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Emergency Safety Products Buying Guide

What are Emergency Safety Products?

Emergency safety products or emergency equipment is typically considered to be Emergency Eyewashes, Emergency Showers, Emergency Combination Stations, Emergency Drench Hoses, Emergency Decontamination Stations, Portable Emergency Units, Emergency Thermostatic Mixing Valves and Emergency Accessories. Each product is created to suite a specific need and works to provide protection from additional damage caused by exposure to hazardous materials.

Emergency Eyewashe         Emergency Shower         Emergency Combination Station         Emergency Drench Hose         Emergency Decontamination Stations         Portable Emergency Unit         Emergency Thermostatic Mixing Valve         Emergency Accessories

Selecting Emergency Safety Products

When selecting emergency safety products the types of conditions, uses, and desired results all need to be taken into consideration along with any local or national codes that need to be followed concerning the need for emergency safety products. The American National Standard Institute (ANSI) is the main body that creates standards when it comes to emergency safety products. Make sure that you are aware of any OSHA or ANSI standard that you must comply with before you purchase or install any emergency safety products. Speakman, which is widely recognized as an industry leader in showerheads, mechanical & electronic faucets, shower valves and emergency showers & eyewashes notes that Speakman Emergency Equipment products meet the latest ANSI Z358.1 performance requirements and all applicable plumbing, electric shock, safety and weatherability codes, including NEC compliance.

ANSI Z358.1 Standards for Emergency Eye Wash and Shower Equipment

The ANSI Z358.1 Standard is the definitive standard for meeting the OSHA requirement for suitable emergency eye wash and shower Equipment. ANSI Z358.1 contains provisions regarding the design, performance, installation, use and maintenance of various types of emergency equipment (showers, eye washes, drench hoses, etc.). In addition to these provisions, there are some general considerations that apply to all emergency equipment. These considerations may not necessarily be part of the standard, but typically they should be addressed when considering emergency equipment. These include the following:

Emergency eye wash and shower units are designed to deliver water to rinse contaminants from a user’s eyes, face or body. As such, they are a form of first aid equipment to be used in the event of an accident. However, they are not a substitute as primary protective devices (including eye and face protection and protective clothing) or for safe procedures for handling hazardous materials.

Simply installing emergency equipment is not a sufficient means of assuring worker safety. Employees must be trained in the location and proper use of emergency equipment. Emergency equipment must be regularly maintained (including weekly activation of the equipment) to assure that it is in working order and inspected at least annually for compliance with standards. Most importantly, employers should develop a response plan to be used in the event that an accident does occur. The focus of the response plan should be to provide assistance to the injured worker as quickly as possible while containing any hazardous materials and keeping others safe.

In general, the ANSI standard says that emergency equipment be installed within 10 seconds walking time from the location of a hazard and that the equipment must be installed on the same level as the hazard (i.e. accessing the equipment should not require going up or down stairs or ramps). The path of travel from the hazard to the equipment should be free of obstructions and as straight as possible.

The 2004 version of the standard states that the water temperature delivered by emergency equipment should be “tepid” (i.e. moderately warm or lukewarm). However, where it is possible that a chemical reaction might be accelerated by warm water, a medical professional should be consulted to determine what the optimum water temperature would be.

Emergency Safety Products

Emergency Eyewashe Emergency Eyewashes
Emergency Eyewashes should be designed to deliver fluid to both eyes simultaneously at a volume of not less than 1.5 litres/minute (0.4 gallons/minute) for 15 minutes. However, the volume should not be at a velocity which may injure the eyes. The unit should be between 83.8 and 114.3 cm (33 to 45 inches) from the floor, and a minimum of 15.3 cm (6 inches) from the wall or nearest obstruction.

Emergency Shower Emergency Showers
Emergency showers should deliver a pattern of water with a diameter of at least 50.8 cm (20 inches) at 152 cm (60 inches). This diameter ensures that the water will come into contact with the entire body - not just the top of the person's head. ANSI also recommends the shower head be between 208.3 and 243.8 cm (82-96 inches) from the floor. The minimum volume of spray should be 75.7 litres/minute (20 gallons/minute) for a minimum time of 15 minutes. The shower should also be designed so that it can be activated in less than 1 second, and it remains operational without the operator's hand on the valve (or lever, handle, etc.). This valve should not be more than 173.3 cm (69 inches) in height. If enclosures are used, ensure that there is an unobstructed area of 86.4 cm (34 inches) in diameter.

Emergency Combination Station Emergency Combination Stations
Emergency combination stations refers to equipment that shares a common plumbing fixture. Any of the fixtures such as shower, eyewash, eye/face wash or drench hose may be in this combination, but most commonly it refers to a shower and an eye wash station. It is important that pressure and volume requirements for each piece of the unit (as described above) are in compliance with the code.

Emergency Drench Hose Emergency Drench Hoses
Emergency drench hoses are usually considered to be secondary to proper emergency showers and eyewash stations (e.g., having a drench hose does not replace the need for showers/stations). Drench hoses may be used to "spot" rinse an area when a full shower is not required, to assist a victim when the victim is unable to stand or is unconscious, or to wash under a piece of clothing before the clothing is removed.

Portable Emergency Unit Portable Emergency Units
Portable emergency units are self-contained eyewash and emergency station stations have a limited amount of fluid. As a result, maintenance is critical to ensure that units are fully charged at all times. These stations also require ongoing maintenance of the buffered saline solution. The agents used to control bacterial growth are effective for certain limited periods of time. Also, small amoebae capable of causing serious eye infections have been found in portable and stationary eyewash stations. Consequently it is important to monitor the shelf life of the solution and replace the solution when it has expired.

Emergency Thermostatic Mixing Valve Emergency Thermostatic Mixing Valves
Emergency thermostatic mixing valves typically are installed to respond independently to incoming hot and cold water temperatures and provide backup protection against element failure. If one element fails, the other should continue to function properly. If only one element is operating the valve will experience a decrease in outlet temperature. For this reason the valve requires testing and maintenance on a regular basis. In the event of element failure, the cartridge will provide full cold water flow.

Emergency Accessories Emergency Replacement Parts
Emergency Replacement Parts include items such as eyewash bottles, testing equipment, and replacement parts.