Safety showers and eye washes are critical for anyone who has had a toxic chemical sprayed on his or her face or body. Such chemicals include corrosives like acids, bases, sulfuric acid, dehydrating agents, and oxidizing agents. Accidents can happen even with the best preparations at times. Once they do take place, it is imperative that the afflicted areas are washed promptly. With this said, emergency safety showers for the body and eyes need to be placed in easily accessible areas, and all lab workers need to be trained in how to use them. Chemical splashes, spills, and fires are the main reasons why these showers and washes are used.
Lab facilities should take certain precautions that prepare them for emergencies where the showers and washes must be used. First and foremost, workers need to be trained to learn which types of situations warrant using the showers and washes. Perhaps they can be made to read books and watch videos for additional detailed information.
Next, it must be ensured that the safety shower and eye wash stations are very accessible and that absolutely nothing is blocking the path from them to the lab. Large labs can have more than one shower and wash station. Employees need to know where every single station is, and they must be given instructions on how to use the stations if they have different configurations.
When an emergency takes place, a worker’s clothing should be removed, at least down to his or her underwear, and they must be drenched in the shower. If the eye(s) are affected, they need to be splashed in the eye wash station. Whether the body or the eyes, the affected areas must be drenched for at least fifteen minutes or so. Most showers allow the user to halt the flow of water by pushing the handle right back to the starting position.
Some things need to be noted where the shower is concerned. Preparations must be made in the event that the affected person taking the shower suffers from hypothermia, as shower water can be very cold. Furthermore, as toxic chemicals from the shower are being released into the sewer, the proper government authorities need to be notified about it.
Once the victim has been treated by the shower and/or wash unit, a doctor or ambulance should be called in. Even though the chemicals may have been washed off the victim, there still may be some residue that can produce serious burns. Even victims who look fine should be checked out just to make sure that everything is okay.
To prevent chemical splashes in the future, workers should always wear protective clothing and goggles at all times when working with hazardous substances. Great care should be taken to avoid splashes and spills on top of wearing the right gear. Again, accidents can happen at times, and workers should be schooled in how to use the showers and washes to promptly avoid great injuries.
In conclusion, washes and showers exist to clean off lab workers who have accidentally had hazardous chemicals splashed on them. These washes and showers should be easily accessible, and all workers should know how to use them. Medical professionals should be called in even after the victim has been washed off, as there is always the chance that some chemical residue remains. Accidents happen with even the best precautions, and employees need to know how to promptly address them.