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OSHA Regulations

OSHA regulations, safe work practices and common sense demand that, where workers are handling potentially dangerous chemicals or other materials, the workplace be equipped with equipment for rinsing the eyes, face or body in case an accident occurs. While this seems like a simple matter, selecting, installing, using, and maintaining emergency equipment can be complicated. A variety of considerations – ranging from design issues such as tepid water and drainage to differences in equipment performance – make the process complex.

This web site contains complete engineering and technical data on Guardian products. In addition, this web site is intended to serve as a reference manual for the proper selection, installation, use and maintenance of emergency eye wash and shower equipment. Hopefully, the information contained in this web site will assist ou customers in constructing a comprehensive emergency equipment program.

Emergency Equipment as the “Third Line of Defense”

While emergency equipment is a necessary part of a safe work environment, it must be emphasized that it is only the “third line of defense” for workers in such environments. The first line of defense must always be setting up the work area and designing the work flow and processes to minimize the possibility of an accident occurring. Many factors go into making a workplace safe. However, such practices as storing hazardous materials in proper containers, marking the containers clearly and accurately, and keeping the workplace clean and well organized can have a significant impact on minimizing the likelihood of an accident occurring.

The “second line of defense” for workers is assuring that, when workers do have to handle dangerous materials, personal protective equipment is provided and used. Proper protective clothing, gloves and eye protection (such as goggles and face shields) can change a potentially life-threatening spill into a harmless event.
However, even where work processes have been designed to minimize the possibility of an accident, and even where proper protective equipment is in use, it is still possible that an accident can occur. For this reason, it is necessary that effective, functioning emergency eye wash and shower equipment be provided.

Emergency Equipment as the “Third Line of Defense”

Constructing an emergency equipment program begins with a review of the OSHA requirements for such equipment. OSHA has developed a series of regulations that require the use of emergency eye wash and shower equipment as a form of first aid treatment. The broadest requirement for eye wash and shower usage is found in 29 CFR 1910.151, which states that “where the eyes or body of any person may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials, suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body shall be provided within the work area for immediate emergency use.”

This regulation requires that, anywhere there is a risk of a worker being injured by contact with harmful materials, the employer must provide a means for immediate rinsing away of such materials. The equipment for rinsing the contaminants must be suitable for that use, located within the work area, and able to be utilized immediately in the event of an emergency. The regulation does not, however, specify what constitutes “suitable facilities” for drenching or flushing the eyes and body. The employer is free to select the equipment which is best suited for the type of workplace and the type of risk involved.

In addition to this general requirement, OSHA has also adopted regulations that are applicable to particular workplaces and work activities. The following are areas that are specifically addressed by OSHA:

ANSI Standard Z358.1

The OSHA regulations listed in 29 CFR determine where and when emergency eye wash and shower equipment must be installed. These regulations do not, however, specify design characteristics or minimum performance levels for this equipment. The American National Standards Institute has adopted ANSI Standard Z358.1 “Emergency Eye Wash and Shower Equipment” to address these issues. This standard serves as a guide for the proper design, performance and installation of emergency equipment to comply with OSHA regulations. The standard was most recently updated in 2004.

Guardian Equipment offers an ANSI Z358.1-2004 “Compliance Checklist”. This checklist summarizes and graphically presents the provisions of ANSI Z358.1-2004 with respect to each type of emergency equipment. The checklist can be used to assist in the proper selection, installation and maintenance of emergency equipment. It can also be used in performing an audit of existing emergency equipment. The Compliance Checklist is included in this catalog. The second page of each product section contains the page of the checklist that deals with the type of equipment shown in that section.
See Guardian's ANSI standard guide

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