Where should emergency eye wash stations and showers be located?

Facilities must not only be equipped with the right emergency features, but they must be installed to provide employees with the quickest and greatest relief from contaminants.

OSHA refers to the ANSI/ISEA Z358 standard when to comes to addressing minimum selection, installation, operation, and maintenance requirements for eye wash equipment and emergency safety showers.

The first step in identifying these locations is to conduct a site evaluation to identify high-risk areas, potential hazards, and other emergency needs. Both eye wash stations and self-contained emergency showers must be installed within 55-feet from the hazard, a distance that should take no more than 10-seconds to reach. Equipment should be easily visible, and any debris removed so as to not obstruct the path of an injured employee. If highly corrosive chemicals are being used or stored, an emergency eye wash station or drench shower will need to be installed directly next to the hazard. Additionally, eyewash spray heads should be 6-inches away from the wall (at a minimum) to ensure workers have clear access to flush their eyes.

Types of Emergency Fixtures

Once the locations for emergency showers and eye wash stations have been selected, your next step is to assess the level of potential exposure and what fixtures will be necessary:

  • Emergency eye wash stations: Delivers an uninterrupted flow of water to both of the eyes; used in areas where splashes, dust, or debris is likely to affect just the eyes.
  • Emergency eye/face wash stations: Install where the entire face may be at risk; this fixture irrigates the eyes and face at the same time.
  • Drench showers: For when larger areas of the body are at risk for contamination; a combination shower and eyewash can be used to flush the eyes and rinse the body simultaneously.

Make Emergency Eye Wash Stations Visible

  • In the event of an emergency, it is absolutely imperative that eye wash and shower stations can be found immediately. The area around them should be well lit and a safety sign directing individuals to first aid equipment. The space directly below a drench shower or emergency eye wash station will need to be kept clear at all times—this can be achieved by using a combination of floor marking tape and floor signs placed around the equipment.

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