A Guide To Emergency Eyewash & Shower Equipment

Emergency showers, eyewashes and tepid water delivery systems are required to provide emergency treatment in preventing permanent eye and skin damage from accidental exposure to chemicals, biohazards or airborne debris.

In the absence of a uniquely Canadian standard for the design and placement of emergency eyewash and shower equipment, provincial authorities in all jurisdictions in Canada refer to the ANSI Z358.1-2009 standard for recommendations and enforcement regarding emergency eyewash and shower requirements.

TENAQUIP offers a comprehensive range of products and services to help comply with ANSI emergency shower and eyewash guidelines including site audits of existing or future installations to ensure compliance.

Emergency drenching fixtures must be readily accessible for use in manufacturing, laboratories, refineries, mines, construction sites and wherever workers may be accidentally splashed or sprayed with injurious solvents, acids, harmful particulates and, in some cases, biological hazards.

Key Requirements from the ANSI Standard Z358.1-2009 Include:

  • Device must be positioned within 10 seconds (55') from hazard
  • Device must be activated in one second or less
  • Device must be capable of delivering minimum flow of flushing fluid for at least 15 minutes*
  • Device must provide "tepid" water (16-38°C, 60-100°F)
  • Device must be activated weekly to remove dust/debris
  • There must be no obstruction in the pathway to the device
  • The water supply uninterruptible at the valve
  • Device must be identified with highly visible signage
  • Device must be well lighted
  • Device must be fully inspected annually (Contact TENAQUIP for support)

* Because of the limited quantity of fluid they contain, supplemental eyewash devices alone (such as bottled eyewash) cannot meet the 15 minute flushing requirements in the ANSI standard.

These should be used for initial first aid only to treat a patient during the path to certified eyewash. You should never substitute a fully compliant eyewash station with supplemental devices.

Safety flushing devices are not a substitute for primary personal protective devices such as proper eyewear and clothing. Chemical SDS' dictate proper first aid measures in case of accidental exposures.

Depending on site conditions and severity of the hazard, emergency eyewash and shower devices are found in various forms, including:

Plumbed in Eyewashes

Designed to direct a fixed water source to the eyes, face, or body in emergencies

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Combination Shower & Eyewash fixtures

Pair-up eyewash with emergency showers when SDS calls for both eye and skin irrigation

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Portable Eyewashes

Provide self-contained fluid where plumbed water is not available, usually in gravity-fed or pressurized units

To keep water stored in portable systems safe for ophthalmic use an antibacterial agent should be used

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Laboratory, Faucet Mounted & Swing Away Eyewash & Shower Fixtures

Designed for indoor environments where space is at a premium

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Tempering Systems

Designed to meet ANSI standard Z358.1-2009 requirements to deliver “tepid” water to injured workers

Tepid water encourages a full 15-minute flush, and eliminates the risk of hypothermia from colder water. ANSI defines "tepid" water as 15.6°C to 38°C (60-100°F)

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Supplemental Devices

Includes all bottled or other eyewash devices that do not meet the 15-minute drench criteria of the ANSI standard

Designed to treat nuisance hazards and/or as an initial first aid during the path to a certified eyewash

Acceptable for immediate first aid, these should support, but not substitute, a primary eyewash or shower unit

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Enclosed Safety Showers

Provide emergency deluge in harsh climates or industrial conditions, remote outdoor locations, or mixed gender workforces

Insulated enclosure provides a heated refuge until first responders arrive

Self contained versions are available where a water source is not accessible


International Safety Equipment Association
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