Schools should develop their own maintenance and servicing schedule for all emergency equipment, plant and mechanical fixtures, electrical and electronic devices, etc. based on site-specific risk assessments carried out for each separate area.
Eye wash basins and showers
Design, installation and maintenance of emergency eyewash and shower equipment in any Australian facility should comply with ‘Australian Standard AS 4775: 2007 Emergency eyewash and shower equipment’. This specifies:
- weekly activation for a sufficient time to flush the supply line in order to show that it is working correctly, and that any dirt/residues and/or stagnant water in the hose/pipe is cleared.
Note: A written site-specific risk assessment can be undertaken in order to change the frequency of how often this task is performed.
- annual testing in accordance with the equipment manufacturer’s instructions to make sure that it complies with AS 4775-2007. A permanent compliance tag with the inspection records should be attached to this equipment.
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.
'Australian standard AS/NZS 2243.6-2010 Safety in laboratories: Plant and equipment aspect' states that all maintenance shall be conducted by competent persons in accordance with the equipment manufacturer’s instructions and the procedures for the laboratory or organisation.
There is a requirement under workplace health and safety legislations to ensure that plant and equipment at a workplace should be inspected and maintained by a competent person. Whilst there are no specific requirements for certification of testing of gas taps, schools should establish a regular and documented servicing schedule.
See below for further links and recommendations from Science ASSIST.
Emergency eyewash and showers
Best practice requires staff and students to use approved and appropriate eye, face and body protective equipment and clothing when there is a reasonable probability of a hazard or injury to eye, face and/or body exposure.
Emergency eye wash and safety showers are a part of the emergency response or first aid plan in the unfortunate event of an accident. Therefore, it is imperative that this equipment is kept serviced and maintained to ensure optimal performance when needed in an emergency situation. Each emergency shower/eyewash facility should be identified with a visible sign and staff and students inducted in their correct use.
Science ASSIST recommends the following for all plumbed emergency showers and eyewash facilities.
- A weekly visual inspection be conducted to:
- make sure that the emergency shower and eyewash are free of any obstructions to allow clear access;
- identify any broken parts or damage (e.g. to ensure that dustcovers are intact to protect the eyewash nozzles from dust and airborne contaminants); and
- check that there is no corrosion of the aerators of the eyewash nozzles.
- A weekly activation be conducted to ensure optimal performance.
- That the water flow is effective and continuous and remains activated without the use of the operator’s hands.
- That the eyewash delivers ‘low pressure, soft’ flow to both eyes simultaneously, so as not to cause any injury.
- Activation be carried out at full-flow pressure to allow any dirt/residues to be pushed out and washed away to maintain clean clear water in the units.
- Records should be kept of these activation tests indicating date and initials of the testing person.
- An annual inspection and testing be conducted.
- This inspection and testing should be performed by a competent person such as a licensed plumber to ensure proper flow rate and compliance with AS4775–2007.
- A compliance tag attached/completed.
- Records should be kept, including any findings.
- Non-compliant equipment should be reported for further action and tagged for identification.
- Note: For details of some companies who will perform this annual inspection and testing service, see the science ASSIST list of School science suppliers.
Science ASSIST has previously answered a few other questions relating to emergency eyewash and safety showers, see:
The following link has detailed and comprehensive information on how to carry out inspections or compliance tests on these devices. It also contains a few example templates for recording inspections which are listed in Appendix 1 to 5. EMERGENCY EYEWASH STATION AND SAFETY SHOWER GUIDELINES / University of Wollongong. https://staff.uow.edu.au/content/groups/public/@web/@ohs/documents/doc/uow148621.pdf
All equipment, including gas taps, should be maintained in good working order. However, it is a reality in schools that equipment can be subject to mischievous and sometimes malicious intent by students (e.g., deliberate insertion of objects into gas fittings). Therefore, Science ASSIST recommends the following actions.
- Regular checks and/or servicing of gas taps so as to maintain their functionality and assure safe operation. The gas taps should be checked for leaks, blockages and smooth functionality of the mechanism.
- A site-specific risk assessment should be carried out to determine the frequency of such tasks. In general this can be 6 monthly or an annual activity, or more regularly, based on the needs of the individual site.
- Schools may use outside contractors (i.e., gas plumbing technicians), when there are no in-house competent maintenance staff available.
- Records of these inspections/ servicing should be kept.
Science ASSIST has previously answered a similar question relating to testing gas shutoffs see: Testing emergency off buttons for power and gas
Safe Work Australia. 2014. Work Health and Safety Regulations. Safe Work Australia website. https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/swa/about/publications/pages/model-whs-regulations
Standards Australia 2007. AS 4775-2007 Emergency eyewash and shower equipment. Sydney, Australia.
Standards Australia. 2010. AS/NZS 2243 Safety in Laboratories, Part 6: 2010 Plant and equipment aspects. Sydney, Australia.