Levitt-Safety Blog

Are your emergency shower and eyewash stations compliant? Here’s an easy fix

Leslie MolinMarket Segment Manager - Personal SafetyJuly 27, 2022

The pandemic wreaked havoc on department staffing and budgets, making regular facility inspections a challenge. Emergency shower and eyewash stations are compliance areas that can easily be overlooked. Having a functioning emergency shower/eyewash (ESEW) station is required by law and a first response protocol for people in the event of a chemical spill or similar accident.

But, there is good news. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to ensure your workplace has compliant emergency shower and eyewash stations.

One of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to ensure your emergency shower and eyewash stations are compliant is with the Haws® AXION® Advantage® upgrade kit.

With AXION, your company can retrofit 80% of existing eyewash and shower stations. Start your free assessment by filling out the form here

AXION kits solve the five most common issues impacting compliance and reliability.

axion advantage upgrade kit

Why emergency wash station compliance matters:

  • Over 2,400 lost-time injury claims were filed in 2020 related to chemicals and chemical products.
  • 88% of units are not compliant with ANSI Z358.1 due to a lack of regular testing, incorrect equipment for the type of hazard present and improper installation of the equipment.
  • $124,000 fine to a company in Manitoba in 2018 for failing to ensure emergency eyewash equipment was readily available.

Compliance issues are costly to businesses and fines can hurt company profits, reputation and employee retention.

What separates AXION Advantage from other emergency wash stations?

First, it's important to understand how the human eye naturally cleanses contaminants.

The human eye has an automatic lubricating and cleansing mechanism called the lacrimal system.

This system has a drain near the inner eye that channels excess fluids directly into the nasal cavity.

When a contaminant enters the eye, the lacrimal system will automatically work to move the fluid through the nasal cavity, causing more harm.

Unlike other emergency shower and eyewash stations that push water from the outside towards the lacrimal duct, the AXION Advantage upgrade kit is designed to flush water away from the lacrimal duct.

Hospitals and healthcare practitioners treat similar eye injuries by sweeping the contaminant away from the inner corner of the eye.

Watch the HAWS webinar 'All You Need to Know About ANSI Z358.1.'

The five common compliance issues AXION Advantage addresses:

1. Simultaneous Flow

What it means:

  • Position combination shower and eyewash units so they can be used simultaneously by the same user.
  • Both systems' flow height and water pressure must remain steady and adequate when used in tandem.

Why it is important:

  • Due to the dangers of toxic chemicals, an individual must be able to cleanse their face, rinse their eyes, and wash their body all at once.

How does AXION Advantage achieve this:

  • The AXION Advantage eye/face wash upgrade kit offers an inexpensive and effective solution to this compliance issue.
  • You can retrofit outdated, under-performing or non-conforming previously installed ESEW stations with AXION at a fraction of the cost of a new unit and bypass the need to hire a plumber.

2. Flow Pattern

What it means:

  • A consistent water pattern must come out of the shower and eyewash hea
  • Eyewashes must be capable of delivering flushing fluid to the eyes for a minimum of 1.5 litres per minute (0.4 GPM) for 15 minutes.
  • Showers must deliver 75.7L (20 gallons) of water per minute for 15 consecutive minutes.

Why is it important:

  • A consistent and adequate flow pattern guarantees the affected individual receives sufficient irrigation for the appropriate amount of time and pressure needed for proper first aid treatment.

How does AXION Advantage achieve this:

  • The single-head inverted flow design with predictable stream height enhances victim comfort and protects sensitive eye ducts and glands.
  • Controlled flow to both eyes simultaneously with smooth laminar flows that administer comfortable water pressure.
  • The upgrade showerhead provides consistent hydrodynamic flow with comfortable water pressure for a full 15-minute flush featuring minimized pressure for even water distribution across the shower footprint.
  • ANSI Z358.1 compliant for velocity and gallons per minute.

3. Injurious Flow

What it means:

  • The water pressure is too high.
  • Dual eyewash heads are often too aggressive due to a lack of flow controls.
  • The pressure in the supply line should not exceed 90 psi. Higher pressure will cause your emergency washing units to shoot water like a pressure washer.

Why is it important:

  • High water pressure is dangerous and can damage an individual’s eyes.
  • It will be difficult to withstand the required 15 or 20 minutes of flushing if the flow strength is too forceful.

How does AXION Advantage avoid this:

  • Provides a controlled “laminar” flow that is non-injurious.
  • Produces eye/face wash streams for even, consistent, predictable flow height and circumference for greater user comfort, encouraging use for the full 15-minute ANSI Z358.1 requirement.

4. Low Flow

What it means:

  • Your unit does not provide 75.7L (20 gallons) of water per minute for a shower or 1.5 litres (0.4 GPM) for eyewash for 15 consecutive minutes.
  • This issue is commonly due to low water pressure or improperly maintained equipment.

Why is it important:

  • Low water flow means an exposed individual won’t receive enough water to wash the contaminants off. The person is at a higher risk for lasting injuries.
  • Low pressure could produce a narrow water column that doesn't cover an individual's entire body. Therefore, only a portion of the body will be rinsed at a time, leaving other parts exposed to toxins.

How AXION Advantage addresses this:

  • Traditional dual heads are often a challenge to get consistent flow to meet ANSI requirements.
  • AXION's single head design provides a controlled flow to both eyes and face simultaneously at a velocity high enough to be effective and low enough to be non-injurious to the user.

5. Flow Coverage

What it means:

  • Showers should have a water column 50.8 cm (20 inches) wide at 152.4 cm (60 inches) above the surface floor.
  • Eyewash stations flushing fluid flows should be 83.8 cm – 134.6 cm (33 to 53 inches) from the surface floor and a minimum of 15.3 cm (6 inches) from the wall.
  • Eyewash stations should also cover areas between the interior and exterior lines of a gauge at some point less than 20.3 cm (8 inches) above the eyewash nozzle.

Why it is important:

  • It is crucial that the “appropriate level of protection” should be provided based on the potential hazard to ensure the correct safety measures are established.
  • If shower column is too narrow to cover an individual’s entire body at once, some body parts will be exposed to the contaminant for an endured time leading to increased injury.
  • If eye/face wash stations do not cover a large enough range to flush both eyes and entire face simultaneously, individuals are at risk for further damage.

How does AXION Advantage achieve this:

  • The AXION Advantage eye/face wash retrofit expels approximately 7x the flow rate of a traditional eye was only station and provides fuller facial coverage.
  • Eyewash streams provide Zero Vertical Velocity™ stream engineering with a laminar flow that provides even, consistent, and predictable stream height for reliable safety coverage.

The AXION Advantage is the only eye/face wash duplicating the methodology recommended and used by medical professionals. Take preventative measures by supplying the best emergency response equipment available.

Have a question?

Levitt-Safety is Canada's leader in emergency shower and eyewash stations. We can answer any questions you may have about installing, servicing or maintaining your ESEW station.

We can even help with a free assessment to provide recommendations and best practices to ensure your workplace stations are compliant and ready in the event of an emergency.

Fill out the form here to get started!