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? Ralph, 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. George == 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 used. The University accepted the reasoning. We have both installed in labs. -Stefan Wawzyniecki, CIH, CHMM Chemical Health & Safety UConn == From: ACTSNYC**At_Symbol_Here**cs.com 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. and 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 artscraftstheatersafety.org == 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 yours. 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**ehs.umass.edu == 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 Kewaunee == 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. Phil == From: "Clark, Richard C" Date: November 16, 2007 11:11:37 AM EST Subject: Safety Shower Guidance Ralph: 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 problems. 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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