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In all laboratories and facilities where the risk of chemical exposure is present, your employer is required to have, and clearly mark, a safety shower and an eye wash station. These facilities are in place to provide immediate relief in the event of exposure for an employee. The faster the response to those incidents, the higher likelihood of a safe outcome.
Depending on the type of chemical, and the personal protective equipment you may be wearing, the use of a safety shower may be required. A safety shower’s purpose is to quickly wash and disinfect the employee from a chemical exposure. One of the most important aspects is the speed to which an employee can access one. It should never take more than ten seconds for an employee to reach a safety shower and to start it. The location of it must also be on the same level as where the potential chemical exposure is occurring.
Eye Wash Stations
Eye wash stations are similar to safety shower requirements, but are primarily focused on the removal and reduction of exposure from a hazard in an employee’s eyes. They should also be present in the workplace around any potential eye hazards and take a maximum of ten seconds for an employee to reach.
One of the most preventative measures for both safety showers and eye wash stations is to test their effectiveness on a weekly basis. This not only includes turning them on, but ensuring the pressure is high enough to clean an employee in the event of an incident.