Combat bacteria growth

20 September 2018

Emergency safety showers and eye wash stations are essential for sites where workers could come into contact with hazardous chemicals.

In some environments providing this life saving equipment can be challenging, for instance a consistent supply of potable water cannot be guaranteed, or a tepid temperature can be difficult to maintain due to extreme ambient temperatures.

In these instances, emergency tank showers provide a viable solution, explains Hughes Safety Showers. However, because emergency tank showers can go unused for extended periods of time, the water held in the tanks may become stagnant. This makes it susceptible to bacterial growth and if not properly treated and maintained can become a source of infection.

The tepid water temperature range required by EU and International standards (ANSI Z358.1 and EN15154) is another contributing factor. These standards stipulate that the water temperature in emergency safety showers must be between 16°C (60°F) and 38°C (100°F). Unfortunately, bacteria thrive in temperatures between 20°C (68°F) and 45°C (113°F). 

The UK Health and Safety Executive developed a guide to help with controlling the risks of exposure to Legionella bacteria. It recommends developing a risk assessment profile for all man-made water systems, including safety showers and eye/face wash equipment. A routine inspection cycle should include sterilising strainers, shower heads and nozzles. 

Hughes offers a service plan to ensure that your safety showers are disinfected regularly to reduce the risk of bacterial growth. 

Hughes Safety Showers treats all the emergency tank showers with a self-sanitizing treatment (SST) on the tank walls prior to leaving the manufacturing facility. The SST inhibits the growth of bacteria, keeping shower users safe from infection. Annual re-treatment is recommended and is part of all annual services provided by Hughes. 

An additional operational treatment for sanitizing emergency tank shower water is the use of Hydroclenz. This product provides constant protection against infestations of pathogenic bacteria. The ceramic component serves as an oxidizing agent, while the noble metal acts as an ionizing agent, working together to kill the bacteria.