OHS Code Explanation Guide

Published Date: July 01, 2009
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Part 4 Chemical Hazards, Biological Hazards and Harmful Substances

Section 24 Emergency baths, showers, eye wash equipment

Matching facilities to the hazard

The requirements of this section apply to any work site where chemicals harmful to the eyes or skin are used, not just chemical plants or laboratories. The employer is required to provide facilities so that chemicals splashed into the eyes or onto the body can be immediately diluted and washed away. Quick dilution and removal helps to minimize potential damage to the eyes, skin and body parts exposed to the chemical.

The facilities selected must be appropriate to the hazard and the extent to which workers are exposed to that hazard. For example, in a chemical processing plant where the potential exists for a worker to receive a chemical splash to the entire body, shower and eye wash stations must be provided. At another workplace where the hazard is limited to exposure of the eyes and face, an eye wash station may be sufficient.

Maintaining facilities

To be effective when needed, emergency baths, showers, eye wash and other similar equipment must be inspected and maintained according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

Emergency baths, showers, eye wash stations and similar equipment should be

(a) located on the same floor level and area as the work process that creates the hazard,
(b) unobstructed at all times for quick access, and
(c) marked with clear signage to indicate their location.

Recommended practices

The following recommended practices are not a mandatory part of the OHS Code, however meeting the requirements of the ANSI Standard described in the next paragraph are acceptable practices.

Employers and workers looking for additional information about emergency eyewash and shower equipment should refer to ISEA/ANSI Standard Z358.1-2004, American National Standard for Emergency Eyewash and Shower Equipment. The Standard establishes minimum performance requirements for eyewash and shower equipment for the emergency treatment of the eyes or body of a person who has been exposed to injurious materials. It covers the following types of equipment: emergency showers, eyewash equipment, eye and face wash equipment, handheld drench hoses and combination shower and eyewash or eye and face wash equipment. The Standard is intended to provide uniform minimum requirements for equipment performance, installation, test procedures, maintenance and training in order to assure the worker of a minimum level of first aid.