SAFETYmatters - Emergency Preparedness


During the annual safety reviews, EHS Occupational Safety staff or Safety Advisor Team members perform a walkthrough of departmental or laboratory space, respectively.  EHS staff survey the safety showers and eye wash stations to ensure they are readily accessible to University staff in the event of an emergency.  However, maintaining access to the equipment is only one part of emergency preparedness.  Plumbed safety equipment must be periodically flushed to ensure the equipment is operational; activation of the equipment also clears sediment and/or bacteria that may accumulate in the line.  While Facilities Management staff is responsible for testing safety showers, departmental and laboratory staff are responsible for regularly flushing the eye wash stations in their areas.  

As established by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), best practice entails weekly testing of eye wash stations; EHS is requiring that stations be tested no less than monthly with a record maintained for each eye wash station.  Staff should activate the eye wash long enough to ensure the equipment is operational and flushing fluid runs clear.  If any issues are identified with an eye wash station, report the equipment to Facilities Management’s Work Control Center. Contact information is located on the Facilities Management website, under Services.  

A record that the eyewash has been tested must be available.  Some labs/departments may prefer to document the testing using an eyewash tag; however, another option is to use a form available on EHS’s website (https://ehs.research.uiowa.edu/) under Forms: Chemical Safety.