Compliance: Will you be prepared when the inspector comes to call?

Compliance is not a sporadic, ad hoc responsibility. Instead it should be thought of as a religious commitment or a way of life.

Forget that the inspector may arrive at any time; the lives of your most important asset—your human capital—are on the line whenever your facility is up and running. Oh, and if it’s money that’s on your mind, potential six-figure fines for non-compliance will provide additional incentive to ensure all your ducks are in a row.

As a recent issue of Industrial Safety and Hygiene news reiterates, continual compliance is the order of the day when it comes to dealing with workplace spill, splash and blow particulate incidents.

“Manufacturers have come a long way in designing better and better ways of minimizing the collateral damage associated with in-plant injuries,” Casey Hayes writes in the informative article entitled “A checklist for compliance: Are you ready for an inspection?”

Part of the safety infrastructure required to respond to spill, splash and blow particulate incidents are emergency showers and eyewashes.

The go-to document for minimal requirements pertaining to emergency showers and eyewashes is ANSI standard Z358.1. And while it is important all facility managers refer to this document, last updated in 2004, regularly, ISHN has made things easy for facility managers by culling a convenient checklist from the document. Here’s a rundown:

  • The 10-second rule: can your emergency showers and eyewashes be reached within 10 seconds of the hazards in question?
  • Visibility: Are your emergency wash stations identified by large, clearly visible signage?
  • Valves: Can wash stations be activated easily and within one second or less? Remember, in the event of an emergency, the user could be temporarily blinded.
  • Protection: Are the spray nozzles protected from exposure to any contaminants? Note that the protective mechanism should be removed automatically as the wash station is activated.
  • Water: Eye wash stations must eject clean, plumbed and self-contained water
  • Flow: Face and eye washers must feature controlled flow at a minimal rate of 1.5 litres per minute. Eye washers must be equipped to flush both eyes simultaneously.
  • Nozzles: Eyewash outlet nozzles must be at least six inches from walls or any other obstructions.
  • Shower heads: Emergency shower wash heads must stand between 33” and 45” above the floor. Drench showers must eject water at 20 gpm, stand between 82” and 96” high, and feature flow patterns 20” wide at 60” above the floor.
  • Obstructions: No barriers should exist within 16” of the centre of a drench shower or shower/eyewash combination.

Additionally, remember that combination shower/eyewash equipment is subject to the individual standards that apply to each component individually. Also, this equipment must be capable of performing both essential tasks simultaneously.

While manual monitoring of safety compliance is possible, large companies stand to benefit from Intelex Technologies Inc.’s innovative Safety Management System. The system features modules that save time and lives by ensuring sustained compliance with ANSI standards (and the similar OSHA standards many companies follow) through automated checklists and reminders.

For examples of how Intelex has helped clients implement standardized health and safety practices company-wide, review our client success stories at For a complete list of minimal requirements, refer to ANSI Z358.1, an overview of which can be found here.

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