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5.5.1 Testing and Inspection of Emergency Eyewash and Showers

The ANSI Standard provides guidance by stating that plumbed emergency eyewash and safety showers should be activated weekly to verify proper operation and inspected annually. Regular activation (weekly flushing) ensures the units are operating properly, helps to keep the units free of clutter, and helps prevent the growth of bacteria within the plumbing lines, which can cause eye infections. It is recommended to allow the water to run for at least 3 minutes. EHS strongly encourages laboratories to post an “Eyewash Testing Sheet” near the eyewash to keep track and document that weekly activation is occurring.

Laboratories are responsible for activating eyewashes in their spaces and ensuring that access to eyewashes and emergency showers are kept free of clutter and ensuring the eyewash nozzle dust covers are kept in place. If nozzle dust covers are not kept on the eyewash nozzles, dust or other particles can clog the nozzles and effect water flow. This could result in dust or other particles being forced into the eyes when the eyewash is used.

Report any malfunctioning eyewashes and emergency showers to your Building Coordinator to have the unit repaired. If either the emergency shower or eyewash is not working properly, posta Do Not Use sign on the unit to alert others.

EHS performs free annual inspections of eyewashes and emergency showers. EHS will test units for compliance with ANSI Z358.1-2014 including: 

  • Test the water flow for proper quantity, spray pattern, and good water quality. 
  • Ensure the unit is the proper height from the floor. 
  • Ensure the unit is not obstructed. 
  • Ensure the unit has a tempering valve (if the unit does not have a tempering valve, this will be identified as a recommended repair in the inspection report). 
  • Ensure valves are working properly. 
  • Ensure signs are posted. 
  • Ensure the unit is free of corrosion.

Area Managers or delegates may conduct this annual inspection. Completion of the CULearn module #2720 explaining how to conduct the inspection and reporting process. In addition to affirming completion of the module, SEW Area Tester Guidelines can be used as a reference.