By Samantha Hoch, Marketing Specialist, Haws
There are two types of non-compliance when referring to emergency shower and eyewash equipment.
A. Performance Related: Any type of issue that affects the ability for the emergency shower or eyewash to provide proper first aid in the event of an emergency. This could include lack of tepid water, insufficient flow to the showerhead, eyewash heads or both, too much flow or pressure to the heads, or a combination unit that does not have the capability of providing adequate flow to both the showerhead and eyewash heads simultaneously. Failure to meet the requirements in these areas can have a significant impact on the outcome for the victim.
B. Not Performance Related (other): Issues that do not affect the proper functioning of the emergency equipment and the ability to deliver tepid water at the proper flow rates etc. These are considered low-impact non-compliance. Typical examples include missing signs, misplaced or missing dust covers, minor deviations in installation heights, obstructions in the pathway to the equipment, and failure to conduct weekly inspections. These issues may not affect the ability of the equipment to deliver proper first aid so they are considered “non-performance” related reasons for failure to be in compliance with the ANSI requirements. Although seemingly minor, these issues will be cited by OSHA and still need to be corrected.
To highlight, we have identified the top 12 most common reasons emergency showers and eyewashes do not comply with the standard.
#1: Improperly installed or missing dust covers
This exposes the nozzles or outlets to airborne contaminants which can ultimately make their way into a victims eyes and exacerbate the issue.
#2: Lack of proper signage on the equipment or lack of acceptable lighting
Although this does not affect the unit’s ability to perform, it can prevent a victim from finding the shower or eyewash during an emergency.
#3: Providing the improper equipment for the application
Meaning that maybe an eyewash has been installed when an eye/face wash is the correct solution.
#4: Obstructions in the path of travel to a shower and/or eyewash
Examples include hosing, boxes, and other equipment. This could prohibit a victim from being able make their way to the equipment, thus inhibiting its use or possibly leading to a trip or fall and the risk of further injury.
#5: Improper installation of eyewash nozzles, actuators and showerheadsIncorrect placement or assembly could result in an inadequate emergency response thereby potentially causing further injury.
These next 7 reasons for non-compliance are considered performance related, affecting the ability of the unit to provide proper first aid.
#6: Parts of a unit, such as the pull rod or push flag, in a dysfunctional, non-usable state
This could create a situation where a victim is unable to use the equipment if needed. This is a very common issue we have witnessed in the field.
#7: Lack of flow control to the eye or eye/face wash including erratic, inconsistent or unpredictable water flow
From an independent study of practicing ophthalmologists, comfortable water pressure is important and should be provided to a victim with the expectation that they will be flushing for a full 15 minutes. This is commonly seen pertaining to showerheads as well.
#8: Insufficient water pressure or flow rate
With not enough water pressure or flow, the eye, eye/face wash and/or shower can be considered unusable and may not provide proper flushing capabilities to a user with chemicals or harmful substances on their body.
#9: Uneven flow patterns
The eyewash is not capable of providing flushing fluid to both eyes simultaneously. This is considered non-compliant as the standards requires that a controlled flow be provided to both eyes.
#10: Improper alignment
Regarding combination units, the second most common compliance issue is improper alignment. Many times, the showerhead is not in alignment with the eye or eye/face wash and vice versa, thus not allowing for simultaneous use of the shower and eyewash by the same user.
#11: Does not maintain flow rates for simultaneous use when shower and eyewash are both activated
The most common reason for non-compliance is the inability of the equipment to maintain the required flow rates when both the shower and the eye/face wash are activated at the same time – a requirement of the standard since 2009. Although the eye/face wash may meet all flow requirements when activated alone, once the shower is activated, the flow to the eye/face wash is often impacted, making the unit no longer compliant – and more importantly, impacting the ability to deliver proper first aid, putting the victim at risk.
#12: Not providing tepid water
As of 2004, the ANSI standard incorporated the tepid water requirement, yet many existing and new units have yet to comply. All showers and eyewashes must provide tepid water in between 60-100 degrees Fahrenheit or 16-38 degrees Celsius.
This guest post was originally published in Haws Blog, June 9, 2016.