If personnel in your facility can at any point be exposed to corrosive or otherwise hazardous chemicals, you must install emergency eyewash and shower equipment. You should check with your employer to determine the specific regulations that apply to your workplace, as certain industries like paper manufacturing and the storage of ammonia have more stringent standards.
Generally, however, OSHA states that "suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body shall be provided within the work area for immediate emergency use."
There are two types of emergency showers: plumbed and self-contained. Self-contained showers have a designated water supply tank, which must be refilled after each use.
Plumbed showers are connected to the facility's main water supply and are subject to a number of additional standards. The valves of these showers must be kept open at all times in case of emergency, and the water must activate within one second. The federally mandated flow rate is 20 gallons per second.
The showers must be installed in a location that takes no more than ten seconds for any designated employee to reach. Additional restrictions may apply, depending on the specific chemicals used in your facility.
Emergency eye wash
Similarly, there are both plumbed and self-contained eye wash stations.
This equipment must also activate within one second and have a stay-open valve to ensure hands-free use, and be located no more than ten seconds' distance from the hazard. They also have to release water at .4 gallons per minute.
The stations must be placed in an identified, unobstructed area on the same level as the hazard to ensure easy access for all employees.
If you handle hazardous chemicals at your workplace, be sure that your facility is equipped with emergency eye wash and shower stations. These pieces of equipment can save employees' lives and are required by OSHA.