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Safety showers that operate in extreme conditions

02 September 2014

Safety Showers that are required for the safety of employees not only have to meet the latest requirements and regulations governing health and safety, they also have to be able to withstand and operate reliably in extreme environmental conditions.  Get it wrong and the employer can be liable for the consequences, and the employee could be seriously injured.

With breakthroughs in drilling techniques, it is now possible to operate in temperatures dropping to minus 40 degrees centigrade and right up to 40 degrees centigrade. The goal posts are therefore moving all the time with regard to coping with potential hazards. 

Health and safety requirements surrounding quick, effective decontamination are getting tougher with companies having to meet strict specifications and compliance to the ANSI Z358.1-2009 International standard. Such requirements are encouraging operators and specifiers to look at the quality of the units, their operational needs and length of service. Going for cheap is not necessarily going to be economical in the long term.

So how can industry get it right for the right environment?

As a starting point you need to look at your water supply. If you can't connect directly into a reliable mains water supply then you require a self-contained unit.  Gravity fed tank showers, are the ideal solution providing a guaranteed supply and instant tepid water.  They are not affected by water interruptions or electricity failure, making them, operationally, some of the most efficient and cost effective safety showers on the global market. Units are built entirely of GRP and Stainless Steel which ensures that they are corrosion resistant and avoid costly maintenance issues normally associated with using galvanized steel and wood based materials.

You then need to look at the environment. In very hot countries, where the water supply feed is exposed to extreme heat, the water would be heated naturally by the sun to a dangerously high temperature.  If the water was to remain at this temperature, it could cause or increase injury to the user.

In situations where the contaminant is a burn-inducing chemical, the hot water would intensify the burns and cause the substance to be absorbed further into the skins pores. 

At the other end of the environmental scale, to suddenly douse someone with freezing cold water would not only shock them but at the very least give them hypothermia.  The pores would close immediately, trapping the contaminant therefore hampering attempts to wash it off.

In hot climates the provision of a chiller unit, coupled to a tank shower, reduces the water to the recommended 20°C. The chiller only activates when the incoming water exceeds this temperature, when the water has been cooled to the correct temperature the unit deactivates. Chiller units can be fitted to any tank shower. 

In cold climates, where temperatures reach down to minus 40 degrees, the water supply needs to be heated to 20 degrees. Tank showers which have the capacity and capability to provide tepid water (as recommended by ANSI Z358.1-2009) instantly for durations in excess of the recommended 15 minutes allow for more difficult chemical substances to be washed off whilst ensuring casualties don’t suffer from thermal shock.

Showers & Eyebaths Services Ltd customer services can be contacted on +44 (0) 1744 889677 or visit www.safety-showers.com


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