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The selection of emergency eyewash and shower equipment is often a complicated process. In addition to addressing design and engineering issues, specifiers must be aware of regulatory requirements and compliance standards. A common reference point when selecting emergency equipment is ANSI/ISEA Z358.1, “Emergency Eyewash and Shower Equipment.” This standard is a widely accepted guideline for the proper selection, installation, operation and maintenance of emergency equipment.

To assist specifiers in understanding the provisions of this standard, Guardian Equipment has prepared this ANSI Compliance Checklist. In this Checklist, we have summarized and graphically presented the provisions of the standard. This Checklist can serve as a starting point for designing emergency eyewash and shower systems.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 was enacted to assure that workers are provided with “safe and healthful working conditions.” Under this law, the Occupational Safety and Heath Administration (OSHA) was created and authorized to adopt safety standards and regulations to fulfill the mandate of improving worker safety.

OSHA has adopted several regulations that refer to the use of emergency eyewash and shower equipment. The primary regulation is contained in 29 CFR 1910.151, which requires that...
“...where the eyes or body of any person may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials, suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body shall be provided within the work area for immediate emergency use.”

ANSI Z358.1

The OSHA regulation regarding emergency equipment is quite vague, in that it does not define what constitutes “suitable facilities” for drenching the eyes or body. In order to provide additional guidance to employers, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has established a standard covering emergency eyewash and shower equipment. This standard—ANSI Z358.1—is intended to serve as a guideline for the proper design, certification, performance, installation, use and maintenance of emergency equipment. As the most comprehensive guide to emergency showers and eyewashes, it has been adopted by many governmental health and safety organizations within and outside the US, as well as the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) and International Plumbing Code (IPC). The ANSI standard is also part of the building code in locations that have adopted the International Plumbing Code. (IPC-Sec. 411)

ANSI Z358.1 was originally adopted in 1981. It was revised in 1990, 1998, 2004, 2009 and again in 2014. This Compliance Checklist summarizes and graphically presents the provisions of the 2014 version of the standard.

ANSI Z358.1- 2014 contains provisions regarding the design, certification, performance, installation, use and maintenance of various types of emergency equipment (showers, eyewashes, drench hoses, etc.). In addition to these provisions, there are some general provisions that apply to all emergency equipment. In addition to these general provisions in the standard, there are also considerations that are not addressed by the standard. We believe that these considerations should also be addressed when considering emergency equipment. These include the following:

1. First Aid Devices

Emergency eyewash and shower units are designed to deliver water to rinse contaminants from a user’s eyes, face or body. As such, they are a form of first aid equipment to be used in the event of an accident. However, they are not a substitute for primary protective devices (including eye and face protection and protective clothing) or for safe procedures for handling hazardous materials.

2. Location of Emergency Equipment

In general, the ANSI standard provides that emergency equipment be installed within 10 seconds walking time from the location of a hazard (approximately 55 feet).
The equipment must be installed on the same level as the hazard (i.e. accessing the equipment should not require going up or down stairs or ramps). The path of travel from the hazard to the equipment should be free of obstructions and as straight as possible.

However, there are certain circumstances where these guidelines may not be adequate. Previous versions of the standard expressly provided that, where workers are handling particularly strong acids, caustics or other materials where the consequences of a spill would be very serious, emergency equipment should be installed immediately adjacent to the hazard. Although Appendix B5 of the 2014 standard briefly reviews the proper location of emergency equipment under such scenarios, we still believe the previous versions of the standard to be correct.

Laboratory environments may also require special consideration. It has been common in many laboratory buildings to install emergency equipment in a corridor or hallway outside of the lab room. Since a door is considered an obstruction, this violates the provisions of the standard. For laboratory environments, we recommend installing (i) recessed laboratory eyewash/shower cabinets inside the lab room and (ii) dual purpose eyewash/drench hose units at lab sinks (see page 8). The recessed cabinet units are a space saving design that satisfy the standard’s requirements for both a shower and an eye/face wash, and are wheelchair accessible, while the eyewash/drench hoses provide immediate protection for the eyes, face or body when a spill involves a relatively small amount of hazardous material.

3. Water Temperature

The 2014 version of the standard states that the water temperature delivered by emergency equipment should be ‘tepid.’ Tepid is defined to be between 60°F (16°C) and 100°F (38°C). However, in circumstances where a chemical reaction is accelerated by flushing fluid temperature, a facilities safety/health advisor should be consulted to determine the optimum water temperature for each application.

The delivery of tepid water to emergency equipment may raise complicated engineering issues. At a minimum, it generally involves providing both hot and cold water to the unit, and then installing a mixing valve to blend the water to the desired temperature. Guardian offers a variety of mixing valves and turnkey, recirculating tempering systems to temper water. Please contact our office for further information.

4. Shut Off Valves

Plumbed emergency equipment must be connected to a potable water supply line. It may be advisable to install a shut off valve on the water line, upstream of the unit, to facilitate maintenance of the equipment. If a shut off valve is installed, provision must be made to prevent unauthorized closure of the shut off valve. (Sections 4.1.2, 4.5.5, 5.1.6, 5.4.5, 6.1.6, 6.4.5, Such provision can include removing the handle of the shut off valve or locking the valve in the open position. Only maintenance personnel should be authorized to place a handle on or unlock the valve.

5. Corrosion Resistance

Once connected to a water supply line, water will enter the emergency equipment and stand in the unit up to the valve(s). When activated, water will flow through the entire unit. Therefore, the unit must be constructed of materials that will not corrode when exposed to water for extended periods of time. (Sections 4.1.6, 5.1.5, 6.1.5). In addition to this general provision, the standard specifically requires that valves be resistant to corrosion. (Sections 4.2, 5.2, 6.2, 8.2.2) Emergency equipment should therefore be constructed of materials that will resist rusting and corrosion. Materials that are considered acceptable for this purpose include brass, galvanized steel and many types of plastics (ABS, nylon, etc.). However, these materials may not provide durable service when exposed to harsh industrial conditions, may deteriorate in direct sunlight or be subject to other limitations. Therefore, for maximum durability, the following materials should also be considered:

  • Epoxy coated galvanized steel
  • Epoxy coated brass
  • Stainless steel
  • PVC

6. Freezing

There are many applications where emergency equipment must be installed in areas that are subject to freezing conditions. Such areas may include any type of outdoor area (bulk material handling facility, tank farm, etc.), as well as some interior areas (loading docks, low temperature facilities, etc.). In these cases, the emergency equipment must be protected against freezing (Sections 4.5.5, 5.4.5, 6.4.5, 7.4.4, Equipment that is designed and manufactured to be freeze-resistant should be installed. There are a number of different types of freeze-resistant equipment, including:

  • Units that have a temperature actuated bleed valve that permits water to flow through the unit when the temperature drops below freezing. These units are generally used only where the possibility of freezing is very infrequent.
  • Units on which the valve is mounted behind a wall or buried below the frost line and is remote-activated.
  • Combination units that are electrically heated (heat-traced) and insulated.
  • Units that have a heated enclosure to fully contain and protect both the equipment and the user.

7. Disposal of Water

The standard does not include any provisions regarding the disposal of waste water. However, designers must give consideration to where waste water will go. In particular, care must be taken that waste water not create a hazard (i.e. by creating a pool in which someone might slip) or freeze.

Generally, Guardian eyewash, eye/face wash and safety station units are designed with waste connections for connection to drain piping. WE RECOMMEND THAT EMERGENCY EYEWASH AND SHOWER UNITS BE CONNECTED TO DRAIN PIPING. FOR EMERGENCY SHOWERS AND FOR OTHER UNITS WITHOUT WASTE CONNECTIONS, FLOOR DRAINS SHOULD BE PROVIDED.

After an emergency eyewash or shower unit has been used, the waste water may contain hazardous materials that cannot or should not be introduced into a sanitary sewer. It may be necessary to connect the drain piping from the emergency equipment or floor drain to the building’s acid waste disposal system or to a neutralizing tank.

8. Emergency Response

Simply installing emergency equipment is not a sufficient means of assuring worker safety. Employees must be trained in the location of emergency equipment and in its proper use. Emergency equipment must be regularly maintained (including weekly activation of the equipment) to assure that it is in working order and inspected at least annually for compliance with the standard. Most importantly, employers should develop a response plan to be used in the event that an accident does occur. The focus of the response plan should be to provide assistance to the injured worker as quickly as possible.

Guardian offers a variety of alarm systems which may be installed in conjunction with our emergency equipment. They serve to alert personnel and summon assistance if an eyewash or shower is activated. WE RECOMMEND INSTALLING AN ALARM UNIT WITH ANY EMERGENCY EYEWASH OR SHOWER UNIT.

9. O&M Information

Under the standards, the manufacturer of the emergency equipment must provide detailed instructions on the proper operation, inspection and maintenance of the emergency equipment. (Sections 4.6.1, 5.5.1, 6.5.1, 7.5.1, This information should be accessible to maintenance personnel. Guardian offers detailed installation, operation and maintenance guides for its equipment. These guides are available on the Guardian website (gesafety.com) and from our sales representatives.

Note: This ANSI Compliance Checklist is intended to assist design personnel, facility owners and others in selecting, specifying, installing and maintaining emergency equipment. We have tried to assure that it is comprehensive and accurate. However, please refer to the complete ANSI/ISEA Z358.1-2014 standard before purchasing or installing emergency equipment. Guardian Equipment cannot be responsible for any errors or omissions from this Checklist, and cannot assure that any particular product will perform satisfactorily in any particular application.