Ensure Workplace Safety: Avoid These Critical Errors to Protect Your Employees 

In this article, we will explore the five common mistakes workplaces make when setting up these crucial safety devices and how to avoid them. By the end, you’ll understand how to improve your workplace safety and ensure your employees are well-protected during emergencies. 

1. Placing Eyewashes and Safety Showers Too Far from Hazards
One of the most common mistakes is positioning emergency eyewashes and safety showers too far from potential hazards. According to AS4775, these devices should be located within a 10-second walking distance from any area where hazardous materials are used. Ensuring proximity means that in the event of an accident, employees can reach the equipment quickly, minimizing the risk of severe injury. Regularly review your workplace layout and workflow to ensure that your safety equipment is correctly positioned. 

 2. Obstructed Access to Equipment
Another frequent issue is obstructed access to eyewashes and safety showers. In an emergency, clear and immediate access is crucial. Ensure that pathways to these safety stations are free of obstacles such as equipment, furniture, or stored materials. Also ensure there are no dips, steps or trip hazards that could cause further injuries and delays to the patient. Conduct regular workplace inspections and maintain good housekeeping practices to ensure unobstructed access, allowing employees to respond swiftly when necessary. 

 3. Inadequate Maintenance and Testing
Proper maintenance and regular testing of emergency eyewashes and safety showers are essential for ensuring they function correctly when needed. Many workplaces neglect weekly checks, leading to equipment malfunction due to issues like clogged nozzles or rust. Establish a routine schedule for inspections and maintenance to keep your safety equipment in optimal condition. Australian Standards require and annual inspection by a suitably qualified person. This practice ensures that the equipment is ready for use at any time. 

 4. Improper Water Temperature
The temperature of the water supplied to emergency eyewashes and safety showers is a critical factor. Water that is too hot or too cold can cause additional discomfort or harm. It’s essential to ensure the water temperature is tepid, ideally between 60-100°F (15-38°C). Installing temperature-controlled mixing valves can help maintain the appropriate water temperature, providing a safe and effective decontamination process for employees. 

 5. Insufficient Training and Signage
Even the best-placed and well-maintained equipment is ineffective if employees are not trained to use it correctly. Regular training sessions are necessary to familiarize employees with the location and operation of emergency eyewashes and safety showers. Additionally, clear signage should be posted to guide employees to these stations quickly. Adequate training and clear instructions can significantly reduce response time and improve the effectiveness of emergency responses. 

Properly positioning and maintaining emergency eyewashes and safety showers is fundamental to workplace safety. By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure that your employees have immediate access to lifesaving equipment, reducing the risk of severe injuries. Furthermore, embracing broader health initiatives, such as those highlighted during Lung Health Awareness Month, can reinforce your commitment to a safe, healthy and productive workplace. Stay vigilant, stay informed, and prioritize safety in every aspect of your work environment. 

Summary: Discover the five common mistakes in positioning and maintaining emergency eyewashes and learn how to avoid them for optimal workplace safety. This guide covers essential tips for ensuring quick access and proper maintenance, enhancing employee protection and compliance with safety standards.