Date: Fri, 15 Feb 2008 01:21:28 EST
Reply-To: Lindaw5601**At_Symbol_Here**AOL.COM
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: Lindaw5601**At_Symbol_Here**AOL.COM
Subject: Re: Safety Shower/eyewash - drains vs no drains
Comments: To: jenny.ung.tsang**At_Symbol_Here**DHS.GOV
I finally have to put my two-penn'orth in as safety officer at a State DNA  
lab. We had a new facility and no drains for the showers, and the eyewash  
units designed to be pulled down out of the wall spouting water as they go.  I got 
nowhere with the manufacturers and they weren't even interested in the way  
we devised the solution to the required monthly safety check, which I thought  
could have increased their profits. Anyway, it works for us, but with 23 units 
 it takes at least a couple of hours for two people to maneuver the 50-gallon 
bin  on wheels through the double doors, especially when it is half-full of 
water  (that stuff is heavy!). More than double that time for one person. We 
also made  two wide flexible tubes that fit over the eyewash spigots and were  
screwed on while the water drained into the bin. Not easy to do but we got used 
 to it and there was very little mess to clean up. There is also a valve at  
the bottom of the bin for "easy" drainage outside (more doors!). 
Unfortunately we could never get Facilities to reduce the water flow to  
20-30 gpm; we were operating at 60-70 gpm! So when I trained new staff in using  a 
shower/eyewash, I would warn them about this and the dangers of slipping and  
falling with water on the floor and the fact that the water would be cold. We 
 had occasion to use an eyewash unit once and the water not only filled the 
lab  floor in 5 minutes but went out into the corridor and one person did slip  
and fall. Then all the baseboards under the cabinets had to be removed as 
water  had got behind them and there was the danger of mold growing if we didn't 
do  that. There's far more to it than just mopping up! Anyway, now new shower 
units  can be made to use warm water.
My take on this whole issue is that a safety officer must be on the design  
committee of any lab space to avoid buying the wrong equipment or putting it in 
 a stupid place just because there is a space on the blueprint. Engineers and 
 construction experts, even of labs, don't have to live with their mistakes 
and  never worked in a lab anyway. 

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