ACCIDENTS DO HAPPEN
Wherever there is a hazard, such as chemicals, toxic substances, solvents or dust, there is a risk of an accident, no matter how strictly a company adheres to stringent health & safety measures.
Emergency de-contamination units such as showers, eye or face washes, are there for the accidents that employers hope will never happen. What looks to be a low risk environment can give rise to the unexpected – whether by something unpredictable such as a dust or substance explosion, or by a lack of care and attention to safety by staff.
The first few minutes immediately after an accident can be vital for reducing the level of injury. Any contaminants in the eyes or on the skin require swift and immediate removal, and being able to take a skin or face wash straight to the victim, rather than waiting for an ambulance to arrive, is critical.
Todays’ emergency decontamination solutions come in various forms, and there is actually no excuse for being unable to source the right solution.
Allen Yates, director of Showers & Eyebaths Services Ltd, explains: “There are all sorts of considerations you need to take into account when choosing the right decontamination solution for your business. It doesn’t have to be expensive, since much of the equipment needed can be portable, moved quickly from one area of the workplace to another, and is designed to be extremely low maintenance. It’s worth taking the time to get the right unit for the task.
“If you have a working environment where there is a possibility of getting covered with a substantial amount of contaminant, then you will need a shower facility. However, where the spillage is likely to be small, you would probably just need a smaller solution for washing out eyes or a small patch of skin.
“Having easy, fast access to an eye wash can be a problem if the environment in which you are in does not allow for a permanent, plumbed in piece of kit. For this, a facility such as the E250 self-contained Portable Eye & Face wash, which can be quickly and easily carried into action as soon as required, should be considered. The 18 litre cylinder of stainless steel has a trigger operation with dust cover, and 1.5 metre flexible stainless steel hose allowing contaminants to be rinsed from any body part. Alternatively, a trolley version with twin cylinders (Model GPW3) is available, in which the waste water is collected in the underneath of the unit and easily disposed of.
“A portable shower, for example the GPSS3, can take just 60 seconds to be ready for use and fold down to the size of a small case. Storage of the shower in small workplaces becomes easy and cost effective. However, when you choose your shower unit, think practically. If you have a free standing shower facility that dumps a whole load of water straight onto a floor where others are working, you could end up with more injuries. A unit that can contain the water would therefore be necessary.
“It may be critical in certain workplaces that the ground or surface can be rinsed quickly. A retractable hose reel (model CW100) will enable you to wash either the victim or the ground, or even both. Lightweight, and with a fully automatic rewind, the hose reel is easy to install and virtually maintenance free. We also manufacture a cabinet with heater to protect the hose reel from freezing if installed outside”
As a guide, here are a few points to consider when weighing up what facility, or facilities, you may need:
• Identify the hazard and the seriousness of the risk
• Will you need a shower facility or just an eye wash?
• What is the size of the workplace, and how many workers are employed?
• Do people tend to move around a lot? If so, portability will be important.
• Can the water drain into the ground or will it need to be contained?
• Will the water supply be uninterrupted or intermittent? This is an important consideration to determine the most suitable type of shower.
• What are the physical constraints i.e. how much space do you have on which to attach or store a unit, and could it be obstructed at any time?