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Emergency Shower Requirement

Emergency Shower Requirement

Emergency Shower Requirement

Does anyone here have an opinion on a requirement from my safety dept. to install an emergency shower in a lab that has a toxic hazardous gas, but no liquid chemicals.  I can see an eyewash, but why a shower.

RE: Emergency Shower Requirement

Could the gas condense on the skin and clothing? Could the gas dissolve in water and/or could the gas be absorbed throu the skin? It could be a misunderstood expression for 'a' washing facility. Anyway, there is not much in your post to allow for a reasonable advice that you are seeking. Give us some details.

RE: Emergency Shower Requirement

The gas involved is a 0.1% HCl in Xenon. The HCl is the issue.

RE: Emergency Shower Requirement

Many safety profesionals go beyond minimun requirements. While a safety shower is probably not required it is easier to use than an eye wash by someone who has been blinded by cemicals. I would not advocate a shower.  

RE: Emergency Shower Requirement

Why not? For someone weighing 50 kgs it is a lot easier to drag some unconsciuos person weighing 100 kgs into a shower in stead of lifting the person up to an eywash.  

RE: Emergency Shower Requirement

Why would you drag the unconscious person under the shower, instead of removing him from the toxic gas area;- to finish him off, drowning him?

RE: Emergency Shower Requirement

Point taken!

RE: Emergency Shower Requirement

Best thing to do is take an inventory of your lab chemicals and read the MSDS or other safety data sheets. Look for the section that covers what action is needed in an emergency. If it says can cause skin irritation or flush exposed skin with water you may need to put in a shower. But if the only concern they have is contact with eyes then the eye wash could be all you need.

The labs I have on site we just plumbed in those eye wash stations that mount to the counter and rotate over the sink to turn on automatic. They work great, are easy to install and made the Health and Safety group happy. Could be a good solution for you as well.

"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." ~Albert Einstein

RE: Emergency Shower Requirement

Admittedly, the hazard is supposed to be a gas, but is the lab that single purpose?

If the lab has storage cabinets, lab sinks and a hood, you never know exactly what might transpire that might require an emergency shower.

1980 - I had an office next to an electrochemical lab.  Screaming alerted me to an emergency next door.  I ran over to find one of the lab guys clutching his face, screaming "my eyes, my eyes".  His lady lab tech was shrieking along with him, but unharmed.   

I grabbed him and lead/dragged him out to the hallway where the emergency shower was, pulled the ring and got lots of water flowing on him.  He lucked out, ending up with only 2nd degree burns on his eyelids, nose, cheeks and forehead.  His eyes weren't damaged.  A solution of fairly dilute acid he was heating over a bunsen burner had flashed/boiled up onto his face and eyes (he was not wearing safety glasses or face shield).

That lab typically prepared and ran experiments on small volume solutions in the 20-30 ml range, unlike the liter of solution he was brewing.  

Others in the company couldn't recall when, if ever the emergency shower had ever been used previously.   

I've never actually seen an eye wash station in operation, so I'm not sure what kind of water volume is available, but that guy was darn glad that a high volume shower was right outside his lab door to cool and dilute the acid all over his face.


RE: Emergency Shower Requirement


danw2 is describing an actual case of what in my mind could happen only in farfetched theory... but here we are again:

we never know.

'Point taken', taken back.  winky smile  


RE: Emergency Shower Requirement

My question would be, if you are already going to be adding the eye wash, how much more difficult would it be to add a shower?

RE: Emergency Shower Requirement

The safety plan had no provision for any blankets.  

Both he and I were soaking wet and until the rescue squad got there (7-8 minutes), during which time, no one could find any blankets to keep us from being chilled in wet clothing.   Someone did find a 'forgotten' overcoat in  the coat closet, but it's hard to count on that.

So, safety guys, put some blankets in the area of safety showers for that time when the shower might be needed.


RE: Emergency Shower Requirement

There are combination eye-wash, emergency showers, and we use them in the field and in our lab. Most self-respecting safety equipment suppliers have these in stock.
One of the hazards in a chemical lab are splashes and that can be anywhere, not only in the face.

Get a two-in-one and end of discussion.

Danw2 also mentioned blankets, which also can be used when somebody is on fire to extinguish the flames. These are called fire blankets.

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