What Is An Emergency Shower and How Do You Use It?
An emergency shower is essential in workplaces that deal with chemical substances. Know what it is and how you can use it in accidental chemical exposure.
According to statistics gathered by Safe Work Australia, accidental exposure to chemicals is among the top causes of workplace injuries. Inherent risks are always present when you’re working with chemicals. These include exposure to corrosive chemicals, chemical inhalation, and clothing fires.
An emergency shower can help save lives in the workplace and reduce potential complications that come with exposure to harmful chemicals. An emergency shower is also an essential part of a first aid response in workplaces that deal with chemical substances.
What Is an Emergency Shower?
An emergency shower is also known as a safety shower. These are showers placed in workplaces that deal with chemical substances. It functions by flushing contaminants immediately after exposure while waiting for appropriate medical attention. It’s part of the first line of an emergency response to exposure to hazardous substances and extinguishing clothing fires.
An emergency shower can be a stand-alone shower or a combination unit that includes an emergency eyewash station. These are both essential in compliance with Australian Standards (AS). AS 4775-2007 includes safety showers in its list of safety precautions in workplaces that deal with hazardous chemicals. Emergency safety showers can consist of the following:
- A deluge shower
- Drench hose
- A permanently rigged handheld shower equipment
- A portable plastic or rubber shower hose attached to a tap spout
- Eyewash stations
- Eyewash bottles in areas where there is no continuous water flow
How Do You Use an Emergency Shower?
Proper use of emergency showers in the workplace is essential in preventing severe injury, especially from corrosive substance exposure.
Know Where it Is
The essential thing you need to know is the location of the safety shower stations. A safety shower has to be within fifteen meters of the workplace and needs to have a minimum volume or flow rate of 75.7 litres per minute. It also needs to be connected to a reliable water source and has to be at a tepid water temperature to avoid burns or hypothermia.
Turn It On
Familiarize yourself with how your workplace safety showers and eyewash stations work. Most of the time, these will come with a quick-release valve that enables you to turn them on with one swift motion. This mechanism and good engineering controls allow the user free use of both hands, which will be more efficient in cleaning the body in case of a chemical splash. Get in the shower as soon as it’s on, ideally within ten seconds of exposure to a hazardous substance.
Stay under the running water as you remove your clothing, personal items, and personal protective equipment, such as face shields. Removing clothing as soon as possible is crucial to avoid further injury from chemical interaction between the chemicals and your clothing.
Flush It Off
It’s important to stay under the shower and allow the tepid running water to flush the chemicals. Stay under the shower for a few seconds and up to sixty minutes, especially if exposed to large volumes of hazardous chemicals. Flush your eyes simultaneously for about twenty minutes until medical help arrives.
Get Medical Attention
Immediately call for medical help in the event of chemical exposure. Ideally, there should be another person to call for help while you shower. However, if you find yourself alone after exposure, ensure that you thoroughly shower and flush your eyes before calling for medical assistance. Different chemical substances have specific properties and will likewise have distinct effects. It’s essential to disclose the hazardous substances you have been exposed to avoid delayed treatment.
When To Use An Emergency Shower
The following scenarios are some instances when you need to use an emergency shower at the workplace.
- Skin exposure to corrosive chemicals or hazardous waste
- Eye injuries from chemical exposure
- Clothing fires
Need An Emergency Shower For Your Workplace?
Exposure to harmful chemicals at the workplace can be scary. Even with the proper protection and precautions, accidents can happen even under the best circumstances. However, with the appropriate equipment and knowledge, you can save your life and help others.
Emergency showers, eyewash stations, or combination units are part of your first line of defence for first aid in these critical situations. Ensure that your workplace complies with Australian Standards and only trust the best in the industry to deliver the services you need.
Contact Ecospill today to find out more.