• Connect With Us:

Installing Emergency Showers: Additional Considerations

installing emergency showersIn some facilities, selecting and installing emergency showers is relatively straightforward. But many times, issues can arise that complicate the process or make you second-guess your choice of shower. To help you avoid nasty “surprises,” we’ve compiled a list of additional things to consider when selecting and installing emergency showers:

Piped vs. Portable

Do you have piped water that’s easily accessible at the planned location of the emergency shower? If not, you’ll either need to lay new pipes or choose a portable emergency shower. If you decide to go with a portable unit, make sure it can maintain water flow for a full 15 minutes, as required.

Number of Workers

If multiple workers could be affected by a hazard, then you may need to install multiple emergency showers.

Isolated Workers

If you have employees who work in isolation, it’s a good idea to install an alarm that sounds when the emergency shower is in use. This allows other employees to come to the worker’s aid and alert emergency personnel.

Privacy and Comfort

Don’t underestimate the importance of privacy and comfort. Some workers will resist removing clothing when using an emergency shower because of modesty. But to fully flush away hazards, clothing should be removed. Installing privacy curtains or a privacy booth can help alleviate modesty concerns and encourage compliance. (Just make sure the shower remains “barrier free”.)

In addition, it’s a good idea to keep emergency blankets, clothing and foot covers on hand. These help workers stay warm after their shower and discourages them from putting their contaminated clothing back on.

Believe it or not, there have been instances of laboratory workers rinsing spilled chemicals from their clothing (in the company restroom) and then putting the clothing back on! Contaminated clothing must be either washed separately or discarded depending on the nature of the hazardous substance.

Accessibility for Disabled Workers

Disabled workers also need access to emergency equipment, including emergency showers. Some emergency showers are specifically designed for use by both able bodied and disabled workers.

Water Disposal

Make sure you give proper consideration to the disposal of emergency shower water. Don’t allow the water to pool where it can create a slipping hazard.

In addition, if the hazardous substances can’t be washed away with water, you may need to install a rinse water containment pool.

Bowl Covers and Inline Strainers

Bowl covers and inline strainers help keep bowls clean and flushing fluid debris free. This minimizes the risk of inadvertently introducing new hazards when flushing delicate body parts.

Minimum Standards vs. Best Practices

ANSI standards for emergency showers are just the beginning. Best practices often exceed ANSI standards. For example, ANSI standards state that the temperature of emergency shower water must be tepid, i.e. between 60-100°F. But most residential showers are set around 105°F. A comfortable temperature makes it more likely the victim will stay in the shower for a full 15 minutes or more. (It also makes for a more pleasant experience!)

Emergency Shower Setups

Some environments are especially challenging when it comes to installing and maintaining emergency showers and eyewash stations. In these cases, you may have to get innovative with your solutions.

For example, as recounted in the ISHN article Challenges for Emergency Eyewashes and Showers, a water treatment plant in the Mojave desert ended up installing a tempering system with an air conditioner to keep water temperature at a comfortable level. In Alaska, a natural gas drilling operation ended up installing an enclosed shower and tempering unit with special insulation and custom heaters to deal with extremely cold temperatures.

Some emergency showers are designed to handle extreme weather conditions, such as heat trace emergency showers. These showers have a heat trace cable that wraps around the unit to keep it from freezing and regulate the temperature of the water inside.

Emergency Shower Location

Your maintenance department might not be thrilled with you installing emergency showers, especially if they require new water lines or drains. If the job of installing emergency showers is particularly onerous, you may want to consider purchasing a self-contained portable model (as mentioned, above). But another option is to move the hazardous activity to a new location where the installation of a piped emergency shower is easier and less costly.

As you choose your installation location, remember that emergency showers must be reachable by an injured worker within 10 seconds. They must be in well-lit areas, free of obstructions and identified by a sign. In addition, it’s wise to select an area with sufficient space for emergency responders to provide medical services.

Emergency Showers at Select Safety Sales

Select Safety Sales has a great selection of emergency showers, including combination showers (which combine eyewash and shower), drench showers, heat trace emergency showers and lab showers. Many models ship the same day and most ship for free!

If you need help selecting an emergency shower for your workplace, give our safety experts a call at 1-866-864-3495 or email sales@selectsafetysales.com.

SSLSafety CouncilMcafeeGSA
Copyright © 2014. All Rights Reserved
  • Connect With Us: