Constructing an emergency equipment program begins with a review of the OSHA requirements for such equipment. OSHA has developed a series of regulations that require the use of emergency eyewash and shower equipment as a form of first aid treatment. The broadest requirement for eyewash and shower usage is found in 29 CFR 1910.151, which states that “where the eyes or body of any person may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials, suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body shall be provided within the work area for immediate emergency use.”
This regulation requires that, anywhere there is a risk of a worker being injured by contact with harmful materials, the employer must provide a means for immediate rinsing away of such materials. The equipment for rinsing the contaminants must be suitable for that use, located within the work area, and able to be utilized immediately in the event of an emergency. The regulation does not, however, specify what constitutes “suitable facilities” for drenching or flushing the eyes and body. The employer is free to select the equipment which is best suited for the type of workplace and the type of risk involved.
In addition to this general requirement, OSHA has also adopted regulations that are applicable to particular workplaces and work activities. The following are areas that are specifically addressed by OSHA:
- Powered Industrial Trucks (29 CFR 1910.178 (g) (2))
- Pulp, Paper and Paperboard Mills (29 CFR 1910.261 (g) (5); 29 CFR 1910.261 (g) (18) (i))
- Telecommunications (29 CFR 1910.268 (b) (2) (i))
- Dipping and Coating Operations (29 CFR 1910.124 (g) (2))
- Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution (29 CFR 1910.269 (v) (7) (iii))