Employers are required by law to always maintain a safe workspace for workers. This includes providing and maintaining emergency response equipment like emergency showers and eyewash stations. When a worker is injured because an employer fails in that responsibility, a work injury attorney can help him or her receive compensation for resulting injuries.
Stricter OSHA Standards for Emergency Equipment
Emergency showers and eyewash stations are important tools for protecting workers from injuries from caustic and corrosive materials. Workplace accidents can occur when these materials are spilled, splashed, or blown through the air in particulate form.
In the workplace:
- Employees who are at risk of exposure to hazardous materials should be made aware of where emergency showers and eyewash stations are located and trained in their proper use.
- Eyewash stations should be designed so when activated, they can be used without the operator having to use his or her hands.
- Pathways to emergency showers and eyewash stations should be kept clear.
Inspection and Performance Requirements
By OSHA and ANSI law, emergency showers and eyewash stations should be tested weekly. A more thorough inspection should be conducted annually. Employers have a responsibility to ensure that emergency responsive equipment is always functioning properly. However, inspections of this equipment are not always a priority. OSHA violations for not providing appropriate and adequate eyewash and shower equipment could result in penalties over $100,000.
There are three minimum requirements under ANSI for weekly inspections. All emergency equipment must be activated each week. This includes making sure that the flow of water to the devices is appropriate. The duration of the activation should be long enough to ensure that any stagnant water in the equipment is flushed from the unit. It is recommended that additional functional checks be conducted during the week outside of the minimum requirements.
For self-contained units that use potable water, the water and sterile bacteriostatic additive must be exchanged every three months. If no additive is used, the water must be exchanged weekly. Units must be rinsed clean between exchanges. A thorough tank cleaning must be performed each month.
There is no requirement for hiring an outside certified tester to perform weekly and annual inspections. Training tools, such as Online Competent Person Training are available from equipment manufacturers to train onsite personnel in becoming subject-matter experts who can perform inspections.