Product Focus Product Focus: Eyewashes/showers

Trends in ... emergency eyewashes/showers

Consistency and comfort

Do your employees have quick access to properly working emergency eyewashes and showers? To ensure equipment is available when needed, employers should make accessibility a top priority, according to Shannon Harper, ESEW product manager for Houston-based Encon Safety Products. “Reliable functionality and the delivery of adequate flushing fluid at a useable pressure, volume and temperature is paramount in an emergency situation,” she said.

In addition, eyewash and shower manufacturers say new technology is focusing on water flow and avoiding cross-contamination. “Newer eye/face wash fixtures using fluid dynamics technology ensure the rinse pattern is more consistent, uniform and complete, covering the entire face,” said Ryan Pfund, product manager, emergency fixtures, for Menomonee Falls, WI-based Bradley Corp. Pfund noted that newer units use separate lines for supply and waste. “This eliminates any possibility of cross-contamination and prevents the possibility of the waste water from entering the supply side,” he said.

Manufacturers also are making advancements in user comfort, stated Margo Mee, product manager for Sparks, NV-based Haws Corp. “Examples of such advancements include laminar flow for consistent pressure and a comfortable flush that encourages the ANSI-recommended full 15 minutes, water flow pressures and directional streams that don’t exacerbate an injury by damaging sensitive glands and ducts around the eye, tepid water in a comfortable temperature range (not just the minimum), and scald valve security,” Mee said.

False starts and compliance issues

Employers should be aware that false activations of eyewashes and showers can cause problems, including flooding and leaving devices without tepid water, Pfund noted. He recommends installing alarm systems to help avoid false activations. “The first set of contacts activates the visual and audible indicators, while the second may be wired into a central monitoring system to alert a supervisor or maintenance personnel of a problem.”

When asked about common mistakes people make with emergency eyewashes and showers, Mee said compliance is frequently an issue. “We have found misuse is attributed to interpretation of compliance,” she said. “Only meeting the minimum compliance standards is almost a disservice to victims.” To combat this issue, Mee recommends ongoing onsite training for continued education.

Compiled with the assistance of the International Safety Equipment Association