7 Things You Should Know About Safety Shower Systems

1.) Release Time

-The shower system must provide hands-free activation within one second or less and must remain open until manually closed. Quick activation is necessary because injuries could become more severe if not tended to immediately. The seconds after an injury occurs are a critical point in time where action needs to take place in order to avoid a delay in treatment.

2.) Temperature
-One of the most important components of safety shower systems is the temperature of the water being released. According to standards set by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), water must be tepid, between 60°-100°F. This is because there is high risk in using water that is too hot or too cold. Temperature extremes could potentially cause more harm to the user, especially if hot water comes in contact with someone who has endured a deep cut, chemical burn, or has had contact with a hazardous chemical. Hot water over 100°F can prolong these injuries and may also cause a chemical reaction to take place, possibly making the injury worse.  A temperature of 85°F has become the most common set point for this type of application.

3.) Pressure
-It is critical to ensure that the water, which exits the shower system, is at a consistent pressure. If a person’s face or eyes have been exposed to chemicals, they need to rinse immediately with a firm but gentle stream of water. If the water is too harsh, chemicals or debris have the potential to be pushed back further into the eye, causing more harm to the user.

-There are strict standards and regulations for safety shower systems set by the American National Standards Institute. This standardization system regulates and establishes requirements to ensure units work properly at times of emergency. ANSI has standards for types of flushing fluid, temperature settings, spray patterns/pressure, and many other components of safety shower systems. To access more information on these important standards, please visit: https://webstore.ansi.org/SdoInfo.aspx?sdoid=39&source=LP_safety_land ing

5.) Plumbing (fixed position vs. self contained)
-There are two different shower system types that are used for emergency applications involving chemicals, corrosive metals, and other injurious materials.
One option is the self-contained system. This unit has flushing fluid stored within, making it a portable emergency safety shower. It can be moved to specific locations where safety equipment needs to be in extremely close proximity.  A disadvantage that comes with a self-contained system is that the fluid needs to be refilled after each use. This is necessary because the flushing fluid needs to last at least 15 minutes, according to ANSI standards. Replacing the fluid after each use ensures that this duration time is achieved. Due to this factor, self-contained systems are not ideal for safety showers, but are a suitable option for emergency eye wash stations.
Fixed position emergency shower systems are another option. These types of shower systems can be mounted almost anywhere and are ready for use without needing to be replaced.

6.) Duration
-According to ANSI/ISEA standards, water or flushing fluid should be released from the shower system for at least 15 minutes (at 23 gallons per minute) in order to thoroughly flush the eyes and body. This duration requirement ensures that any chemicals, particles, or debris are completely rinsed away right after exposure.

7.) Distance, Location, Accessibility
-There must be an unobstructed path to the safety shower system. Safety shower systems cannot be placed in areas outside of the room, such as hallways, because a door is considered an obstruction. Having a door in the pathway to the safety shower not only makes getting help more difficult, but it can also lead to a delay in accessing the emergency safety shower. With a door or hallway on the pathway to safety, it will take longer than 10 seconds to reach relief.

*This information is provided as a reference. Specific information can be obtained via Z358.1-2014