Emergency Washing Equipment
Pull-down eyewash at a laboratory sink
Emergency washing equipment (EWE) is provided in UW facilities for the purpose of rinsing chemicals or other harmful agents from the eyes or skin. It is an important safety tool that can prevent or limit damage to the body from exposure to harmful agents. Examples include:
Eyewashes are required in areas where any of the following agents are used: corrosives; strong irritants; or toxic chemicals of concern.
An eyewash is also required to be readily available in BSL-1, BSL-2, BSL-3, and ABSL-1 (animal biosafety level 1) labs, regardless of whether the above agents are used.
Single-headed emergency washing device connected to flexible hose used to irrigate and flush the face or other parts of the body.
A safety shower is required in areas where any corrosives, strong irritants or toxic chemicals of concern are used in quantities and processes that could result in a substantial portion of the body being impacted.
What you need to know
Are you are involved in a process that requires emergency washing equipment? If yes, verify the following:
It is the right equipment.
It is accessible.
The equipment is properly maintained.
You know where it is located and how to use it in an emergency.
To be accessible, emergency washing equipment must be:
Free of physical obstructions that inhibit use,
No greater than 50 feet travel distance from the process of concern, and
Along a path of travel without obstructions (doors and stairs are considered obstructions).
Departments are responsible for activating eyewash and drench hose equipment once per week to verify proper operation.
UW Facilities is responsible for checking safety showers annually to verify proper operation.
A drench hose is not a conforming emergency eyewash but may be used as a supplementary washing device.
What you can do to stay safe
Make sure you know where the emergency washing equipment is located and how to use it in an emergency.
Refer to Section Four of the Laboratory Safety Manual for information on emergency washing equipment.
EH&S provides the following services:
Evaluate the need for emergency washing equipment in laboratories and other UW facilities.
Assist UW Facilities with capital planning projects and evaluating the need for emergency washing equipment, the best type and location of equipment to install, and commissioning of emergency washing equipment as part of new and renovated UW facilities.
Assist with retrofit installations of emergency washing equipment through the Capital Safety Program.
Frequently asked questions
Contact EH&S and request an evaluation.
The eyewash must be tested weekly.
Place a work order with your building management to have it evaluated and repaired.
Generally no; however, an exception is made when plumbed water is not available.
are substances that can cause destruction of living tissue by chemical action (e.g. acids with a pH=2.5 or less, caustics with a pH=11 or greater).
are designed to rinse the eyes only
are designed to wash the eyes and part of the face.
is designed to rinse an area of the body under conditions where an eyewash or safety shower are not as effective. Drench hoses are considered supplemental and do not replace the need for an eyewash or safety shower.
are designed to rinse the entire body
are substances that can cause a strong temporary inflammatory effect on tissue at the site of contact.
of concern are substances that produce a serious injury or illness by absorption through the skin or other body surfaces such as the eyes.