Emergency Eye Washing & Showers

With the increased use of cleaners and disinfectants and the impending return to in person education it is important that we verify the state of the emergency washing facilities (eye wash and safety shower) in the Districts, activate them, repair them as needed, and document the activation and maintenance work.

Washington State Labor and Industries (L&I, or Department of Occupational Safety and Health – DOSH) has more stringent rules than the Federal OSHA, so, as always, we will refer to the law and directions coming directly from our state agency. The requirements are the same for schools as for non-educational environments and school districts are not exempt. While the L&I rules on emergency washing facilities and the associated extensive explanations and examples seem quite clear, we still notice improper eyewash stations being installed in brand new, state of the art schools and other education related buildings. Districts trust the builders to provide the best and most appropriate equipment and that occurs in most of the cases. However, District safety personnel, supervisors, lab safety leads, and contracting personnel need to be aware of the actual Washington State regulations and laws and then demand full compliance with them.

Science laboratories and shops (both CTE and District maintenance) present complex situations and are subject to multiple regulations and special considerations for best layout for their function. Please make sure that there is solid understanding and that agreement on the safety requirements are in place BEFORE the building or remodeling plans are drawn. Later modifications are usually less successful and often very costly.

In addition to the below linked regulations, consider then focus attention on the following:

  • Handicapped access and ease of activation by any person who spends time in the area.
  • Ease of access in general.
  • The vicinity of electricity to water sources.
  • Good drainage that will not spread water on the lab floors, soak adjacent walls and furniture causing further water damage and possible mold problems. While the drain part is not prescribed in these references, we can use common sense and request that the eyewash drain be properly plumbed in. Any retrofitting will cost a whole lot more than doing it right in the first place.
  • If you need only an eyewash, installing a shower head on a hose is not an “upgrade” for expanded, multiple function.

How do the above bullet points inform your opinion on what you see in the attached pictures?

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