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safety showers & eye washes

Submitted by sat on 21 March 2019

Considering your different questions:

Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) or Risk assessment

Science ASSIST does not currently have an SOP or Risk assessment for the testing of safety showers and eye wash facilities. Your school jurisdiction may have their own policy/guidelines which should be consulted. The University of Sydney has both an Eyewash and Safety Shower Testing SOP and completed risk assessment form which you could use as a guide to writing your own1,2.

The University of Queensland and University of Wollongong also have some guidelines that may be helpful3,4.

Points for consideration include:

Frequency of testing:

It is important to have emergency response equipment working optimally at all times. For example, in the event of an eye injury, it would not be desirable to flood an injured eye with dirty or stagnant water. Science ASSIST does not recommend varying the frequency of testing the eyewash. Changing the frequency of weekly flushing for safety showers should be carefully considered with a site-specific risk assessment in line with the type of hazardous material being handled.

Testing requirements according to AS 4775­-2007are as follows:

The standard does not specify the qualifications of the person conducting the weekly activation or annual test, but does state that all relevant instructions from the manufacturer should be accessible to the person providing the maintenance.

Many university departments test their shower and eyewash facilities monthly, however if dealing with very corrosive chemicals with a high splash potential then a weekly check is advisable4. Some universities test eyewashes weekly and safety showers monthly1.

If you are concerned about the mess from water when testing a shower, then you may wish to consider purchasing a shower test sock. For example, see http://prattsafety.com.au/safety-showers/showers-products/se950-2/. You could collect the water in a bucket and put the water on the garden.

Water flow rate:

The volume required for different safety shower/eyewash equipment varies as indicated below:

Note that the maximum flow rate for domestic showers is 9L/min6

As your school cannot deliver more water volume than what is supplied (without additional engineering and cost), we consider that it is reasonable to make note of the current flow rate and check that it is effective and continuous to provide:

If these parameters are met then Science ASSIST considers that your school is doing what is reasonably practical to meet its first aid obligations to provide a suitable emergency shower/eyewash facility

First aid obligations

Workplaces have a duty to provide adequate first aid facilities. The Model Code of Practice for First Aid in the workplace provides guidance on meeting these obligations. Contact the regulator in your state/territory to determine if this code of practice applies in your jurisdiction.

This code of practice states7:

“Eye wash and shower equipment

Emergency eye wash equipment should be provided where there is a risk of hazardous chemicals or infectious substances causing eye injuries.

Immediate access should be provided to emergency shower equipment in workplaces where there is a risk of:

Shower facilities can consist of:

Eye wash and shower equipment may be permanently fixed or portable, depending on the workplace. Portable, self-contained eye wash or shower units have their own flushing fluid to flush chemicals, foreign objects or substances from the eyes or body. They need to be refilled or replaced after use.

Further guidance is available in AS 4775–2007: Emergency eyewash and shower equipment.”

In summary:

We suggest that you prepare information for your administration to consider and seek confirmation from your jurisdiction or governing body that the school is meeting compliance with the Workplace Health and Safety duties. This information should include but not limited to:

Previous Q&As

We have previously answered a few questions on the topic of emergency showers and eyewash facilities, that may be helpful.

Chemical use in Junior laboratories

Emergency eye wash basins, showers and gas taps

LAB SAFETY

Safety Shower Requirements

AIS: Plant and equipment maintenance and servicing schedule

References:

1 University of Sydney. 2014. Standard operating procedure. Eyewash and safety shower testing, University of Sydney website, https://sydney.edu.au/science/molecular_bioscience/ohs/documents/sop/SOP...

2 University of Sydney. 2015. Risk Assessment Form. Eyewash and safety shower testing, University of Sydney website, https://sydney.edu.au/science/molecular_bioscience/ohs/documents/RAs%202...

3 ‘2.30.03 Emergency Eyewash and Safety Shower Equipment’, University of Queensland website.  https://ppl.app.uq.edu.au/content/2.30.03-emergency-eyewash-and-safety-shower-equipment (29 August 2014)

4 University of Wollongong. 2016. Emergency eyewash station and safety shower guidelines. University of Wollongong website, https://staff.uow.edu.au/content/groups/public/@web/@ohs/documents/doc/uow148621.pdf

5 Standards Australia. 2007. AS 4775-2007 Emergency eyewash and shower equipment. Sydney Australia. Reproduced with permission from SAI Global Ltd under Licence 1407-c117.

6 Victorian Building Authority. 2014. Technical Solution Sheet 5.06. 5: Cold Water Plumbing (Duplicate of 6.05 (Hot Water Plumbing), Victorian Building Authority website, https://www.vba.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0014/22361/5.06-Cold-Water-Plumbing-Maximum-Outlet-Pressure-Within-Buildings-Water-Supply-Flow-Rates.pdf

7 Safe Work Australia. 2018. ‘First aid in the workplace – Code of Practice’, Safe Work Australia website, https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/doc/model-code-practice-first-aid-w...

 

Science ASSIST. 2015. AIS: Risk Management and risk assessment, Science ASSIST website, /resource/3079/ais-risk-management-and-risk-assessment

Standards Australia. 2007. AS4775-2007 Emergency eyewash and shower equipment. Sydney, Australia.