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Eye showers and emergency showers are mandatory first aid facilities for workplaces where employees may come into contact with hazardous substances, acids, alkalis, heat, flames and also extreme dirt. Eye showers are used to rinse the eyes and face in emergencies. Emergency showers are used to extinguish and decontaminate people after accidents.

Eye showers must comply with EN 15154-2:2006 in Europe and ANSI Z358.1-2014 in the USA.

Emergency showers in Europe must comply with EN 15154-1:2006 (Body showers in laboratories) and EN 15154-5:2019 (Body showers for locations other than laboratories / replacement for DIN 12899-3:2009). In the U.S., ANSI Z358.1-2014 also applies to emergency showers.

Further national standards may have to be observed. In addition, company standards may need to be considered when selecting an eye shower or safety shower.

In general, eye showers and safety showers must be installed as close as possible to the hazardous workplace. Choose a location that can be reached quickly from the hazardous areas. Access to the shower must be kept clear at all times. The area around the shower must always be well lit – even in the event of a power failure. The shower itself must be marked by signs that are clearly visible from all sides.

When considering a possible location for an eye shower or safety shower, the following aspects should be considered:

  • What is the ambient temperature at the planned location?
  • Is there a possibility to collect potentially contaminated water?
  • Is a safe water supply available at sufficient line pressure?
  • Is the shower to be installed in a potentially explosive area?
  • Have you considered electrical requirements such as ATEX?
  • Can the shower be disabled for maintenance?

To avoid damage to furniture and flooring, an eye shower should be installed in the area of a sink so that the water escaping from the shower can be channelled away. When using the safety shower, no consequential damage should be caused by escaping water. If necessary, the escaping shower water must be safely drained off with enclosures and catch basins.

Specific requirements for eye showers and safety showers are derived from the risk assessment for your site. The number of eye showers and emergency showers required can also be determined from this. It is possible that the company’s own standards must be taken into account.

Safety data sheets for the hazardous substances used usually provide further information to identify the chemical risk and the consequential hazards. They provide information on recommended decontamination procedures required for the chemicals in question in the event of an incident or skin contact. For example, if ammonia comes into contact with the skin, the affected area must be rinsed with warm water at 25°C to 30°C for at least 15 minutes.

Eye showers and emergency showers must be supplied with drinking water or water of comparable quality. In Germany, the Drinking Water Ordinance applies to the construction of the water network.

To protect the drinking water network, B-SAFETY hand-held eye showers have an integrated backflow preventer of protection class 2 in accordance with EN 1717 (protection class 3 for short periods). Optional backflow preventers are also available for the other eye showers and safety showers.

All B-SAFETY eye showers and safety showers are designed for a maximum operating pressure of 10 bar (PN10). In order to achieve the volume flow rates required by the standards, the following minimum flow pressures must be ensured:

  • Eye showers with one shower head: at least 1.5 bar flow pressure
  • Eye showers with two shower heads: at least 2.5 bar flow pressure
  • Emergency showers with a volume flow of 50 l/min: at least 1.5 bar flow pressure
  • Emergency showers with a flow rate of 75 l/min / 20 GPM: at least 2.5 bar flow pressure

EN 15154-2:2006 requires a minimum flow rate of 6 litres per minute for eye showers for all applications, regardless of the number of outlets. The jet height should be 100 to 300 mm before the jet collapses. B-SAFETY eye showers are equipped with high-performance shower heads that deliver a particularly soft water jet optimized for rinsing out chemicals in the eye.

ANSI Z358.1-2014 distinguishes between eye showers and eye/face showers. A minimum flow rate of 1.5 liters/minute or 0.4 GPM is required for eye/face showers and 11.4 liters/minute or 3 GPM for eye/face showers.

B-SAFETY eye showers have different volume flows depending on the number of high-performance shower heads:

  • Eye showers with one shower head: 7 litres / minute (1.8 GPM)
  • Eye showers with two shower heads: 14 litres / minute (3.6 GPM)

ANSI Z358.1-2014 requires a minimum flow rate of 75 liters / minute or 20 GPM for all body safety showers. In comparison, EN 15154-5:2019 defines hazard classes I, II and III and assigns volume flows of 30-60, 60-100 and more than 100 litres / minute to them.

B-SAFETY body safety showers have different volume flows depending on the hazard class. In the laboratory sector, for example, a volume flow of 50 litres / minute has become established. In industry, a volume flow of 75 litres / minute has proven to be effective, as the quantities of hazardous substances are sometimes much higher.

For eye showers and safety showers, at least a weekly function test (a few seconds) is recommended to ensure regular replacement of the standing water. This also ensures that the shower is ready for use at short notice.

All B-SAFETY safety showers are designed to be self-draining between the trigger valve and the shower head to prevent contamination of standing water in advance.

Optionally, all B-SAFETY safety showers can be equipped with CleanLine filter systems, which provide only 100% purified and sterile water for first aid use.

In the case of eye rinsing during first aid, the eye wash should not have direct contact with the contaminated eye or its surroundings. The black rubber protection on the B-SAFETY eye shower only serves as protection against impact injuries. An optimum rinsing effect is achieved at a distance of approx. 150 mm. The diameter of the beam cone at this height is approx. 80 mm. It is recommended to hold the eye open with both hands for application. Seek medical attention!

If possible, the shower head(s) should be emptied after each operation by holding the shower head downwards. This prevents standing water in the shower head and minimizes the possibility of germs.

Eye showers and safety showers must be checked for function at least once a month. This not only checks the function, but also replaces the stagnant water in the shower with fresh water (protection against germs). To reduce microbiological contamination, it is recommended to use the shower at shorter intervals (e.g. weekly).

In order to ensure that eye showers and safety showers are always ready for use, it is recommended that the showers are subjected to regular (at least annual) and extensive maintenance. As part of this maintenance, the shower is to be visually inspected for its closing behaviour, any leaks and soiling such as dust or limescale deposits. Defective parts must be replaced immediately.

The installation, commissioning and maintenance of an eye shower or safety shower may only be carried out by a specialist in accordance with the instructions supplied and in compliance with the statutory regulations and the recognised rules of technology. The technical conditions of the local water and energy supply companies must be observed.