Eyewashes and Emergency Showers

Eyewashes and emergency showers are an important part of any laboratory. These devices can help save a life in the event of contamination. If you work with corrosive chemicals, you should be able to reach a functioning eyewash and safety shower within 10 seconds. Eyewashes and safety showers should be flushed and inspected frequently.

  • If you are exposed to chemicals and need to use an eyewash or emergency shower, you should flush the affected area for at least twenty minutes to remove the chemical. (The exception is HF exposure.) Be sure to contact a physician if the situation warrants.
  • Eyewashes should be checked weekly by laboratory personnel to ensure water flow and quality. This helps clean out any rust, scale deposits, and bacteria that may accumulate.
  • The area around safety equipment must always be free of clutter. It's impossible to get to a cluttered eyewash when your eyes are full of hydrochloric acid.
  • The shower pull should be kept at a height that can be reached by all people in the laboratory.
  • Eyewash nozzles should be protected by plastic end caps. These should be loose enough to be removed by the flow of water, but secure enough to prevent contamination from dust and chemicals.
  • Portable squeeze bottles are not acceptable as eyewash units.
  • Eyewashes and emergency showers should never be substituted for use of personal protective equipment (glasses, goggles, gloves, aprons, etc.)