Emergency Eyewash and Shower

Emergency showers and eyewash stations provide on-the-spot decontamination. They allow workers to flush away hazardous substances that can cause injury.

Employers must install emergency eyewash or shower stations when there is a risk that a worker’s eyes or skin could come in contact with hazardous substances . Currently, all emergency showers and eyewash fountains must comply with ANSI standard ANSI Z358.1-1990, “American National Standard for Emergency Eyewash and Shower Equipment”. Proposed changes to the regulation will cite the more recent ANSI Standard Z358.1. Copies of either edition of the standard can be purchased at the ANSI webstore.

There are different types of emergency eyewash and safety showers. Some are stand-alone systems of emergency eyewash and shower stations, some are combination systems, most are hooked up to plumbing and some are portable units that can be transported to isolated locations where installing a plumbed in unit is impractical. Portable units are beneficial on construction and other isolated work sites. It’s important that the water be kept at a comfortable temperature. The ANSI standard provides guidance on this.

Eyewash Shower

Eyewash Shower

Emergency Eyewash Station

Emergency Eyewash Station

Inflatable Decontamination Shower

Inflatable Decontamination Shower

Shower Eyes

Shower Eyes

The sooner the flushing starts, the better the chances are of eye and skin recovery. The flushing should start as soon as possible but at least within 10 seconds of the chemical splash to minimize tissue damage. If the injured worker is taken directly to the hospital for first aid without flushing at the worksite, the chemical may have time to cause permanent eye or skin damage.

As an employer you must:

  • Install emergency showers and eyewash according to the ANSI standard.
  • Ensure the eyewash station and emergency showers are well identified and provide signage.
  • Locate the emergency shower or eyewash according to the workspace, but be sure the equipment is no more than a 10 second reach from the workers.
  • Keep the pathway to the emergency shower and eyewash clear of obstructions. The area should be kept neat and easily accessible.
  • Store loose clothing (such as a hospital gown) and/or blankets near the emergency shower.
  • Install a modesty curtain.
  • Leave dust covers supplied with the eyewash in place. They prevent dust and debris from falling inside the eyewash heads and becoming projectiles when the unit is turned on.
  • Test the emergency shower and eyewash weekly, and before performing high-risk tasks.
  • Not use a residential shower stall as an emergency shower. Residential shower stalls do not meet the ANSI standard for adequate flow of flushing fluid.
  • Make sure all workers are trained to use the emergency shower and eyewash stations. For example, when rinsing the eyes, to effectively remove the hazardous substance, it’s important to keep the eye lids open as follows:

Eye / Face Wash

Eye / Face Wash

General Regulation - Occupational Health and Safety Act
N.B. Reg. 91-191

Part II SANITATION AND ACCOMMODATION

Section 11 Emergency Eyewash and Shower

11. (1) Where an employee's skin or eyes may be exposed to contamination from materials at a place of employment, an employer shall provide emergency showers or eyewash fountains in the area where the contamination may occur.

(2) An employer shall ensure that an emergency shower or eyewash fountain provided under subsection (1) complies with the requirements of ANSI standard ANSI Z358.1-1990, "American National Standard for Emergency Eyewash and Shower Equipment".

[N.B. Reg. 2001-33, ss. 3, 4]

12. - 13. Repealed. [N.B. Reg. 2004-130, s. 15]