While most of the ANSI Z358.1 standard did not change much since the 2004 version, here's a quick list of two important changes that were made.
The ANSI standard states that all flushing equipment must be located in areas that are accessible within 10 seconds (roughly 55 feet). This is commonly referred to in the industry as the 10 second rule. Best practices are to use a stop watch from your hazardous areas and determine if you have the proper flushing fluid located within 10 seconds. Keep in mind that an injured worker may need additional time to reach the flushing stations, as the severity of their injury could vary. In the presence of highly corrosive chemicals, consideration should be given to install the flushing equipment much closer to the hazard. Be cautious of electrical supply panels that may be within "splashing distance" such as charging stations for Forklifts and other battery operated machinery.
The Safety Showers and or Eyewash Stations must be located on the same level as the hazard and the path of travel shall be free from obstructions. If your facility contains a hazardous area that is located on a different level, floor, or platform than your current flushing stations, you must install equipment on every level that contains a hazard. Items such as trash cans, pallet jacks, boxes, raw materials, or any other stored items must not block access to the flushing stations. Also, a door is also considered an obstruction. If the hazard is non-corrosive, 1 door can be present as long as it opens in the same direction of travel as the person requiring the use of the flushing station.
Eyewash and Drench Shower Stations must be installed in a well-lit area and identified with a highly visible safety sign.
All water supply lines must be provided to meet the ANSI minimum flow requirements at 30-90 PSI. The recommended incoming pipe sizes are as follows:
If shut-off valves are installed on the supply line for maintenance purposes, provisions must be in place to prevent unauthorized shut-off. Lock-out Tag-out devices are the most common method to secure shut-off valves.
Proper disposal of contaminated flushing fluid must be considered when installing new equipment. Drainage, freezing temperatures, pollutants, and elevated showers are some factors to consider. Consult with your local, state, and federal authorities for additional guidance on the proper wastewater disposal.
Delivering tepid water is a crucial but often overlooked component of providing compliant Eyewash and Drench Shower flushing stations. The recently updated ANSI Z358.1-2009 Emergency Eyewash and Shower Equipment standard includes the strictest language to date for the delivery of tepid water. ANSI defines "tepid water" as "A flushing fluid temperature conducive to promoting a minimum 15 minute irrigation period. A suitable range is 16-38°C (60-100°F)". Recent data compiled from end user customers and regulatory authorities has indicated that tepid water is becoming an increased focus during Eyewash/Shower facility inspections, especially at healthcare facilities.
Medical professionals recommend that tepid flushing fluids be used to treat chemically injured eyes and body tissue. Temperatures that exceed 100°F can enhance chemical interaction with the eyes and skin. Additionally, flushing fluid temperatures below 60°F can cause hypothermic shock. The ANSI Z358.1-2009 standard states that while cooler flushing fluids may provide immediate relief after chemical contact, “prolonged exposure to cold fluids affect the ability to maintain adequate body temperature and can result in the premature cessation of first aid treatment”.
Tepid water can be delivered to Eyewash and Shower flushing stations by many different means. The most common method is by installing Thermostatic Mixing Valves (TMV's) or Water Tempering Valves. These valves blend hot and cold water to provide a comfortable flushing fluid within the temperature range as defined by ANSI. Access to hot water is a necessary component and can be achieved through traditional water heaters, on-demand water heaters (tankless water heaters), and re-circulating systems. It's important to note that standard water mixing valves should not be used for the purpose of providing tepid water to Emergency Eyewash and Drench Shower Stations. Mixing valves designed specifically for Eyewash related products include a hot water shut-off to prevent accidental scalding, and a cold-water bypass to ensure the delivery of flushing fluids in the event that the hot water supply fails.
During the winter months, most facilities located in the U.S. have outside temperatures that are below 32°F. Eyewash Stations and Drench Shower units that are exposed to freezing temperatures must be protected. ANSI states that "Where the possibility of freezing conditions exists, equipment shall be protected from freezing or freeze-protected equipment shall be installed". Freeze Protection valves are a cost effective way to prevent water from freezing in supply pipes and within the flushing stations. Additionally, Heat Trace units, Heater Jackets, and Freeze Protected Eyewash equipment can be used to prevent the freezing of Flushing Stations.
For locations where the ambient water temperature may exceed 100°F, anti-scald valves should be used to purge potentially scalding water from the supply lines. This may include outdoor locations that are exposed to direct sunlight, or indoor locations that may be exposed to extreme temperatures from machinery or manufacturing processes.
All employees who may be exposed to hazardous, particulate, or corrosive materials shall be instructed on the proper operation of Eyewash & Drench Shower equipment. In addition, all employees must be made aware of the locations of flushing stations.
Proper maintenance and weekly testing is necessary to ensure that Emergency Drench Showers and Eyewash Stations are functioning safely and properly. Weekly testing helps clear the supply lines of sediment and bacteria build-up that is caused from stagnant water. The ANSI standard states that plumbed flushing equipment, "shall be activated weekly for a period long enough to verify operation and ensure that flushing fluid is available". Furthermore, the ANSI Z358.1-2009 standard also requires Portable and Self Contained equipment "be visually checked to determine if flushing fluid needs to be changed or supplemented".
Bottled Eyewash or other Personal Wash Units such as single head Drench Hoses are considered to be supplemental equipment only. These types of flushing units do not meet ANSI's requirements for Eyewash and/or Drench Shower stations and should not be used as an alternative to a 15 minute flushing station. The ANSI Z358.1-2009 standard states, "A personal wash unit may be kept in the immediate vicinity of employees working in a potentially hazardous area. The main purpose of these units is to supply immediate flushing. With this accomplished, the injured individual should then proceed to a plumbed or self contained Eyewash and flush the eyes for the required 15-minute period."
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