Many industrial facilities handle corrosive chemicals that can cause serious burns and tissue damage if they come into contact with a person’s skin. When a person is splashed with one of these chemicals, he or she needs to be able to quickly get to an emergency shower quickly in order to wash off the corrosive or burning liquid with large quantities of water. An emergency eyewash removes the chemicals from eye tissue.
Before designing a safety shower system, it is first necessary to identify the most likely release points and to determine the likelihood of a person being present if a release does occur at that point. (Release point identification can be carried out as part of a Process Hazards Analysis.) Typical release points are:
- Sample points;
- Pump seals;
- Tank overflow lines; and
- Low-point drains.
Once the release points have been identified the following guidance can be used to determine where a safety shower and eyewash station should be located.
- The ANSI standard Z358.1 requires that a person be able to reach an emergency shower within 10 seconds, but it does not specify a distance. One company interprets this to mean that the shower should be no closer than 10 feet nor further than 50 feet (15 meters) from the release point. NFPA 101 (NFPA 2015) suggests that a distance of 75 feet (23 meters) can be traversed in approximately 10 to 15 seconds.
- The shower should be easy to identify, even if a person is in pain due to the chemical contact, or if the chemical has partially covered their eyes, safety glasses, or face mask
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