Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Weekly Testing of Plumbed Eyewash Safety Showers


OSHA Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 1910.151(c) requires that suitable facilities for drenching or flushing of the eyes and body be provided near locations where any person may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials.

Many facilities install combination eyewash safety showers to meet this requirement. These are typically plumbed, or connected to a continuous source of domestic water.

Flushing exposed body parts within seconds immediately following an eye injury or chemical splash is critical to minimizing damage. Emergency eyewashes and showers often go unused for long periods of time. When a chemical exposure occurs, these devices must function properly. Regular testing and inspection of combination eyewash safety showers is very important.

Inspection Requirements

OSHA does not provide specific testing requirements for eyewash and safety showers. Instead, OSHA defers to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z358.1 standard for the requirements of all plumbed emergency eye, eye/face wash and emergency shower equipment.


Based on the ANSI Z358.1 standard, plumbed eyewash safety showers should be inspected weekly to ensure they are operable.

Inspection Instructions

At a minimum, the inspection should include verifying water flow to the eyewash nozzles and safety shower and that there is a clear, unobstructed path to the eyewash safety shower.

  1. Verify there is a clear path to the eyewash / safety shower.
  2. Ensure no materials are stored under unit.
  3. Verify water supply to safety shower. Flush water for 30 seconds.
  4. Verify water flow to eyewash. Flush water for 30 seconds.
  5. Ensure dust caps are on eyewash nozzles.
  6. Record inspection results.
  7. Initiate corrective action for deficiencies identified during inspection.

Required Tools and Supplies

Barcode scanner to record inspection results.
5 gallon bucket to catch flushed water.
Safety Shower Test Curtain
Spare eyewash dust caps

Labor Time Requirements

It typically takes less than 5 minutes to perform a weekly inspection of and eyewash safety shower. However, the following need to be considered when estimating labor time requirements for completing weekly tests:
  • Labor estimates should consider travel time to and from each eyewash.
  • Inspections in clean room environments require additional time for gowning.
  • Collection and disposal of flushed water must be considered.
  • Water flushed from an eyewash is easily caught in a 5 gallon bucket.
  • A test curtain may be needed to catch the water while testing a safety shower.
  • Water from your tests can create slip hazards. Allow time for cleaning up water.
Recording Inspection Results Using FieldDataPro

Managing the inspection of eyewash safety showers scattered around a large facility or campus can be challenging. FieldDataPro can help you use barcode technology to track when each unit is inspected and more importantly, identify units that are not inspected or have deficiencies that need to be corrected.

When collecting eyewash inspection data with FieldDataPro you can use either the Detailed method or the Pass/Fail method. Either method makes effective management of the inspections easy and eliminates paperwork and manual record keeping.

With the Detailed method, the inspector records the status of each inspection point for each unit as shown in the image below.

With the Pass/Fail method, the inspector creates a timestamped record indicating that the device was inspected, and whether it passed inspection or was found to have deficiencies.

For a more detailed description of how FieldDataPro can help you manage Safety Inspection data, see this blog post (How it all works).

Call us at (919) 323-3703 to set up a demonstration.

For more information, email us at

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pipe Fitters Exposed to Acid Waste, Safety Shower Saves Day

Late last year two pipe fitters were exposed to acid waste when a pipe broke at a Durham manufacturing plant.

According to news reports: "The contractors immediately washed the acid off in nearby showers, which are located throughout the building as a precaution"

The incident occurred at a Cree, Inc. manufacturing plant. Cree uses handheld data collection software from FieldData Pro, Inc. to manage their eyewash / safety shower inspection program.

Luckily, eyewashes and safety showers are not used every day. But because of their infrequent use they must be tested regularly to make sure they will function when they are needed.

Luckily for the two exposed employees, the Facilities Department at Cree takes this responsibility very seriously.

To read the entire news article, click on the following link:

Cree Eyewash News Article

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Mid State Safety Council Annual Workshop

Attended the Mid State Safety Council's Annual Workshop today in Mebane. Heard alot of good speakers discussing topics like Accident Investigation, Emergency Preparedness, Workmans Comp, and Safety Leadership.

David Leonard, from the Alamance County Fire Marshall's office spoke about Emergency Preparedness and stressed how companies must be aware of threats outside their fenceline. He gave an example of a train / vehicle collision that shut down part of Mebane for a few hours last year.

I particularly enjoyed Mel Harmon's (NC Industrial Commission) presentation on Safety For Supervisors. He is a very entertaining speaker and made some excellent points. One that stuck with me was the fact that managers / supervisors who think nothing of disciplinary action for folks missing work or not making production goals fail to discipline employees that break safety rules. He offers a four hour course, "Safety for Supervisors" that he will conduct at customer facilities. I hope to take this course soon. It appears to be a nice mix of leadership and safety training. These are two areas most of us could do better at.

For information on this course check out this link:

Safety for Supervisors

Friday, October 7, 2011

Electric Vehicles, National Security and Country Fried Steak

As an engineer and keen observer of my surroundings, I have come to the conclusion that the Cracker Barrel Restaurant chain, one of the nations leading purveyors of comfort food, holds the key to breaking our nations dependence on foreign oil.

I believe the day is coming where there will be more electric vehicles on the road than gasoline engine vehicles. Switching from gasoline to electric vehicles will decrease our oil consumption thereby lowering our dependence on foreign oil. The less oil we import, the less power we are giving to rouge states like Venezuela or Iran.

Don't get me wrong, there are still hurdles to overcome (battery technology, manufacturing costs, etc). But that day is coming.

What does Cracker Barrel have to do with this?  Cracker Barrel has the ability to address two of the major limitations of electric vehicles, travel range and refueling time. They can do this by installing public charging stations at each on their locations.

If you have ever travelled this great country via interstate highway, you may have noticed that Cracker Barrels are all located on interstates and are spaced less than 4 hours apart. I learned this years ago when, working as a field service engineer, I often drove alone 8 to 12 hours, to get to a job. At the time there was no XM or Sirius radio so once you got away from a major city your listening options were limited. Someone turned me on to Books on Tape. In 3-4 hours you could have a condensed version of a book read to you by a B level star. Not my first choice for entertainment, but it made the traveling easier.

Cracker Barrel was very clever and would rent you these books on tape. I would pick one up, listen to it and by the time I was done (3-4 hours) would be coming up on the next Cracker Barrel. 15 years ago I could easily navigate from Raleigh to Muscle Shoals or Paducah, bouncing from Cracker Barrel to Cracker Barrel.

One of the major limitations of electric vehicles is range. With current battery technology you can only travel for a few hours before needing to charge the batteries. This makes them practical for local travel, but not so practical for road trips. If each Cracker Barrel installed charging stations, we would have a network of charging stations every 150 to 200 miles along our interstates. This would make road tripping in EV's possible.

Another limitation of electric vehicles is charging time. As drivers of gasoline engine vehicles, we are used to being able to pull into a gas station, fill up our tank and pay before the song that was playing when we pulled into the station ends. Say 3 minutes start to finish.

The best available chargers take 10 to 15 minutes to recharge the batteries in an electric car. That amount of time will take some getting used to. No one that I know will want to stand next to their car in a charging station for 15 minutes waiting for it to charge. But they may like to wander around an old timey Country Store, looking at rocking chairs, stick candy and John Deere paraphernalia. Or better yet, sit down and enjoy the awesomeness that is Grandpa's Country Breakfast, which includes Two Eggs cooked to order with Grits and your choice of Fried Apples or Hashbrown Casserole and Chicken Fried Chicken or Country Fried Steak.

I like solutions that are win - win. This is one of those. Our nation breaks it's dependence on foreign oil, Cracker Barrel gets a whole new set of customers and we all get Country Fried Steak.