Safety showers and eyewash stations are essential for workplace safety where hazardous chemicals or debris may be present, and to be compliant and effective, they need to meet certain requirements.
A Safety shower can reduce the harmful effects of exposure by washing contaminants from the skin, treating burns quickly and even allowing workers to shower If they encounter anything hazardous.
Safety showers and eyewash stations can be installed separately or as a unit in conjunction with a single water source. In the case of eyewash stations, eyelash tonic is used to irrigate the eyes and rinse them and face wash is used to wash the face and eyes.
Not having a safe shower or eyewash station on site, or badly installed showers can be harmful to your workers, and end in fines or trouble for you as a business owner or manager.
When the time comes to install safety showers and eyewashes at your job site, consider the various features and requirements to ensure your equipment is in safety compliance.
What Are the Australian Compliance Requirements?
In Australia, safety showers and eyewash stations must comply with Australian Standard AS4775, published in 2007. To comply with this standard, the minimum flow rate for emergency showers is 75.5L a minute for at least 15 minutes. The same applies for showers and shower/eyewash combination units.
Plumbed and self-contained eyewash stations, and those in combination units mist flow at a minimum rate of 1.5 a minute for 15 minutes, and the eye and wash wash stations must run at 11.4L a minute for 15 minutes.
In addition, the flow of any supplementary equipment, such as a hand drench hose, must be low enough to be non-injurious to the user.
According to the AS4775 standards, an onsite safety shower and eyewash station must also meet the following requirements:
- Tepid water must be used with a scald protection valve.
- Valves must close and open in one second or less and remain open when activated without the use of the user’s hands.
- They must be easy to locate and readily accessible.
- Eyewashes or combination units must be located close to any strong acids or corrosives.
- On eye and face washes, the flow of flushing liquid is provided to both eyes and the face simultaneously.
- Eyewash nozzles are protected from airborne contaminants.
- The area around the unit is illuminated and has the right signs.
- Equipment must be tested weekly and tagged for compliance annually.
Choosing Separate or Combined Shower/ Eyewash Units
In some work areas, hazards may be limited to the worker’s face and eyes, or only to the body, so there may be a separate eye or eye and face wash station, or faucet. A separate emergency shower may be recommended.
However, a combined device can simultaneously clean any part of the body or the entire body, making it the best protective device overall in terms of safety.
A combination device can also be useful in situations where workers are unable to follow instructions due to severe pain or shock.
If your site has or plans to install a shower/eyewash combo, it is essential that both elements of the unit can be operated simultaneously, without causing a drop in water pressure in one of the elements, to ensure that it complies with the AS775 standard and provides proper security functionality.
What If You Don’t Have Plumbing?
If there is no running water at work next to your hazards, you can provide a portable shower or portable eye and body wash stations. They are often referred to as sprinklers, as opposed to large showers.
However, it is important to note that they are not AS775 compliant as the limited capacity allows only a few minutes discharge at the correct minimum flow rate. These devices are designed to give you more time to get workers to a suitable and compliant safety eyewash and shower station, rather than replacing them altogether.
Get the Best from Spill Station
Spill Station is the leading manufacturer and supplier of safety showers, flammable liquid storage cabinets, Australia and they provide AS4775 compliant safety shower and eyewash stations that come with a load of features.
They offer indoor showers and eyewashes, portable decontamination, outdoor showers and eye washers and a self-contained range.