Choosing safety showers (emergency showers) and eyewash showers (eyewashes) often causes many problems. When designing a water supply system supplying emergency equipment, in addition to solving hydraulic problems, it is necessary to comply with occupational health and safety regulations. Currently, in Poland, the requirements for rescue devices connected to the water supply system are included in the PN-EN 15154-1, PN-EN 15154-2, PN-EN 15154-5 standards. In the absence of specific regulations for the installation of safety showers in industrial plants, the American standard ANSI Z358.1 "Emergency showers and eye washers" may be a reference point. This standard provides universally accepted guidelines for the proper selection, installation and maintenance of rescue equipment. To help you understand the provisions of this standard, we present its most important points. This list can be used as a starting point for the development of eyewash systems, eyewashes and safety showers.
General rules for using eyewashes and safety showers
Situations in which eyewashes and safety showers should be used are described in the general occupational health and safety regulations in the Journal of Laws, Journal of Laws. 2002 No. 91 item 811. Safety showers for washing the entire body and separate showers for washing the eyes (eyewashes) should be installed in places where the employee may be exposed to hazardous substances or the employee's clothing may catch on fire.
Place of installation of safety showers and eye washers
Guidelines for the installation of safety showers are included in the PN EN 15154-5 standard
- distance from the chemical hazard point to the shower less than 20 m, time to reach the shower less than 10 seconds
- route to the shower without stairs or ramps, without obstacles along the route, potential obstacles include partition walls, doors, steps, corridors, etc.
- devices placed in a clearly visible and easily recognizable place and, if possible, on a route regularly traveled by workers, inside the hazardous area
- devices should be easily accessible from three sides
An eyewash, a shower for rinsing the body, or maybe an eyewash with a safety shower – what to choose?
Each of these devices was designed for different purposes and performs different functions. The devices do not replace each other, but complement each other. You cannot wash your eyes or face using the safety shower because the strong stream from the shower could damage the irritated, delicate facial skin. On the other hand, it is difficult to wash a dangerous substance from the body, e.g. from the back, using an eyewash.
Typically, you will need an eyewash with a safety shower. This set will come in handy when the face or other parts of the body suffer damage as a result of an accident. Examples of combined devices:
• Elipsa 4250 – free-standing safety shower with eyewash
• Elipsa 4285 – safety shower with eyewash mounted to the wall
Independent showers, e.g. Elipsa 1110 for rinsing the entire body without an eyewash, are usually used in places where a fire may occur and are intended to extinguish clothing burning on an employee. More about safety showers in the Safety showers tab PN EN 15154-5.
In turn, stand-alone eye washers, e.g. Elipsa 2210, are usually used in places where there are small amounts of hazardous substances and it is assumed that in a potential accident only the face may be damaged. More about eyewashes in the Eyewashes tab.
An intermediate solution between combined devices and eyewashes is an eyewash with a manual shower - e.g. Elipsa 2230.
Eye washers mounted to the wall or free-standing?
Wall-mounted models are a convenient solution. Such devices do not take up space on the floor and make it easier to keep the floor clean. Eye washers with safety showers mounted to the wall, e.g. Elipsa 4285, are equipped with wall system brackets that facilitate their installation.
If there is no wall to which a shower or eyewash can be mounted, we have floor-mounted models:
• Elipsa 1120 – free-standing safety shower
• Elipsa 2220 – free-standing eyewash
• Elipsa 4220 – safety shower with eyewash, free-standing
Water supply - eye washers
Eyewashers and safety showers must be connected to a system that ensures an uninterrupted supply of water with the capacity indicated in the catalog cards of the devices used. The minimum water pressure is 2 bar, the maximum allowable pressure is 8 bar. Elipsa eyewash valves and safety showers are equipped with flow regulators that maintain a constant water flow regardless of the network water pressure.
Depending on the location of the water installation and the method of its implementation, attention should be paid to protection against overheating by thermal radiation or the risk of freezing. The water temperature must not be harmful to the user, scalds or hypothermia must be prevented.
Temperature of water supplying eyewashes and safety showers
The temperature of water supplying rescue devices is specified in the standards:
• PN-EN 15154-1 Safety showers (emergency showers) in the laboratory
• PN-EN 15154-2 Eye washers (eyewashes) connected to the water supply
• PN-EN 15154-5 Safety showers (emergency showers) for the body with an overhead shower for places other than laboratories
The comfortable temperature of mixed water is +25 degrees Celsius. Elipsa thermostatic valves have been designed specifically for mixing water for eyewashes and safety showers. More about thermostatic valves in the Thermostatic valves for eyewashes tab
Safety showers draining water
Flushing hazardous substances should take at least 15 minutes. With a safety shower capacity of 110 l/min, we receive 1,650 liters of waste water that needs to be disposed of. In the shower, the floor should slope towards the sewage grate.
Used water from eye washers is usually discharged into the sewage system through a siphon, e.g. Elipsa 2210 S - eye wash with a siphon.
In cases where used water may contain hazardous substances that cannot be discharged directly into the sewage system, a neutralizer or septic tank should be designed.
If the devices are to be installed outdoors or in unheated rooms, choose models that are factory-protected against freezing. We have three ways to protect against frost:
• devices heated with a heating cable, e.g. safety shower with eyewash Elipsa 795 7917
• devices with valves buried in the ground below the frost zone, e.g. Elipsa 4223
• devices installed in unheated rooms/outdoors with valves located in the heated room, e.g. Elipsa 2210 FP and Elipsa 1110 FP
Errors in the design of eyewash safety showers
The most common error occurring in projects, which cost estimators and contractors then struggle with, is the use of the word eyewash in relation to all types of devices, regardless of whether it is an eyewash only, a safety shower or a combined device consisting of an eyewash and safety shower. A set consisting of an eyewash with a safety shower costs three times as much as the eyewash itself. If the project ambiguously describes a device dedicated to the investor's requirements and the cost estimator takes into account the price of the eyewash only (in a situation where the designer had in mind an eyewash with a safety shower), the contractor will have an underestimated price three times from the very beginning.
The next error that is revealed during the implementation of the investment is the omission in the project of the information that eye washers and safety showers should be supplied with mixed water at a temperature of + 25 degrees C. The contractor buys an eye wash in accordance with the project, connects it to the cold water installation - and the investor refuses to accept it demanding that the requirements of the standard be met and rightly requires that mixed water flows from the eyewash at a temperature consistent with the standard. Then begins the unnecessary reconstruction of the water supply system and the search for a suitable mixing valve. A dispute arises as to who should bear the additional costs of rebuilding the installation or supplying additional elements/devices.
To prevent the above problems, at the design stage it is enough to precisely name the rescue device, describe in detail the functions that the devices are to have, select an appropriate thermostatic valve, design a hot and cold water installation with appropriate capacity and a waste water disposal installation.
American legal acts
In order to ensure healthy and safe working conditions for employees, the Occupational Health and Safety Act was passed in 1970. Under this act, the Department of Labor (OSHA) was authorized to adopt safety standards and regulations to fulfill its mandate to improve occupational safety. OSHA has adopted a number of regulations that address the use of safety showers and eyewash showers. The original regulations are found in the Code of Federal Regulations 29 CFR 1910.151, which required that...
"... in workplaces where an employee's eyes or body may be exposed to the harmful effects of aggressive materials, appropriate devices should be provided for quick rinsing and washing of the eyes and body, ready for immediate use in emergencies..."
ANSI Z358.1 standard
The regulations issued by OSHA regarding emergency equipment are not clear because they do not define what "adequate devices for rapid rinsing and rinsing of eyes and body" are. To supplement guidance for employers, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has provided voluntary standards for eyewashes and emergency showers. The standard - ANSI-Z358.1 - contains guidelines for the proper design, installation, operation and maintenance of rescue equipment.
The standard - ANSI-Z358.1 was adopted in 1981, then revised in 1990, 1998 and again in 2004. The guidelines quoted below are based on the 2004 version of the standard.
ANSI Z358.1-2004 provides regulations for the design, construction, installation, operation, and maintenance of various types of emergency equipment (showers, eyewash showers, hand-held hose showers, etc.). In addition to specific regulations, there are general rules that apply to all emergency devices. These principles are not part of the standard, but we believe they should be taken into account when considering ensuring safe working conditions.
First aid equipment
Eyewash devices (eyewashes) and safety showers (showers) are designed to quickly mitigate the effects of an accident with hazardous substances by providing large volumes of water to rinse contaminants from the eyes, face and entire body. As such, they are a type of first aid device intended to be used in the event of an accident. However, they do not replace basic personal protective equipment (including eye and face protection, protective clothing). They will not replace procedures for safe handling of hazardous materials.
Simply installing rescue equipment is not enough to ensure employee safety. Employees must be trained in the proper use of emergency equipment and know its location. To ensure reliable operation, safety showers and eyewashes must be maintained regularly (including operation once a week). Emergency devices should be inspected for compliance with ANSI Z358.1-2004 at least annually.
The employer should develop procedures to deal with in the event of a crisis.
An essential element of the action plan should be to provide first aid to the injured person as quickly as possible.
We recommend installing alarm systems on all emergency equipment. Alarm systems are activated when the eyewash or safety shower is activated. We offer a wide selection of systems for calling for help and notifying emergency services about an accident. For additional information, please call 58 305 19 52.
Location of rescue equipment
The ANSI standard stipulates that rescue equipment must be installed in a location that can be reached from the emergency within 10 seconds. The devices must be installed at the same level as the potential hazardous area (access to the devices does not require climbing stairs or a ramp). The path connecting danger points with life-saving facilities should be free from obstructions and as straight as possible.
There are certain circumstances in which these guidelines may not be sufficient.
For example, when workers deal with particularly strong acids, bases or other hazardous substances where the consequences of a leak would be very serious - in these situations, rescue equipment should be installed immediately close to the potential point of danger.
Working conditions in the laboratory should also be considered particularly carefully. In buildings where laboratories are located, it is common to install rescue equipment (safety showers and eyewash showers) in the corridor or vestibule, outside the laboratory room. Although this complies with the provisions of the standard, it does not provide workers with immediate access to rescue equipment. In such cases, we recommend installing manual eye wash showers (eyewashes on a flexible hose) mounted in the laboratory table (Ellipsa 3120, Elipsa 3130 models). These devices are easily available and universal in use. They provide the ability to immediately rinse your eyes, face or other body parts after an accident.
Temperature of water supplying safety showers
The standard (2004 version) states that the temperature of water supplied by rescue equipment should be "lukewarm" (moderately warm). However, if there is a risk that the chemical reaction may be accelerated by hot water, the optimal water temperature should be consulted with the medical service.
Providing lukewarm water to safety showers may require solving many technical problems (producing hot water, maintaining temperature, circulation, etc.). This always involves the need to supply both hot and cold water to the device and install a valve that mixes the water and maintains the desired temperature.
Drainage of used water
The ANSI Z358.1-2004 standard does not contain any provisions for the discharge of water from eyewash or emergency showers. However, it is the designer's job to consider what will happen to the water after using safety showers. In particular, you should pay attention to whether the used water will pose a threat (e.g. by creating a puddle in which someone may slip).
Elipsa eyewash showers have a drain adapted for connection to the sewage system. Safety showers for rinsing the whole body do not have connections to the sewage system, used water should be drained through a floor drain.
Used water after washing the eyes or rinsing the body may contain hazardous materials that should not or cannot be discharged into the sanitary sewage system. In such a case, the used water should be disposed of through neutralization installations.
Showers (safety showers)
This list is a selection of the ANSI Z358.1-2004 regulations for emergency showers. All Elipsa safety showers meet the requirements of the ANSI Z358.1-2004 standard.
Section 4.2 The shower valve can be opened in one second or less. Once activated, it remains permanently open.
Section 4.1.4, 4.5.5
The flow from the shower should be 75.7 liters of water per minute. The connection should guarantee the flow of at least 75.7 liters of water per minute for 15 minutes.
Section 4.1.2, 4.5.4 The shower head should be between 208 cm and 244 cm above the floor.
Section 4.2 The handle of the spray actuation cable should be located no more than 173 cm above the floor.
Section 4.5.2 The safety shower must be installed in a location that can be reached from the hazardous area within 10 seconds. The devices must be installed at the same level as the hazardous location. The path connecting the place of danger with the life-saving facilities should be free from obstructions and as straight as possible.
Section 4.5.6 The temperature of water supplied by lifesaving equipment should be lukewarm, moderately warm.
Section 4.6.4 Employees should be trained in the proper use of safety showers and their location should be indicated.
Section 4.6.2 Equipment should be run once a week.
Section 4.6.5 Inspect the safety shower for compliance with the standard once a year.
Section 4.5.3 Mark the shower location with a clearly visible health and safety sign. (Ellipsa adds a health and safety sign to each safety shower). The installation site of the device should be well lit.
Showers for washing eyes and face (eyewashes)
This list is a selection of the ANSI Z358.1-2004 regulations for eye and face wash showers. All Elipsa eye and face wash showers meet the requirements of the ANSI Z358.1-2004 standard.
Section 6.1.1 The flow of water from the shower heads should be gentle and ensure complete rinsing of the eyes and face.
Section 6.1.6, 6.4.5 The flow from the heads shall be 11.4 liters of water per minute. The connection should guarantee the flow of at least 11.4 liters of water per minute for 15 minutes.
The discharge heads of the eyewash should be at a height of 84 cm to 114 cm from the floor and at least 15 cm from the nearest wall or obstacle.
Section 6.1.3 Heads should be protected from dust and other airborne contaminants.
Section 6.1.4, 6.2 The valve can be opened in one second or less. Once activated, it remains permanently open.
Section 6.4.5 The connection shall be capable of flowing at least 11.4 liters of water per minute for 15 minutes.
Section 6.4.2 Eye and face wash facilities must be installed in a location that can be reached from the point of emergency within 10 seconds. The devices must be installed at the same level as the potential hazard. The path connecting the place of danger with the life-saving facilities should be free from obstructions and as straight as possible.
Section 6.4.6 The temperature of water supplied by lifesaving equipment should be lukewarm, moderately warm.
Section 6.5.4 Employees should be trained in the proper use of lifesaving devices and their location should be indicated.
Section 6.5.2 Run eye and face washes once a week.
Section 6.5.5 Inspect eye and face wash facilities annually for compliance with the standard.
Section 6.4.3 Mark the location of equipment with a clearly visible health and safety sign. (Ellipsa adds a health and safety sign to each safety shower). This place should be well lit
Combination sets (emergency showers with eye washers)
This list is a selection of ANSI Z358.1-2004 regulations for combination sets (combined devices). All Elipsa combination kits meet the requirements of ANSI Z358.1-2004.
Section 4.1.4, 4.5.5, 7.4.4
The connection should guarantee an uninterrupted flow of water in the quantities required by the simultaneous use of an emergency shower and eye and face wash showers.
Section 4.2 Valves must open in one second or less. Once activated, they remain permanently open.
Section 4.1.2, 4.5.4 The shower head should be between 208 cm and 244 cm above the floor.
Section 4.1.4, 4.5.5 The flow from the shower should be 75.7 liters of water per minute, for 15 minutes.
Section 4.2 The handle of the spray actuation cable should be located no more than 173 cm above the floor.
Section 6.4.4 Eyewash heads should be between 84 cm and 114 cm from the floor
Section 6.1.3 Eyewash discharge heads should be protected from dust and other airborne contaminants.
Section 6.1.6, 6.4.5 The flow from the shower heads shall be 11.4 liters of water per minute for 15 minutes.
Eye and face wash showers must be installed in a place that can be reached from the place of danger within 10 seconds. The devices must be installed at the same level as the potential hazard. The path connecting the place of danger with the life-saving facilities should be free from obstructions and as straight as possible.
Section 7.4.5 The temperature of water supplied by lifesaving equipment should be lukewarm, moderately warm.
Employees should be trained in the proper use of safety showers and eye and face wash facilities and their location should be indicated.
Section 7.5.2 Safety showers and eye washers shall be operated once a week.
Section 7.5.5 Inspect life-saving appliances for compliance with the standard once a year.
Section 7.4.3 Mark the location of the combination set with a clearly visible health and safety sign. (Ellipsa adds a health and safety sign to each safety shower). This place should be well lit.