Choose wise and save lives

Emergency Safety Showers are now an essential part of any first aid strategy providing a fast and effective method of washing chemicals and contaminants from the body or clothing in the event of accidental contact. Corporate manslaughter legislation re-enforces the need for such equipment and the importance of making the right choices.

Finding the right shower

To some extent, the same basic shower can be used world-wide. In cold climates or for outdoor use, however, it may be necessary to heat the water supply to avoid shock to the accident victim. Also, pipework may need insulating to prevent freezing. Conversely, in desert conditions insulation may be required to reduce the water temperature.


“The correct flow rate, duration and water temperature are critical,” says Hughes Safety Showers MD Tony Hughes. “They can be easily calculated by referring to the American National Standard ANSI Z 358.1 2004.”

The ANSI standard is recognised world-wide as the most comprehensive, covering not only emergency safety showers but eyebaths and facewash fountains. It provides a benchmark for equipment designers and a reference for those who have to specify equipment, regardless of where it is to be used. A new European Standard for Emergency Showers and Eyebaths is in the final stages of preparation.

Tank Showers

Showers can be fed directly from the mains but where pressure is inadequate or there is a risk of supply failure, showers are available with their own storage tank. The size depends on the application and local conditions. Hughes Safety Showers, for example, supply 350, 750 and 1200 litre models.

Emergency safety showers should have manually operated valves and deliver a minimum of 75 litres a minute from a water pressure of 2.1 Bar. For eye/facewash fountains the flow rate is 11.5 litres a minute

Facilitating location and use of equipment

Equipment must be both accessible and easy to operate, even if the victim has impaired vision. That means using hand-pull levers, panic bars or walk-on foot controls. Eyebath/facewash units can be activated using a push plate. Units that have an integral cover, can be designed to automatically activate the water supply when the lid is lifted.

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