www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com/articles/20099-trends-in-eyewashesshowers

Trends in ... eyewashes/showers

Regular testing is key

July 27, 2020

For workers who are exposed to chemicals or other hazardous substances at work, the importance of emergency eye/facewashes and showers can’t be overstated. But to prevent injuries – and even save lives – that equipment need to be fully functional. That’s where testing comes in.

Dana Logue, industrial product manager for ThermOmegaTech Inc., based in Warminster, PA, said regular testing of eye/facewashes and showers “avoids exacerbated chemical reactions during emergencies due to an insufficient water supply or exposure to either cold water or overly hot water.”

Ryan Pfund, senior product manager for Menomonee Falls, WI-based Bradley Corp., echoed that thought. “Weekly testing can sometimes fall by the wayside, which is a serious mistake because worksites, personnel and safety hazards are constantly changing,” he said.

Pfund recommends checking equipment weekly to ensure it:

  • Works properly, with no missing or broken parts.
  • Has lines flushed to clear debris and stagnant water.
  • Is protected against freezing.
  • Uses tepid fluid between 60-100° F or 16-38° C.
  • Is placed in accordance with ANSI Z358.1-2014.

During a test, all heads should be activated, Pfund said, including the eyewash or eye/facewash head, as well as the showerhead. Take time to flush lines long enough to clear the line of sediment and debris.

Logue added: “You don’t want to find out that your system isn’t functioning correctly while covered in hazardous chemicals.”

Customer concerns

So what are some customer concerns? “How to implement freeze protection and scald protection valves on their existing emergency eyewash/safety shower setup,” Logue said. “These valves safeguard against system failures or environmental changes resulting in extreme water temperatures (frozen piping in the winter and scalding water supplies in the summer).”

Pfund said he tells customers preparing to reopen after shutdowns related to the COVID-19 pandemic that “restoring emergency safety protocol and testing fixtures are extremely important.”

Looking ahead

Asked about innovations in the field of eyewashes, Logue spoke of a recent move “to implement gentle flow eyewash nozzles on eyewash stations and make systems easier to install with preformed insulation and OEM piping subassemblies.”

Logue said she expects “a shift to the use of steam instead of electric to instantly heat water supplies, without the danger of voltage or the need for insulating systems in explosion-proof areas.

“There will also be an increase in the ongoing debate about ensuring safe water quality, taking into account concerns about possible bacteriological issues (in regards to bulk storage or circulating supply systems) and remedying them with flushing and sanitation procedures.”

Compiled with the assistance of the International Safety Equipment Association

Coming next month:

  • Head/face protection