Product Focus: Eyewashes and showers

Trends in ... eyewashes and showers

Advancements and advice

In the event of an incident involving hazardous chemicals, an emergency eyewash or shower can prevent further injury to a worker’s eyes and skin. Here, emergency eyewash and shower industry insiders describe developments in technology and stress the importance of weekly inspections.


Custom-built emergency signaling systems feature multiple tone and light options to help ensure a fast response time in the event of an incident that results in the use of an emergency eyewash or shower, said Ryan Pfund, senior product manager, emergency fixtures, for Menomonee Falls, WI-based Bradley Corp.

“Upon activation of a signaling system, the signaling technology automatically turns on a highly visible flashing light and a loud sound designed to cut through ambient noise,” Pfund said. “The signaling systems call others to help, draw attention to the precise location of need, alert management to contact first responders, and provide remote monitoring of safety equipment.”

Another advancement in the field focuses on the use of integrated products that provide multi-functionality, according to Imants Stiebris, vice president, compliance and safety, for New Castle, DE-based Speakman Co.

“These products can operate independently or simultaneously so that using either function is identical as if each had been installed independently,” Stiebris said. “These products reduce overall installation costs and save space by eliminating the need to locate multiple pieces of equipment.”

He used the example of a faucet with an integrated eyewash – the features could be used one at a time or simultaneously.

Make regular testing a priority

To ensure eyewashes and showers function correctly, manufacturers say, weekly test activations should never be ignored – no matter how busy your workplace is.

“Equipment inspections – and activations – should be performed and documented every week,” Pfund said, adding that equipment should be in accordance with standards, working and flushing properly, protected against freezing, and using ANSI-required heated tepid water. “Technology such as thermostatic mixing valves and electric tankless water heaters will provide tepid water reliably and efficiently,” he said.

Know the hazards

“The primary issue with showers and eyewashes is proper identification of hazards that require the use of showers and eyewashes, and then locating the equipment in the correct location,” Stiebris said.

To help employees understand what chemicals require emergency eyewash and showers, Stiebris recommends Safety Data Sheets. “SDS … provide clear guidance on the first-aid procedures required for most chemicals and will indicate if exposure to the eyes or body require flushing with water for proper decontamination,” he said.

Compiled with the assistance of the International Safety Equipment Association

Coming next month:
Head/face protection

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