Eyewash, Drench Hose and Safety Shower

All emergency flushing equipment must be clear and unobstructed at all times. No storage is permitted within the eyewash station basin or over the eyewash station or shower that would prevent immediate recognition of the location or access to the emergency flushing equipment. An area around the equipment should be properly marked with safety tape (yellow-black stripes) on the floor.

When a piece of emergency flushing equipment is inoperable, the unit supervisor, laboratory manager, instructor shall assure that all employees or students that are working with a potentially hazardous material have been notified of the alternative flushing method prior to starting their work. This notification shall include the location of the next closest plumbed water source for flushing, which should be mounted in close proximity to the hazard area.

Eyewash, Drench Hose and Safety Shower Use

In the event of a chemical incident requiring emergency flushing:

  • Immediately begin flushing the eyes or other body part affected.
  • Other persons in the laboratory shall place a call to the College of Charleston EMS at 3-5611.
  • Continue the flushing as directed by the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for the hazardous material in use until EMS arrives to take control of the situation.
  • Make every effort to have a SDS or other information available about the chemical that was involved in the incident.

How to Use an Eyewash or Drench Hose

  1. Turn eyewash on, with the stream flowing, use your hands to hold your eyelids open and roll eyeballs up and down and sideways to allow sufficient flow into and around the eyes
  2. Flush eyes thoroughly for at least 15 minutes or as directed by the SDS, until EMS arrives and takes charge of your medical care
  3. If the exposure potential was significant enough for emergency flushing, EMS and medical care shall always be sought

How to Use the Safety Shower

  1. Activate the shower by pulling on the lever or handle
  2. In some cases, the shower may shut off automatically and will require pulling the handle again
  3. Remove any contaminated clothing and stay in the shower to remove any hazardous material
  4. Shower thoroughly for at least 15 minutes, or as directed by the SDS, until EMS arrives and takes charge of your medical care
  5. If the exposure potential was significant enough for emergency flushing, EMS and medical care shall always be sought.

If any emergency flushing equipment is not operating properly, Physical Plant must be contacted by telephone (X3-5550) or online. NOTE: Indicate that it is a safety issue to achieve top priority.

Any emergency use of emergency flushing equipment must be reported to the Director of EH&S (X3-6802) and an incident/accident form link must be filled out as soon as possible but not later than 24 hours after the incident.

Responsibilities for the Equipment

Department Heads are responsible for assuring that emergency flushing equipment within their departments is maintained and is functioning properly. It is recommended that each unit supervisor, instructor, or lab manager be designated to assure the status of this equipment in accordance with the guidelines.

Lab managers, instructors, unit supervisors are responsible for:

  1. Assuring that problems related to the maintenance or function of emergency flushing equipment are promptly reported to the department lab manager, and/or directly to Physical Plant (as applicable) by the web-based Maintenance Direct (see instructions on system use at: http://physicalplant.cofc.edu/maintenance-direct/using.php) or by telephone call (X3-5550);
  2. Assuring that eyewash stations and drench hoses in their designated areas are activated weekly and operation noted on the Activation log available attached to or posted in a conspicuous location in the proximity of the emergency flushing equipment;
  3. Coordinating with Physical Plant and EH&S to ensure the eyewash stations, drench hoses and emergency shower(s) in their designated areas are inspected and activated at least annually by Physical Plant and operation noted on the tag(s) attached to the emergency flushing equipment and
  4. Assuring that in their respective areas where portable eyewash single use bottles or gravity-fed units are used they are inspected weekly (by department designated personnel) and maintained as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Inspections must be documented in the Activation log. If the water supply is noticeably contaminated this finding must be documented on the Activation log.
  5. Assuring training is provided to personnel on use of the emergency flushing equipment.

Lab managers, instructors, unit supervisors and studentsare responsible for assuring that the emergency flushing equipment is never obstructed or rendered inoperable through the accumulation of materials or storage that prevents immediate access to this equipment.

Physical Plant designated personnel are responsible for:

  1. Developing a system for numbering and recording inspections, maintenance issues, and replacement of emergency flushing equipment. (EHS will direct the process for inspection and dating of the equipment checks)
  2. Inspecting and testing the College’s emergency flushing equipment on campus and all affected associated facilities at least annually;
  3. Noting the inspection and testing of emergency flushing equipment on the inspection tag(s) attached to the equipment;
  4. Coordinating with EH&S to replace equipment inspection tags, as appropriate;
  5. Responding in a timely manner to complaints of emergency flushing equipment failure or malfunction;
  6. Assuring that all work orders and maintenance records are maintained for each piece of emergency flushing equipment;
  7. Assuring that the emergency flushing equipment (to include drench hoses) has tepid potable water available at all times; and when not available, affected laboratories and other work areas where hazardous materials are present are notified immediately to ensure alternative means for emergency flushing are on-hand;
  8. Modifying eyewash drains, if applicable, to allow for weekly departmental checks of the eyewash fountains and
  9. Providing an annual inspection and testing report to the Director of EH&S.

Additional Resource