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Managing tepid water on challenging sites

17 August 2023

Tepid water is defined as temperature-controlled water and is one of the requirements for safety equipment to adhere to international standards.

For the water supplied by a safety shower to be compliant to ANSI standards this range must be between 16C to 38C (60F to 100F), and 15C to 37C (59F to 98F) for the European EN15154 standard.

Temperature outside of the tepid range is likely to cause further harm to the user. If a safety shower is positioned in an area with high ambient temperatures solar radiation can cause the water to heat up and exceed that which is considered tepid and becomes scalding. When contacting the skin, scalding water inflicts temperature burns and causes the blood vessels close to the surface of the skin to dilate, increasing the blood flow to the affected area, drawing blood away from vital organs and creating cardiovascular strain. The added heat also increases the absorption rate of chemicals on the skin, worsening the injury and causing potential internal damage.

Extreme cold temperatures provide further complications, putting the casualty at risk of hypothermia if they are to stay under the shower for the recommended time. In addition, both scalding and freezing water will cause the casualty to instinctively jump out of the shower early due to discomfort at the extreme temperature. This prevents an effective decontamination and leaves the residual chemicals on the skin and clothing risking further tissue damage. It is recommended for a casualty to maintain use of the safety shower for a minimum of 15 minutes to rinse away most hazardous chemicals.

Challenges of Tepid Water Provision

A variety of sites face challenges when implementing tepid water provisions due to the nature of the environment.

Manufacturing sites and oil refineries can occupy a large footprint that create vast, remote sections of a plant. The same applies for plant expansions, as sites grow their premises to keep up with supply and demand. The distance from the utilities supplies in these remote areas can create low, inconsistent water pressure, or may not even be connected to the utilities at all.

Oil and gas fields need to be within proximity of their raw material supply. Many operate in regions of intense heat such as the Middle East and can see highs of 54C (129F) during the summertime which make it difficult to deliver water in the tepid range.

In contrast, sites located in polar conditions have challenges providing a consistent water temperature but also face the added risk of water freezing in the standpipe, rendering the shower inoperable in an emergency.

Water Tempering Solutions

Tank-Fed Safety Showers

Emergency tank showers are an essential safety solution for remote areas or those with an inconsistent water supply. Hughes 1500L tank-fed showers are designed to hold enough water to provide the ANSI and EN compliant 15 minutes of water to a casualty.

For hot ambient climates these units can also be fitted with a cooling system to counteract the water heating due to solar radiation.

Hughes’ Non-Flameproof chiller can be side mounted to a unit to save on floor space. Flameproof chillers are also available and fitted with an explosion proof control panel for use in hazardous locations. Both units allow the water to be set at the desired temperature.

The Hughes Zero Power Cooler is the first cooling system to not require an electrical supply and has the added benefit of being service and maintenance free. Due to the unit not requiring any power it is suitable for use in hazardous environments, has zero operational costs, and produces zero carbon emissions.

For colder climates, its immersion heated tank showers protect the water in the tank from freezing. The heated models are operational in temperatures as low as -35C (-31F) and are available in both flameproof and non-flameproof variants.

For Arctic climates, Hughes has developed the specialised Polar Tank Shower. While this unit is also immersion heated, it has the added protection of double-skinned insulation and cubicle doors which close automatically behind the casualty. This protects the user from external elements which could increase the risk of hypothermia. The internal room heater also maintains a comfortable temperature inside the cubicle.

Temperature Controlled Safety Showers

Hughes’ range of temperature-controlled safety showers ensure that water provided through the inlet is tmepered before reaching the shower user.

The STD-TC-100KS/45G features a 300L water tank with heater which can be used to provide warm water to other safety showers in the vicinity. 

Self-draining Showers

The self-draining shower range is for use in tropical climates where there is a risk of standing water in the pipework to heat through solar radiation. The self-draining valve at the base of the shower will drain the shower of the remaining water between uses and is effective in climates up to 50C. The tepid water supplied to the units will then remain at the required temperature for the next user.

To discuss more tepid water solutions for your site contact Hughes’ team of experts today.