CHEMICAL / HAZARDOUS MATERIAL SAFETY
Environmental Health and Safety
Eyewashes and Safety Showers
Where the eyes or body of any person may be exposed to injurious chemicals and/or materials, departments are to provide suitable facilities within the work area for immediate emergency use to quickly drench or flush the eyes and body.
When activities involving the use of chemicals are not at a fixed location, contact Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) for an evaluation and recommendation.
NOTE: Emergency washing facilities are not to be substitutes for the use of appropriate personal protective devices, e.g., goggles (see SPPM 3.10).
There are several types of emergency washing facilities, e.g., plumbed, self-contained, personal, drench hoses, showers. Contact EH&S for an evaluation and recommendation as to the type of emergency washing facilities required; telephone 509-335-3041.
The principal investigator (PI) or supervisor is responsible for providing instructions regarding the location and proper use of emergency washing facilities. Contact EH&S for assistance with setting up a training program.
Each employee who participates in employee development activities and training programs (e.g., emergency washing procedures training; new employee orientation) completes documentation that confirms participation. The documentation must include the following information:
- Course name
- Course date
- Length of course
- Course sponsor
- Employee name
- Employee WSU ID number
The department or the employee routes the original documentation to Human Resource Services and places a copy in the employee’s departmental personnel file.
To wash eyes, hold the eyelids open and roll the eyeballs so that flushing fluid will flow on all surfaces of the eyes and under the eyelids.
Consult the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for the amount of time required to flush the specific chemical from the eyes (see SPPM 5.10). If the SDS does not specify a time, immediately wash the eyeball and the inner surface of the eyelid with plenty of water for 15 minutes.
Drench hoses may be used to irrigate and flush the face or other parts of the body. NOTE: Use drench hoses in addition to emergency washing facilities. Do not substitute drench hoses for emergency showers or eyewashes.
Drench hoses are handheld water-spraying devices used for rinsing the body, particularly the lower extremities.
Eyewashes and Drench Hoses
Principal Investigator (PI)/Supervisor
The PI/supervisor or designee activates and inspects all eyewashes and drench hoses weekly to verify proper operation.
The amount of time the eyewash or drench hose is activated depends on the amount of debris in the system. The inspector activates the eyewash or drench hose until the water is clear and debris is removed.
The inspector verifies the following:
- Emergency eyewash and drench hose areas are free from trash, debris or other obstructions.
- Equipment is free from leakage.
- Eyewash water streams are adequate to irrigate and flush both eyes simultaneously (WAC 296-800-15030).
- Drench hose water streams are adequate to flush the face or other parts of the body (WAC 296-800-15040).
- All parts are in good condition and operable.
- Emergency washing facilities using lab water or any other type of nonpotable water are labeled with signs which indicate that the water is nonpotable.
Contact Facilities Services, Operations or EH&S for assistance with verifying proper eyewash and drench hose operation.
Environmental Health and Safety inspects eyewash stations and drench hose units during laboratory reviews.
Report units not functioning in accordance with the above requirements to Facilities Services, Operations by submitting a work request through the myFacilities website. The myFacilities website is located at:
See also BPPM 80.45.
Facilities Services, Operations (Initial Installation)
Facilities Services, Operations inspects all emergency showers upon initial installation. Facilities Services, Operations project managers are responsible for verifying proper installation and functioning of all new shower installations.
Project managers are to ensure that each new safety shower is entered into the Facilities Services, Operations equipment database for long term tracking.
Departments (Annual Inspections)
Departments are to ensure that emergency showers are inspected on an annual basis. Facilities Services, Operations and the departments jointly complete the annual inspections.
The department is responsible for notifying Facilities Services, Operations in advance of the times and dates of planned emergency shower inspections. This ensures that Facilities Services, Operations is aware of the inspections and can assist the department.
Emergency showers are to be inspected to verify all of the following criteria:
- Emergency shower areas are free from trash, debris, or other obstructions. The department clears the emergency shower areas in advance of the flow test.
- Equipment is free from leakage. The department and Facilities Services, Operations conduct this inspection.
- Water streams are adequate to flush the face or other parts of the body (WAC 296-800-15040). The department and Facilities Services, Operations conduct this inspection.
- All parts are in good condition and operable. Facilities Services, Operations conducts this inspection.
- Emergency washing facilities using lab water or any other type of nonpotable water are labeled with signs that indicate that the water is nonpotable. Facilities Services, Operations labels emergency washing facilities.
Contact Facilities Services, Operations or EH&S for additional information regarding verifying proper emergency shower operation.
Report units not functioning in accordance with the above requirements to Facilities Services, Operations by submitting work requests through the myFacilities website. The myFacilities website is located at:
See also BPPM 80.45.