds they eyes open. The on-off valve must be activated in one second or less and must remain on without the use of the operator's hands until intentionally turned off.(ANSI Z358.1-1998)
- Prompt medical attention is important regardless of the severity of the injury. If necessary, call 911 (on campus).
- Chemical splashes may impair vision, so laboratory workers should memorize the location of all eyewash stations in their area.
- The emergency shower must deliver water to cascade over the user's entire body at a minimum flow rate of twenty gallons (75.7 liters) per minute for fifteen minutes or more.
- All workers should know how to use and the location of all safety showers in their area.
- After the shower is used, the victim should remove contaminated clothing, put on dry clothes and seek medical attention.
- Hand-held drench hoses are single-headed emergency washing devices connected to flexible hose and can be used to irrigate and flush the face or other parts of the body.
- Hand-held drench hoses can supplement but not replace eyewash stations or emergency showers.
- Hand-held drench hoses must deliver at least three gallons (11.4 liters) of water per minute for fifteen minutes or more.
- To be readily available and accessible, eyewash stations and emergency showers must be free of obstruction and require no more than ten seconds to reach.
- The travel distance should be no farther than fifty feet (15.25 meters).
- Access to each unit should be accessible without needing to open a door "that can be locked" or "with a locking mechanism".
- Plumbed emergency eyewash stations and drench hoses must be activated once per week to check for proper operation. If it does not appear to work properly, call Facilities Services for maintenance, 685-1900.
- Emergency showers are tested by Facilities Services annually. Maintenance ensures that the valve is operating properly, debris is flushed from the plumbing, and flow is sufficient (30 gallons per minute).