Emergency Eyewashes and Showers

Introduction

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has an established policy for emergency eyewashes and showers in the Campus Administrative Manual, Section V/B-6.5. This Emergency Eyewash and Shower Program document was developed to assist campus units in understanding the requirements set forth by that policy for existing facilities. All new construction and remodeling shall meet the requirements of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Facilities Standards, which may go above the minimum requirements described in this program document. This document includes information on areas where emergency eyewashes and showers are required, equipment specification, location and installation requirements, and equipment inspection and testing requirements. As stated in the campus policy, all reasonable efforts shall be made to meet the requirements specified in the most recent edition of the American National Standard for Emergency Eyewash and Shower Equipment (ANSI, Z358.1), which is a widely accepted guideline for the design, performance, installation, use, and maintenance of emergency eyewashes and showers.

Regulations, Consensus Standards and References

Occupational Safety and Health Regulation 29 CFR 1910.151(c): Medical Services and First Aid

American National Standards Institute (ANSI), Z358.1, most recent edition: Emergency Eyewash and Shower Equipment

Center for Disease Control and Prevention/National Institutes of Health

Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (most recent edition)

Illinois State Plumbing Code, (most recent edition)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Facilities Standards (see "Building Elements: Laboratories, chemical and biological" and "Drawing 22 45 00-01")

Definitions

Combination unit – A unit that has any combination of the following equipment: emergency shower, eyewash, eye/face wash or drench hose.

Drench hose – A supplemental device consisting of a flexible hose connected to a flushing fluid supply and used to irrigate and flush face and body areas. Areas that require eyewashes can only utilize drench hoses if a plumbed or self-contained eyewash is also available in that area or if the drench hose is designed to meet the definition of a plumbed or self-contained eyewash.

Emergency shower – A device specifically designed and intended to deliver flushing fluid in sufficient volume to cause that fluid to cascade over the entire body.

Flushing fluid – Fluid that is either water or else a sterile buffer solution designed specifically for eyewash and shower units.

Personal eyewash – A supplemental device to plumbed or self-contained eyewashes, which can deliver immediate flushing fluid to the eyes or body. Areas that require eyewashes can only use personal eyewashes if plumbed or self-contained eyewashes are also available in that area.

Plumbed eyewash – An eyewash unit permanently connected to a continual water supply that is capable of delivering a minimum of 0.4 gallons per minute (gpm) for 15 minutes.

Remodel – Any large scale alterations to an area that will change the location of walls, doors, counter space or cabinets; or a project that replaces most existing furnishings/fixtures (cabinets, chemical fume hoods, light figures, wiring, plumbing, etc.) with new furnishings/fixtures in one area. Note: the implementation of numerous “small projects” for the same area in order to avoid being labeled as a remodel project may be subject to the requirements of this document as a remodel, based on the judgment of the Associate Director for Campus Code Compliance and Fire Safety.

Self-contained eyewash – A stand-alone eyewash device containing flushing fluid that is capable of delivering a minimum of 0.4 gpm for 15 minutes.

Areas Where an Emergency Eyewash and/or Shower is Required

Emergency Eyewashes

A plumbed or self-contained eyewash shall be provided in all work areas where the eyes of any person may be exposed to hazardous material of any of the following:

  • Chemicals that are classified as corrosive (this includes household bleach), irritating to the eye, acutely toxic (GHS categories 1-3), or as having health effects (carcinogens, reproductive toxins, mutagens, target organ effects GHS Cat 1-2)
  • Biological materials that require biosafety level 2 containment or greater

Such work areas include but are not limited to:

  • Laboratories, storerooms
  • Pesticide storage or mixing facilities
  • Battery repair areas

Emergency Showers

An emergency shower shall be provided in all work areas where a person may be exposed to hazardous material of any of the following:

  • Chemicals that are classified as corrosive to the skin, irritating to the skin, acutely toxic (GHS categories 1-3), or as having health effects (carcinogens, reproductive toxins, mutagens, target organ effects GHS Cat 1-2)

Such work areas include but are not limited to:

  • Research laboratories, storerooms and other work areas where these hazardous chemicals are present
  • Pesticide storage or mixing facilities
  • Battery repair areas

Exception for existing facilities without an emergency shower 

In lieu of installing an emergency shower with a floor drain, a facility can choose to use or install both a drench hose and eyewash unit, or a combination unit of those devices, if all of the following criteria are met:

  1. The work area is not being remodeled;
  2. All containers of hazardous material as defined above under "Emergency Showers" that are stored or used in the work area are one liter or less in size;
  3. The work area supervisor provides documentation of the chemical inventory, including container sizes, for that work area to the Division of Research Safety to verify that the area qualifies for this exception.

Contact the Division of Research Safety (DRS) by email or call us at 333-2755 for additional information or assistance with determining areas where emergency eyewashes and showers are required.

Combination Units

A combination unit of an emergency shower and eyewash that complies with the requirements of ANSI Z358.1 Section 7.1 may be used in work areas required to have both devices.

Emergency Shower and Eyewash Specification and Location Requirements

Emergency showers and plumbed or self-contained eyewashes shall meet the following requirements of ANSI Z358.1 and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Facilities Standards in effect at the time of installation.

  1. The equipment must be certified by the manufacturer as meeting the most recent edition of ANSI Z358.1.
  2. The equipment shall have a controlled flow of flushing fluid that is provided to both eyes simultaneously (for eyewashes), which is not injurious to the user.
  3. Valves on emergency eyewashes and showers shall be designed so that the flushing fluid remains on without requiring the use of the operator’s hands. The valve should be designed to remain activated until intentionally shut off.
  4. Emergency eyewash nozzles shall be protected from airborne contamination. Whatever means is used to afford such protection, its removal should not require a separate motion by the operator when activating the unit.
  5. The equipment shall be in unobstructed and accessible locations that require no more than 10 seconds for the injured person to reach along an unobstructed pathway from the source of the hazard. If the pathway includes a door, then the door shall have panic hardware for easy egress.
  6. The equipment shall be located such that accessing the equipment should not require going up and down stairs or ramps.
  7. The equipment location should be identified with a highly visible sign. See example (Attachment 1) at end.

Installation

Specific Plumbed or Self-Contained Eyewash Requirements

  1. Eyewashes shall be installed so that they are capable of delivering to the eyes a minimum of 0.4 gpm of flushing fluid for 15 minutes.
  2. Eyewashes shall be installed with the water nozzles 33-45 inches from the floor and 6 inches minimum from the wall or nearest obstruction. If they are installed mounted on a counter, they should be mounted within 6 inches of the front edge of the lab sink (see Attachment 2 or drawing No. 15440 in the Facilities & Services (F&S) Facilities Standards) to allow the eyes to be placed in the path of water by simply standing near the unit. There should be minimal reaching, bending, stretching or contorting to reach the eyewash.
  3. All plumbed eyewashes shall have a drain as per the Illinois State Plumbing Code, (most recent edition).
  4. Eyewashes shall not be installed on a faucet spout.
  5. Eyewashes shall be installed to meet ADA accommodations where required.

Specific Emergency Shower Requirements

  1. Emergency shower heads shall be installed so that they are capable of delivering a minimum of 20 gpm of flushing fluid for 15 minutes.
  2. Emergency shower heads shall be designed so that a flushing fluid column is provided not less than 82 inches and not more than 96 inches in height from the surface on which the user stands.
  3. The shower head shall not be mounted flush or recessed with any constructed surfaces or partitions and the center of the spray pattern should be located at least 16 inches from any obstruction.
  4. The spray pattern shall have a minimum diameter of 20 inches at 60 inches above the surface on which the user stands.
  5. The manual actuator, triangle pull shall not be located more than 69 inches above the surface on which the user stands. The manual actuator should be free from obstruction for 18 to 24 inches in most directions.
  6. All plumbed and self-contained emergency showers shall have a floor drain as per the Illinois State Plumbing Code, (most recent edition).
  7. Emergency showers shall be installed to meet ADA accommodations where required.

Inspection and Testing

Emergency Eyewashes

Plumbed eyewashes should be activated weekly for a period long enough to verify operation and ensure that flushing fluid is available. This helps clean out any rust, scale deposits, or bacteria that may accumulate. For example, the weekly inspections should include, at a minimum, the following:

  • Ensure that access to the eyewash is unobstructed.
  • Visually inspect the eyewash to ensure that there are no broken parts, leakage etc.
  • Verify that protective eyewash covers are properly positioned, clean and intact.
  • Check that the spouts are clean, and the bowl and/or sink drains are free of trash.
  • Check that the flow is effective and continuous.
  • Check that the unit remains activated without the use of the operator’s hands.
  • Maintain an inspection log for this weekly testing. Tags are available free of charge from DRS (call 333-2755).
  • Ensure that problems identified during the testing are resolved.

Emergency Showers

Emergency showers should be activated and inspected at least once on an annual basis. F&S may be contracted for this service by submitting an online request or calling 333-0340. The inspections should include, at the minimum, the following:

  • Ensure that access to the shower is unobstructed.
  • Visually inspect the shower to ensure that there are no broken parts, leakage etc.
  • Check that the flow is effective and continuous.
  • Check that the unit remains activated without the use of the operator’s hands.
  • Maintain an inspection log for this testing. Tags are available free of charge from DRS (call 333-2755).
  • Ensure that problems identified during the testing are resolved.

Purchasing Emergency Shower and Eyewash Equipment

In order to initiate the installation of a required emergency eyewash/safety shower unit, the Unit Head, Laboratory Supervisor, or Principal Investigator should first contact the Department's facility representative. The Facility Manager will contact the F&S Service Office or 333-0340 to request an estimate for the purchase and installation of emergency eyewashes and showers.

If the laboratory has received approval from DRS for the use of a counter-mounted drench hose/eyewash station, the Facility Manager must specify that the estimate request is for this specific device. If the laboratory is required to install an emergency eyewash/safety shower unit, the Facility Manager must request an estimate for the complete installation, (including a floor drain and mixing valve).

Once the F&S Service Office has provided the estimate, and the Department has identified a funding source and provided F&S with a charge number and proper authorization, the installation can be scheduled.

Responsibilities

Unit Heads

  1. Ensure that emergency eyewashes and showers are provided for laboratories and other areas as required by this program document.
  2. Ensure that emergency eyewashes and showers located in all areas of the unit, including laboratories, corridors or common areas are tested and inspected as specified in this program document. This includes weekly testing and inspection of eyewashes and annual testing and inspections of showers.

Principal Investigators/Supervisors

  1. Work with unit head to ensure that emergency eyewashes and showers are provided for laboratories and other areas as required by this program document.
  2. Ensure that emergency eyewashes installed in their areas are tested and inspected weekly as specified in this program documents.
  3. Ensure that emergency showers installed in their areas are tested and inspected annually as specified in this program documents.
  4. Ensure that laboratory/unit personnel are familiar with the location and operation of the emergency eyewash and shower equipment.

For more information on Use and Testing see our Eyewash/Safety Shower Poster

Facilities and Services

  1. Assist in the development and maintenance of the campus program for emergency eyewashes and showers.
  2. Assist campus personnel or units with the selection and installation of emergency eyewashes and showers that meet the requirements of the campus program.
  3. Perform repairs identified during inspections or by users, as requested by work orders.

Division of Research Safety

  1. Assist in the development and maintenance of the campus program for emergency eyewashes and showers.
  2. Assist campus personnel or units with the selection of emergency eyewashes and showers that meet the requirements of the campus program.
  3. Verify that emergency eyewashes and showers in a given area meet the requirements of this campus program during DRS inspections.
  4. Evaluate whether a given area qualifies for the emergency shower exception.

Attachment 1

Attachment 1 - Emergency Eyewash and Shower Signs

Attachment 2

Attachment 2 - Installation

Last Update: 2/1/2016