Safety Shower Australian Standard: Definition & Requirements
Keep the workplace safe by following the Safety Shower Australian Standard. Know the basic definition and requirements for a safer workplace today.
A safety shower, also known as an emergency shower, is a piece of equipment intended to wash away any chemicals that come into contact with skin or clothing. This equipment helps ensure worker safety by acting as a first line of defence against chemical exposure in the workplace.
According to Safe Work Australia, more than a thousand serious workplace injury claims made in 2020-2021 were due to chemical exposures. Compliance with the Safety Shower Australian Standard (AS 4775-2007) can help curb serious chemical injuries by serving as an efficient first line of defence in chemical exposures.
What is the Safety Shower Australian Standard?
The Safety Shower Australian Standard (AS 4775-2007) is a set of guidelines by Standards Australia to help companies ensure workplace safety in environments that deal with chemical substances. These guidelines provide the framework for adequately installing and locating emergency showers and eyewash stations in the workplace. They also provide specific requirements for parts, water flow, and accessibility training in the workplace.
Main Requirements of Safety Shower Australian Standard
The following requirements must be met to ensure compliance with AS 4775-2007.
The minimum water requirement for plumbed-in or self-contained safety shower equipment is 75.5L/minute. The flow rate must be fast enough to flush out any chemicals and be non-injurious to the user. This rate has to be consistent and unobstructed for fifteen minutes. The Australian Standard for a safety shower also requires tepid water to avoid additional injuries such as scalding or thermal burns.
Valves must transition from fully closed to fully open within one second or less. Valves have to remain open without the need for the user’s hands. This mechanism will enable the user to remove their clothing under running water and thoroughly wash their body without worrying about keeping the valves open.
Actuators have to be easy to locate and identify. Once open, they must remain open without needing the user’s hands; unless they are intentionally turned off. Actuator valves should not be placed more than 1733 mm above the level on which the typical user would stand.
The Safety Shower Australian Standard requires all safety showers to be accessible within ten seconds or fifteen metres from the potential chemical hazard. Safety showers have to be on the same level as the hazard, and the paths leading to them must be identified and unobstructed. Workplaces dealing with corrosives and acids need an eyewash unit directly adjacent to these substances.
Nozzles have to be protected and free from any airborne contaminants. These include microparticles from workplace chemicals and other substances.
Signage and Visibility Requirements
The area surrounding the safety shower has to be well-lit to ensure optimum visibility. They must be signposted with highly visible signs and compliant with the Safety Signs for the Occupational Environment (AS 1319-1994). These signs should be accompanied by symbols or diagrams that would not require language skills to be understood.
Maintenance & Testing Requirements
The Safety Shower Australian Standard states that designated laboratory technical officers must carry out weekly safety shower tests. Annual flow testing is also required for all safety shower units and eyewash stations to ensure they can function effectively in an emergency.
All workers dealing with potentially harmful substances must be trained on how to access and use the safety showers in the workplace.
Why Do You Need to Follow These Requirements?
If you are running a company that deals with potentially harmful chemicals and substances, you are mandated by law to comply with the necessary health and safety requirements which include safety showers in the workplace. Non-compliance with these requirements may result in fines and charges, as stated in the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004.
Keep Your Workplace Safe
Dealing with chemicals at the workplace brings an inherent occupational hazard to workers. It is the company’s responsibility to ensure all steps have been taken to ensure optimum workplace safety. Besides regular safety training, companies must also provide safety equipment at the workplace that is at par with Australian Standards. Safety showers are essential to maintaining workplace safety in a chemically high-risk environment.
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