Use emergency washing equipment after an exposure


Many safety measures and the use of PPE can prevent spills and exposures to hazardous materials. However, if you do experience an exposure, your safety, and the safety of others, depends on your response to the incident.

Emergency shower
Emergency shower image by FSPTechGmbH

Emergency washing equipment such as eye washes and safety showers are provided in UW facilities for the purpose of rinsing chemicals, biohazards and radiological hazards from the eyes or skin. They are important safety tools that can prevent or limit damage to the body from exposure to hazardous materials.

Sinks and showers located in public bathrooms, kitchen areas and dressing rooms are not substitutions for emergency washing equipment. Washing off chemicals in public areas such as bathrooms puts others at risk for exposure and could result in expensive cleanup costs.  


If you have a chemical, biological or radiological exposure:

  • Use the emergency washing equipment in the space where you work.
  • Use the eye wash or safety shower for 15 minutes.
  • Remove contaminated clothing while under the safety shower to prevent the spread of chemical on your skin.

To prevent eye exposure, wear safety goggles or other eye and face protection when working with hazardous materials. Wear appropriate lab coats, gloves, and other personal protective equipment (PPE) to minimize the potential for hazardous materials to come in contact with your skin. Be prepared with proper training, cleanup supplies and personal protective equipment to manage chemical spills easily and safely.

Visit the Emergency Washing Equipment page and the Chemical Spills in Laboratories page and the Exposure Response poster for more information.