Meeting the standard
10 February 2015
The ANSI Z358.1-2009 standard establishes universal minimum performance and use requirements for emergency eyewash and drench shower equipment used for the treatment of the eyes, face, and/or body of a person who has been exposed to hazardous materials and/or chemicals.
The majority of the standard has not changed much since 2004, but the provision of tepid water is one of the most significant changes made during the 2009 update.
Tepid water is crucial but often overlooked the ANSI standard specifically mentions the delivery of tepid water and defines it as 'A flushing fluid temperature conducive to promoting a minimum 15 minute irrigation period, the suitable temperature range is 16°C - 38°C'.
Medical professionals recommend tepid water is used to treat chemical injuries because temperatures that exceed 38°C can enhance chemical interaction with the eyes and skin. Additionally, temperatures below 16°C can cause hypothermic shock. The standard further states that while cooler flushing fluids may provide immediate relief prolonged exposure to cold fluids can affect the ability to maintain adequate body temperature and result in the premature cessation of first aid treatment.
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