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A Guide to Emergency Decontamination Equipment


There is no detailed UK written legislation regarding emergency decontamination equipment. However, the internationally recognised American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard ANSI Z358.1 2014 offers comprehensive guidance on manufacturing, installation and use, as well as testing, training and maintenance. As such we recommend this standard as best practice.

Below are some of the key points from the standard that we hope you find useful.

1. Equipment Location

Consider the location of your business and workers – whether remote or onsite. All emergency decontamination equipment stations must be located in areas that are accessible within 10 seconds, roughly 17 metres. This is referred to by as the “10 second rule”.

The best practise would be to check the travel time, bearing in mind that the injured person may need extra time or support to reach the designated station. Where highly corrosive chemicals are used, thought should be given to installing the emergency station as close as possible to the potential hazard.

2. Obstructions

Emergency stations must be located on the same level as the hazard and the pathway between them must be clear of any obstruction. Please note: a door is classed as an obstruction but if the hazard is non-corrosive, one door is permitted as long as it opens in the direction of travel.

3. Water supply

Always connect to a portable water supply and consider draining the water supply and fitting a filter prior to connection. To comply with the ANSI Z358.1-2014 standards, tepid water (16 – 38 degrees) should be provided.

4. Water Temperature and Tepid Water

Tepid water is a crucial but often overlooked factor when providing emergency decontamination equipment. Medical professionals recommend that tepid water is used to treat chemical injuries because temperatures that exceed 38 degrees can enhance chemical interaction with the eyes or skin.  Flushing liquids below 16 degrees can cause hypothermic shock and prolonged exposure may enhance shock and result in premature cessation of first aid treatment.

If you are providing tepid water, you must install a hot water shut-off valve to prevent scalding and a cold water bypass to ensure the delivery of flushing liquid should the hot water supply fail. Bear in mind temperature, and where it can fall below zero or exceed 37 degrees in some countries. Your equipment will need adequate protection from the hot or cold.

For further information on the use of emergency decontamination equipment, visit our site or contact us today.

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