Safety showers and eyewash stations help ensure the health and safety of your employees, providing on-the-spot first aid treatment following contact with hazardous chemicals or debris.
All facilities that work with dangerous materials should conduct a thorough risk assessment, enforce appropriate control measures such as elimination and isolation controls, and provide fit for purpose personal protective equipment (PPE) and suitable safety and eye wash stations.
Assessing the risk
In workplaces where workers are exposed to harmful chemicals or debris such as dust, sand, welding slag or glass, a thorough risk assessment that considers the types of injuries that may occur should be carried out to identify effective risk management strategies.
It is important to note that safety showers and eyewashes - while important - are first aid equipment not risk controls measures.
The hierarchy of control should be used to implement primary control measures including elimination and isolation controls, as well as PPE as a last line of defence. Safety showers and eyewash stations should be installed to supplement these measures.
When are safety showers and eyewashes used?
Safety showers are used to flush the skin of chemicals and other contaminants and minimise the effects of accidental contact, as well as for emergency first aid burn treatment. Immediately after contact, the area should be flushed for a minimum of 15 minutes.
Eyewashes are used to irrigate and flush the eye area to treat injuries caused by splashing, itching or rubbing the eyes while dealing with toxic or corrosive chemicals, or exposure to debris through PPE or equipment malfunction.
Immediately after contact, the area should be flushed for a minimum of 15 minutes. The pressure of safety showers or drench hoses is not suitable for eye irrigation and purpose-built eye washing stations are required.
Where should safety showers and eyewashes be installed?
In accordance with Australian Standard AS4775, safety showers and eyewashes must be located no more than 10 seconds from identified hazards. They must be on the same level as the hazard and the path between the two must be unobstructed.
The safety washing station should be clearly identifiable with signage and a green light, and the surrounding area should be well illuminated.
All staff should know exactly where the safety washing stations are located and how to operate them. Regular first aid training encourages positive safety outcomes.
For more information or to enquire about safety showers and eyewash stations, contact Big Safety to discuss your requirements.