There is a good reason laboratory safety showers have no drain. The chance to create a much larger environmental hazard if what is being flushed, or is spilled and reaches the drain, gets into the environment. Larger labs are usually designed to have a 700 gallon or so catch basin for the safe shower. Other labs design a small catch basin under the shower that can be pumped. I agree a small bucket can be used to flush the shower monthly but to test the shower will take something that holds 20 or more gallons. A 55 gallon drum on a drum dolly that has a bottom spigot works well so the water can be drained elsewhere. Most lab floors are designed to prevent liquid spilled or from the shower from escaping. They will usually hold a few hundred gallons over the entire floor area. Again the expected hazards should always be considered in the design.
Quick query. We have a new building with labs under construction and near the final phases. Ammonium Hydroxide (corrosive) will be used in a ventilation hood in one of the lab rooms. There is a sink mounted eyewash planned but I just found out that no provisions were made for a safety shower. This has now been brought to the attention of the construction group but unfortunately there is no floor drain in that lab room and it’s beyond the point where one could be installed. The group is suggesting a location for the shower that is accessible within 5 seconds of where the chemical will be used but the individual would have to proceed through a swinging door. Under ANSI Z358.1 a door is considered an obstruction for corrosive hazards. Would a swinging door still be considered an obstruction? Any advice would be great.
Michael J. Reuter
Forage Lab Chemist
Health and Safety Director
730 Warren Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 1-607-257-1272, ext. 2166
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