Water Works: Examining Eyewash Stations and Emergency Showers

DF SafetyHealth and Safety Tips, Workplace Safety

Eyewash stations and emergency showers are essential pieces of safety equipment found in workplaces where employees may be exposed to hazardous materials. They are critical for quickly flushing out chemicals or other harmful substances from the eyes and skin to help prevent injury or minimize damage.  

What is an eye wash station? 

Eye wash stations are used to rinse the eyes and face which should be utilized immediately to flush out hazardous substances. They commonly have a basin or fountain that provides a continuous flow of water. They should be easily accessible, and located within a short distance from spaces where any chemicals or hazards are handled.  

What is an emergency shower? 

Emergency showers are large units which provide a significant amount of water that is used to rinse chemicals or dangerous substances from the entire body. The safety shower is generally started by pulling a handle or pressing a button, allowing for a continuous flow of water. They are usually located where there is high risk of exposure. 

The importance of safety showers and eye wash stations 

According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), “The first 10 to 15 seconds after exposure to a hazardous product, especially a corrosive product, are critical. Delaying treatment, even for a few seconds, may contribute to a serious injury.”  

It is vital to ensure that proper work procedures are in place and followed and that personal protective equipment (PPE) is always used. Invest in safety glasses that are fitted to your needs and ensure you wear them consistently. Check that the safety glasses are high quality, which can prevent fogging and headaches. 

When it comes to job sites, all protective eyewear in Canada must have the CSA mark on it to show that it meets Canadian Standards Association (CSA) requirements. As outlined by the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety, “CSA-certified eye and face protectors must meet the criteria for impact resistance as outlined in the standard. Only devices made of approved materials are permitted.”

Also, “the manufacturer or supplier certification mark must be present on all approved safety lenses, frames (front and temple), removable side shields, and other parts of the glasses, goggles, or helmets.” 

Emergency showers and eyewash stations should serve as backup and never replace proper safety policies that are intended to help prevent these types of incidents from occurring.  

Currently, there isn’t a Canadian standard for the design or placement of eyewash stations or emergency showers. DF Safety can help your business ensure that you are following relevant legislation for any requirement for this type of equipment.

Give us a call today, and let us help you create a safe environment for all workers.