19.1. General Information.
This chapter addresses selection, acquisition, location, installation, maintenance, testing, and use of emergency shower and eyewash units. Also included are performance specifications for both permanently-installed and self-contained units. Types of equipment covered are emergency showers, eyewash units, eye and face units, combination units, hand-held drench hoses, and eyewash bottles. There is minimal coverage of this subject in OSHA standards and most of the information in this standard is derived from ANSI Standard Z358.1, Emergency Eyewash and Shower Equipment.
19.1.1. Hazards and Human Factors. Protection of the eyes and face in the industrial environment is important. The best means of protection is to engineer hazards out of the job so the worker is not exposed. If this is not possible, safety goggles and face shields need to be worn. Eyewash units, eye and face units, deluge showers and other similar devices are emergency equipment and not a substitute or alternative for personal protective equipment. Injuries may be caused by exposure to chemicals, by materials thrown from equipment or machinery, and when substances are propelled with sufficient velocity to be injurious. Other injuries, particularly to the face and eyes, may occur when harmful liquids are sprayed, squirted, splashed, splattered, dropped, or dipped.
19.1.2. OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.151, Medical Services and First Aid, states: “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.”
19.1.3. OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.268, Telecommunications, states: “Eye protection devices which provide side as well as frontal eye protection for employees shall be provided when measuring storage battery specific gravity or handling electrolyte, and the employer shall ensure that such devices are used by the employees. The workplace supervisor shall also ensure that acid resistant gloves and aprons shall be worn for protection against spattering. Facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body shall be provided unless the storage batteries are of the enclosed type and equipped with explosion proof vents, in which case sealed water rinse or neutralizing packs may be substituted for the quick drenching or flushing facilities. Employees assigned to work with storage batteries shall be instructed in emergency procedures such as dealing with accidental acid spills.”
19.1.4. OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1926.441, Batteries and Battery Charging (Subpart K, Electrical) states: “Facilities for quick drenching of the eyes and body shall be provided within 25 feet of battery handling areas.” This is a limited OSHA requirement applicable only to the construction industry. For consistency, Prairie View A&M University will use a uniform 10-second distance criteria for all work situations. Refer to paragraph 19.6.
19.2. Effective Dates.
The criteria in this standard are effective as of the publishing date of the standard. Any installation of emergency shower or eyewash units, construction and (or) renovation projects, and system design projects after the date of this publication will conform to this standard. Those previously installed units that do not meet the criteria of this standard will be evaluated by Environmental Health & Safety Department personnel. In areas where students or employees are exposed to severe hazards, the units will be brought into compliance with this standard. If employee exposure is minimal, existing units may be used until there is a need to replace or modify them.
Each supervisor is responsible for ensuring that emergency showers and eyewashes are provided, inspected, tested, and maintained according to this standard. As a minimum, emergency showers and (or) eyewashes will be provided in those areas specifically designated in paragraph 19.1. Careful consideration will be exercised in requiring emergency showers and (or) eyewashes in areas other than those identified. Evaluations for each request for emergency showers and (or) eyewashes will be made by the Environmental Health & Safety Department to determine the need for the installation of units. The type of material used, its properties, how the material is dispensed, probability of injury, extent of potential injury, and personal protective equipment (PPE) available and used are a few of the issues which will be considered prior to determining the need for the units. Emergency showers and eyewashes are NOT a substitute for personal protective equipment and personnel will use proper PPE when required.
19.4.Eye Wash Equipment:
19.4.1. Permanently-installed shower and eyewash units provide the best emergency protection for personnel whose eyes or body have been exposed to hazardous materials. Self-contained units and eyewash bottles, at best, offer minimum protection and their use will be restricted to the provisions of paragraphs 19.4.3. through 19.4.5. and then only with approval of the EHS Department.
19.4.2. Hand-held drench hoses support shower and eyewash units but do not replace them. They can be used in cases where the user is in an awkward position physically or to reach parts
of the face or body that are inaccessible to the fixed stream of the shower or eyewash. Eyes are usually washed with a spent stream which is accomplished by holding the hose up and washing the eye at the point where the stream has a minimum pressure.
19.4.3. Self-contained units provide minimum employee protection and will only be used when approved by the EHS Department. The following situations warrant considering these units:
18.104.22.168. As an interim fix, pending installation of a permanently-installed unit.
22.214.171.124. If the employee is exposed to irritants rather than substances that could damage the eye.
126.96.36.199. In temporary locations where a permanent installation would not be economically feasible or may not be possible.
188.8.131.52. In field operations, such as maintenance jobs across campus, grounds maintenance or any place out of the norm where a source of potable water is not available.
19.4.4. Eyewash bottles are not a replacement for other type units. An eyewash bottle may be kept in the immediate vicinity where employees are working on extremely hazardous operations. These units supply immediate flushing, and with this accomplished, the individual may then proceed or be helped to a permanently-installed or self-contained unit and flush the eyes more thoroughly.
19.4.5. Personnel working in remote areas where eyewash facilities are not readily available could be exposed to dust, fuels, solvents, and other materials that if blown or splashed into the eyes are not normally injurious but will definitely be an irritant. A quick flushing of the eyes is usually very beneficial prior to medical treatment and vehicles supporting such operations should be equipped with eyewash bottles or other means of flushing the eyes.