IS INDUSTRY WASHING AWAY HIDDEN SAVINGS?
Allen Yates, managing director of Showers & Eyebaths Services looks at the change in regulations governing the use of water for the purpose of emergency shower units.
Rivers, lakes and coastal waters are vital natural resources and are an important resource for industry. Industries discharging large volumes of waste water will see usage costs rising over the next five years in line with Europe’s Water Framework Directive which expands the scope of water protection to all waters and sets out clear objectives that must be achieved by specified dates.
Those responsible for looking to new technology to provide efficient methods of production should, as part of their annual compliance inspections, look at whether regulatory changes governing the usage of existing equipment could actually give surprising savings. This is very much the case with emergency showers.
In any working environment, where the eyes or body of any operative may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials, suitable decontamination facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body must be provided within the work area for immediate emergency use.
The universal ANSI standard which governs the design, manufacture and installation of emergency shower units has, up until recently, stipulated that the flow rate of the shower has to run at 115 litres a minute for 15 minutes. With weekly activation necessary for maintenance purposes alone, the water wasted is considerable.
Since the latter part of 2004 however, the stipulated flow rate has been reduced by 35%, to 75.7 litres of water per minute for 15 minutes.
Decontamination facilities of this kind are hopefully not used very often although large plants and industrial sites legally need to have a number of units readily available. What this can mean is that such a facility can be overlooked when a company comes to looking at reducing costs and will be unaware that investing in altering the shower’s flow rate can go some way to reducing a company’s water bill. And, depending on the type of shower, it can be a simple as modifying the flowrate of existing showers to the new standard.
More importantly, with increasing pressure on industry to reduce their impact on valuable water resources such an investment should be considered an environmentally responsible action.
Companies should also carefully consider the type of emergency shower to meet the needs of the workers and environment in which they work, as there are a number of energy efficient models. For example, systems that use multi-nozzles. Through the activation of a number of smaller nozzles a fine spray is created which avoids huge volumes of water. These units are used most effectively by strategically positioning the nozzles to hit all parts of the body at close range. This also avoids the mist drifting before it meets the body should the unit not be enclosed.
Showers & Eyebaths Services Ltd customer services can be contacted on 01744 889677.
Showers & Eyebaths are manufactures and installers of professional and innovative emergency safety showers, eyebaths, decontamination units, mobile safety showers and eyebaths and shower coolers. Their products are used worldwide by the oil, chemical and water industries. Schools, universities, hospitals and individuals who come into contact with materials and substances that can cause harm to eyes, hands and skin, also use their products. Their head office and manufacturing facility is based in St Helens, Merseyside.