It’s crucial to have emergency showers and eyewash stations in place for immediate decontamination if you work with hazardous materials.
Deciding where to install your safety shower is crucial because the first 10-15 seconds after chemical exposure is vital in providing adequate medical care. Strategically placing your wash stations and showers could determine the severity of the damage caused by the incident.
Are Safety Showers and Eyewash Stations Regulated?
Yes! It’s essential to know that emergency eyewash and shower equipment are regulated by law for your industry. This law outlines the location, quantity and type of basins, stations and showers that should be installed.
You can refer to the Australian Safety Standard AS4775-2007 for the exact criteria. Below we’re going to highlight some of the factors you should consider when planning your installation points.
The most crucial factor to consider is how accessible the basins and showers are. For starters, these emergency stations MUST be on the same level as the potential chemical hazard. For instance, you can’t have the employee working on the first floor, but the basin is on the third!
They need to be easy to access. Employees who have experienced a chemical splash into their eyes or other exposed body parts, shouldn’t have to do any of the following:
- Struggle to unlock doors, gates or anything else to reach the shower/basin
- Climb stairs or ladders before they can treat themselves
- Move items to get access to the station
2. Consider the 10-Second Rule
Rinsing chemicals out of eyes or off of exposed skin within 10-seconds of exposure is essential to determining whether an injury will be permanent. With this in mind, an employer or manager needs to consider where a chemical or fire injury is most likely to happen.
Bear in mind that an injured employee might also need to be carried or assisted to the basin, especially if chemicals have splashed in the eyes. Assistance from other workers might slow down the process of getting to the basin. Showers and eyewash basins should be in the same room as the potential risk, and accessible within this timeframe
3. Create Visibility
Workers who have just experienced a splash, spill or burn injury might not be able to see properly. Looking around for a basin could prevent them from working within the 10-second rule. To ensure they can be easily found, Australian safety dictates that the stations, basins and showers should be clearly marked with warning signs.
Additionally, the safety area should be correctly illuminated so that it can be located in the case of power outages. New employees or daily contract workers must know where the safety station is before any work starts.
4. Consider the Types of Hazardous Materials Used
Note that the types of hazards used in your business will determine the safety regulations needed. Some hazards that might require basins or showers to be installed include the following:
- Corrosives: AS3780-2008
- Flammable liquids: AS1940-2017
- Toxic substances: AS4452-1997
- Oxidisers: AS4326-2008
- Flammable solids: AS5026-2012 – this includes storage and general handling
- Organic peroxides: AS 2714-2008
Each type of hazardous chemical has its own requirement for distance to and location of the basins. It’s also important to consider how any water splashes will interact if it comes into contact with the chemicals. The last thing you want is secondary contamination!
5. Nature of the Job Site
The last factor to consider is the nature of the job site and the type of work performed on the property and the exact scenario. Important factors to help you manage this aspect include:
- Number of workers: In the event of a major spill or splash, will your facilities be able to treat several employees at once?
- Climate: How will varying temperatures affect the usability of the eyewash basin or shower? Is there a risk of freezing pipes or excessively hot water?
- Disabled workers: Will disabled workers in wheelchairs have access to the basins or showers? Do you need to install activation levers at reachable levels?
- Drainage system: Is there an outlet for contaminated water?
- Electrical equipment: Could electrical equipment cause additional hazards?
- Privacy: Are the showers private if a worker needs to remove clothing for treatment?
How to Install Safety Showers and Eyewash Basins
The good news is that the experts at Banjo Nominees have the skill and legislative knowledge to install the basins and showers on your job site. With more than 60 years of experience, we’re more than equipped to ensure your workspace is prepared for any hazardous emergency.