Safety expertise in extreme environments

Emergency safety showers are the first line of defence in the event of chemical spills and accidents in industry and a wide range of products has evolved to accommodate specific hazards. Meeting the needs of companies operating in extreme environments can be particularly challenging for the specialist suppliers of this vital equipment.

Workers in the oil and gas industry frequently face extreme conditions, both on-shore and off-shore. Standard emergency safety showers and eyebaths are not designed for such environments and therefore cannot always provide adequate treatment in the event of an accident.

That’s why Hughes Safety Showers has developed a specific range of products to operate in very high and low ambient temperatures and withstand the harsh and often corrosive environment encountered off-shore.

As a result of its experience in the North Sea oil fields, Hughes has created a comprehensive solution – ‘Offshore Total Support’. This includes emergency safety showers and eyebath/facewash units designed to meet the needs of the oil and gas industry, and technical back up from approved and certified engineers. The most popular model comprises an emergency shower with integral eyebath/facewash and a separate hand held body spray. The whole unit is heated to provide frost protection in exposed locations. The choice of materials is particularly important. Stainless steel pipe work and fittings are essential, and depending on the precise location, a flameproof, ATEX approved design is often required.

In hot climates, such as Saudi Arabia, Hughes supplies tank showers that are designed to maintain water at a safe operating temperature. Tank showers are an ideal solution where mains water supplies are inadequate or unavailable. The larger models, with a capacity of 1200 litres, can deliver sufficient water for the minimum 15 minutes specified by the internationally accepted ANSI standard even if the mains supply fails. Insulation, sun shields and chiller units are employed to keep water stored in the shower’s tank below the 38°C limit specified within the standard. Hughes has developed these temperature control techniques under field conditions with customers in the Middle East.

Self-draining showers are an alternative where mains water supplies are available. When these showers are not in use, water automatically drains from the standpipe to prevent it from being heated by solar radiation.

At the other extreme, Hughes has developed showers for use in cold climates. These 1200 litre tank showers have integral eyebath/facewash units and are supplied with ‘winterised booths’ to protect casualties while they are showering and afterwards, provide safe refuge from the elements until help arrives. Double-skinned insulated doors help to maintain a comfortable temperature within the unit. The units are fitted with an integral tank heater so that the shower can deliver sufficient warm water in accordance with the latest ANSI standard.

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