The University of Iowa

SAFETYmatters - Testing Emergency Showers

Article published 07/01/19

Research staff must ensure Facility Management can access all emergency showers for annual testing requirements.

Emergency showers are tested annually by Facility Management (FM) staff to ensure showers meet operational standards, including flow rates and water temperature. FM staff must fully activate the shower and as such, must have adequate clearance to capture the resulting water. Based on American National Standard Institute (ANSI) requirements, a 16-inch radius from center of shower head must be maintained at all times. This clearance requirement will allow FM to test the unit and prevent damage to lab equipment; please ensure electrical equipment is not stored on counter tops adjacent to emergency showers.

FM will note out of order signs and will ensure required showers are reported for repair. During testing, FM staff will also address inappropriate pull handles. National standards state that all handles must be no more than 69-inches from the floor and be free hanging. Staff will adjust or replace handles that do not meet these requirements. 

FM and EHS staff are aware that emergency showers may be in high traffic areas and are therefore collaborating with research staff to review shower placement. Some areas have multiple showers such that not all showers are required. EHS and FM will consider decommissioning unnecessary showers or moving existing showers; each case must be reviewed by both EHS and FM.