There is a requirement for school science departments to provide emergency eyewash and shower equipment. A local risk assessment is required to determine the equipment type and number required for a particular school setting. The following legislative requirements and Australian Standards apply in Australia with the most relevant quotes included below.
Code of Practice for First Aid in the workplace[i]
See: https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/doc/model-code-practice-first-aid-w... (link Updated August 2017)
Section 3.3 Other first aid equipment:
In addition to first aid kits, you should consider whether any other first aid equipment is necessary to treat the injuries or illnesses that could occur as a result of a hazard at your workplace….
EYE WASH AND SHOWER EQUIPMENT
Eye wash and shower equipment may be permanently fixed or portable, depending on the workplace. 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 shower equipment in workplaces where there is a risk of:
- exposure to hazardous chemicals resulting in skin absorption or contamination from infectious substances
- serious burns to a large area of the face or body (including chemical or electrical burns or burns that are deep, in sensitive areas or greater than a 20 cent piece).
Further guidance is available in AS 4775 – Emergency eyewash and shower equipment
AS/NZS 2243 Safety in Laboratories, Part 10: 2004 Storage of chemicals[ii]
Section 5.11 Safety Equipment states
The following safety equipment shall be available and accessible to users of the laboratory chemical store and any associated loading bay or dock:
- A permanently fixed, aerated eyewash facility capable of operation in a hands- free mode once activated
- At least one safety shower capable of operation in a hands- free mode once activated (see also AS/NZS 2982.1)
- Adequate first aid facilities and supplies (see appropriate National, State or Territory regulations)
AS/NZS 2982.2010 Laboratory design and construction[iii]
Section 6: Health and Safety Requirements states
6.2.1 Provision of equipment
At least one safety shower and eyewash or eye/face wash facility shall be installed, in each laboratory where hazardous substances are used. See Clause 3.9.4.
1 Safety showers, eyewashes and eye/face washers may be supported but not replaced with hand-held drench hoses.
2 Safety showers should not normally be used to remove microbiological contamination due to the hazards associated with aerosol creation and possible spread of contamination. However if chemical hazards are present in a microbiology laboratory, a safety shower is still required.
6.2.2 Operation and access
Each safety shower, eyewash or eye/face wash facility shall be capable of operation so that water flow remains constant without requiring the use of the operator’s hands.
These devices and their activating mechanisms shall be located so that the approach to them is unobstructed.
NOTE: A travel distance not exceeding 15 m (corresponding to approximately 10 seconds travel time) to such devices from any point in the laboratory is considered good practice. Lesser travel distances may be appropriate for high risk applications.
6.2.3 Equipment specifications
Safety shower, eyewash and eye/face wash equipment shall comply with AS 4775.
AS 4775-2007 Emergency eyewash and shower equipment
This standard contains design, installation and maintenance provisions for emergency safety shower, eyewash and eye/face wash equipment. It also includes instructions for the weekly testing of the equipment as well as training requirements for employees exposed to hazardous materials.
Here is a link to a University of Queensland document which contains a good summary of the requirements https://ppl.app.uq.edu.au/content/2.30.03-emergency-eyewash-and-safety-shower-equipment
[i] Safe Work Australia ‘First aid in the workplace’ February 2016, CC BY NC 3.0 AU https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/au/
[ii] This extract is from AS/NZS 2243 Safety in Laboratories, Part 10: 2004 ‘Storage of chemicals’ reproduced with permission from SAI Global Ltd under Licence 1407-c117
[iii] This extract is from AS/NZS 2243 2982.2010 ‘Laboratory design and construction’ reproduced with permission from SAI Global Ltd under Licence 1407-c117