Date: Fri, 16 Nov 2007 14:40:56 -0500
Reply-To: List Moderator <ecgrants**At_Symbol_Here**UVM.EDU>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: List Moderator <ecgrants**At_Symbol_Here**UVM.EDU>
Subject: 8 Re: [DCHAS-L] Safety shower guidelines?

Below are the responses I've received so far to this morning's  
posting. I agree with those who suggest that laboratory design can go  
a long way towards addressing this issue, and like Stefan, I'm  
encouraging lab designers to include flush hoses at lab sinks as well  
as showers. However, there are a lot of labs without these. I'm  
thinking in terms of educating users to think in terms of staged  
decontamination as one person below suggests.

Ultimately, the decision will be made by the people on the scene, and  
I hope to help them be ready to make a good decision.

- Ralph

From: "George H. Wahl, Jr." 
Date: November 16, 2007 10:25:28 AM EST
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Safety shower guidelines?


I am surprised!  The reactions suggest that folks believe lab  
facilities are more valuable than their own hide!

And, this would make an ideal "Teaching Safety" presentation in  
Philadelphia.  By that time you will have the full story, and  
recommendations to make.

Just a thought, but a serious one.  Real incidents immediately give  
extra importance to a safety topic as you know so well.

Have a GREAT week-end.


From: "Wawzyniecki Jr, Stefan" 
Date: November 16, 2007 10:34:26 AM EST
Subject: RE: [DCHAS-L] Safety shower guidelines?

When I evaluated our institution's compliance with eyewash/ safety  
shower requirements in labs a number of years ago, I made a point of  
recommending drench hoses at every sink, knowing that researchers  
would be more likely to use them on an affected part of their body,  
even if it is cold water, because they are in control of the  
drenching-  showers are unforgiving in that respect.  So although  
drench hoses do not meet ANSI standards, they are more likely to be  

The University accepted the reasoning.  We have both installed in labs.

-Stefan Wawzyniecki,  CIH, CHMM
Chemical Health &  Safety    UConn

From: ACTSNYC**At_Symbol_Here**
Date: November 16, 2007 10:36:57 AM EST
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Safety shower guidelines?

Locate the showers in places where damaging equipment and messing up  
the place are not going to happen.  This has to be done in the  
planning phase.  If the showers are an after thought, or if the  
architect is pressured to get too many things in the space, then this  
won't work.    But this is an excellent point for me to consider as I  
do a lot of planning with architects and have never thought about this  
problem.  Thanks.

Monona Rossol, M.S., M.F.A.,
industrial hygienist
Arts, Crafts & Theater Safety, Inc.
Safety Officer,
United Scenic Artist's, Local USA829
International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employes (IATSE)
181 Thompson St., #23
New York NY 10012-2586     212/777-0062

From: "Hadden, Susan [PRDUS]" 
Date: November 16, 2007 10:41:39 AM EST
Subject: RE: [DCHAS-L] Safety shower guidelines?

At my site (large pharma R&D lab), we have seen similar behavior.  
People go to the bathrooms to wash up. So, we put drench hoses in the  
bathrooms. We still have drench hoses in the labs and showers in the  
doorways of the labs and we teach them to use those in our trainings,  
but the fact is, unless it is truly catastrophic, they will go the  
bathroom to rinse. We bowed to the reality of their behavior.

From: "Yung Morgan" 
Date: November 16, 2007 10:51:11 AM EST

Hi Ralph,

Thanks for your message. We do automatically make the researchers go  
to the drench showers ASAP to decontaminate, but never did we realize  
other factors can prevent them from using the drenchshowers:

1.       Modesty: to remove all clothing and stand under the shower  
was considered an ICK factor  for our researchers
2.       The temperature of the water: though not for newer showers  
the old ones tend to be running lots of cold water, thus freezing cold  
in the winter.
3.       Lack of drains in our labs. This adds to the inconvenience of  
having splashing water onto equipment have kept researchers from  
liberally using lab showers.
4.       We also recommended our new lab design to incorporate a  
safety shower in all bathrooms located close to the labs  for the  
researchers to use for a much more thorough clean up and  
decontamination after the lab shower use. Again, sometimes the design  
architects will listen other times not so much.

My thoughts only.  Best wishes for a happy Thanksgiving to you and  

Yung Morgan, MsPH
Chemical Safety
Industrial Hygiene Services
Environmental Health and Safety
117 Draper hall
UMASS,Amherst MA 01003
phone (413)  545-2682
Fax  (413) 545-2600
email : pmorgan**At_Symbol_Here**

From: "Haugen, Bob" 
Date: November 16, 2007 10:55:42 AM EST
Subject: RE: [DCHAS-L] Safety shower guidelines?

Good to think through these issues.  Everyone has their own beliefs,  
but a piece of SAFETY EQUIPMENT like a safety shower (I design and  
test fume hoods) should NEVER be installed in a manner that means it  
cannot be freely used.

Having to assess the "Seriousness" of exposure before using a shower  
and having to weigh this against the value of ceiling damage or  
equipment that will be damaged TAKES VALUABLE TIME!!!!!

While my position may seem doctrinaire, older labs with marginal  
safety showers should have them removed and replaced with real ones.

That's the latest from my ivory tower.

Dr. Bob

From: "Phil Anderson" 
Date: November 16, 2007 11:08:42 AM EST
Subject: RE: [DCHAS-L] Safety shower guidelines?

Interesting responses, to say the least.

The key here is that the safety showers must either be very poorly  
installed, or that they seem so to the most potentiial users.  Next is  
that there MUST be some guidance for the treatment of emergencies (of  
all types, chemical contamination included).  This must state that  
when chemical contamination occurs, that it must be handled at the  
FIRST opportunity, at least initially, not 4 floors of running to a  
"private" shower later.  Anyone not comfortable with this idea needs  
to be accomodated by taking action to allow themselves the opportunity  
to become part of the planning committee.

Then, if there indeed is some valid reason (including some, but not  
all of the ones noted), the responders need to see that their  
observations have been noted and action has taken place.


From: "Clark, Richard C" 
Date: November 16, 2007 11:11:37 AM EST
Subject: Safety Shower Guidance


Thanks for your continuing efforts at keeping these safety issues up  
on our radar screens.  Usually I'm not a contributor to the  
discussion, but I find everyone's comments very helpful.

Your techs have very real concerns.  Safety shower areas are  
frequently encroached by equipment and furniture and it takes a lot of  
discipline to keep equipment and furniture a respectable distance in  
space-deprived labs.  A number of their concerns might be addressed by  
a ring shower curtain that is partially open when not in use and can  
be pulled shut when need.  This would control splashing and provide a  
modesty screen.  Also, it would have the advantage of "marking" the  
safety shower territory, a visible area that would prevent space  
planners from getting instruments and furniture too close to the  
shower.  It's amazing how invisible that shower head really is!

As for use of the shower, not all water lines are running heated water  
and the chill and the hypothermia are risks most of us want to avoid.   
In our facility, we're only one floor away from a heated water  
bathroom-type shower.  In our lab, I recommend a rinse for immediate  
decontamination and then, with assistance, move downstairs.

I've also done away with using large quantities of hazardous materials  
by adjusting test methods.  Spills, when they happen, are smaller and  
can usually be captured by the lab coat.  The safety shower won't go  
away, but I'm trying to make its use infrequent enough to avoid the  

Rick Clark
Sr. Research Chemist
Curwood, Inc.
Oshkosh, WI

From: "Diane Amell" 
Date: November 16, 2007 12:31:37 PM EST
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Safety shower guidelines?

I hate to say it, but I can appreciate what the technician was talking  
about. Years ago, in my pre-OSHA, pre-State of Minnesota days, I  
worked for a short time as a contract engineer in a lab. One day, I  
was rushing around trying to clean up and leave for an appointment, I  
was putting a bottle back into the overfilled flammable storage  
cabinet when another bottle fell out and hit the floor. I figured I  
just had a mess of acetone to clean up, until I noticed white smoke  
rising from the floor and my feet started burning. I took off the  
short distance to the emergency shower and turned it on as I removed  
my nylon stockings. Then I noticed that, since there wasn't a drain  
under the shower, that the water was heading directly for the mystery  
corrosive spilled on the floor. Not knowing what was going to happen  
when the water hit the mess, I abandoned the shower (without flushing  
thoroughly) and ran through the door to the next room to get  
absorbent. I made myself a miniature dam to keep the chemical and the  
water separated.

Someone finally came into the lab and saw the mess and got the  
supervising chemist. They cleaned up the mess, with the lead  
researcher mumbling that I should have let the water run, not for my  
feet, but to dilute what turned out to be ethylenediamine. While they  
cleaned up the spill, they had me sit on the counter and soak my feet  
in a sink filled with water and diet cola. Eventually, I wandered out  
to the office area and talked someone into driving me to the emergency  
room, where I got hassled about insurance while my feet looked  
slightly like hamburger and hurt a great deal. Final diagnosis was  
first and second degree burns on the tops of both feet.

After saying all that, here are a couple of things to consider:

1) Drench hoses are permitted under ANSI Z358.1-2004 only as support,  
rather than as a substitute, for plumbed and self-contained units.  
(The OSHA General Requirements for Dipping and Coating Operations, 29  
CFR 1910.124, does permit them as a substitute, however.)

2) While ANSI doesn't require it, one may consider putting in a drain  
underneath to reduce or prevent water damage (see above).

3) Keep electrical and electronic equipment, samples or chemicals away  
from the shower or eyewash. (I realize that lab space is at a  
preminium, and that nature abhors a vacuum, but besides Ralph's  
experience, I can see someone with a corrosive in their eyes fumbling  
around the area, knocking stuff on the floor while groping their way  
blindly in search of the eyewash.)

4) It wouldn't hurt to find out what the lead researchers's attitudes  
and awareness are about safety and their employees (also see above).

- Diane Amell, MNOSHA

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