Accidents can and do happen – that’s a fact – so is your safety equipment up to the job. Wherever there is a hazard, such as chemicals, toxic substances, solvents or dust, there is a risk of injury no matter how strictly a company adheres to stringent health &  safety measures. And safety equipment isn’t just about whopping great safety tank showers. Todays’ emergency decontamination solutions come in various forms and sizes for all types of working environments. So there is actually no excuse for being unable to source the right solution. Here we take a look at the options.

Emergency de-contamination facilities are there for the accidents that employers hope will never happen. What looks to be a low risk environment can give rise to the unexpected – whether by something unpredictable such as grit blown into the eyes by strong winds, a sudden substance splash or simply by a lack of care and attention to safety by staff.

The first few minutes immediately after an accident can be vital for reducing the level of injury. Any contaminants in the eyes or on the skin require swift and immediate removal, and being able to take a skin or face wash straight to the victim, rather than waiting for an ambulance to arrive, is critical.

There are all sorts of considerations you need to take into account when choosing the right decontamination solution for your business. It doesn’t have to be expensive, since much of the equipment needed can be portable, moved quickly from one area of the workplace to another, and is designed to be extremely low maintenance. It’s worth taking the time to get the right product for the task.

If you have a working environment where there is a possibility of getting covered with a substantial amount of contaminant, then you will need a safety shower facility that can be a simple pipe shower, plumbed into the mains. However, where the spillage is likely to be small, you would probably just need a smaller solution for washing out eyes or a small patch of skin.

Having easy, fast access to an eye wash can be a problem if the environment in which you are in does not allow for a permanent, plumbed in piece of kit.

For this, a facility such as Aqua Safety Showers’ EW250 self-contained Eye wash, which can be quickly and easily carried into action as soon as required, should be considered. This 18 litre compact unit has a simple trigger operation for up to 3 minutes of use. Alternatively, the Aqua EW1562 holds 56 litres for up to 15 minutes of drench time. It can be wheeled by cart or trolley to where it is needed and a hand-held flexible hose will provide a full body wash.

A portable shower, for example the Aqua PSS, can take just 60 seconds to be ready for use and fold down to the size of a small case. Storage of the shower in small workplaces becomes easy and cost effective. However, when you choose your safety shower unit, think practically. If you have a free standing shower facility that dumps a whole load of water straight onto a floor where others are working, you could end up with more injuries. A unit that can contain the water would therefore be necessary.

For larger construction sites where the workforce, more often than not, is on the move the Aqua Mobile Safety Shower Bowser is very popular. Providing up to 2000 litres of water, it guarantees to provide up to 15 minutes of tepid water drench time and can operate in non-hazardous external environments in temperatures of -5 degrees up to +40 degrees centigrade.

In certain workplaces it may be critical that the ground or surface can be rinsed quickly. A retractable hose reel will enable you to wash either the victim or the ground, or even both. Lightweight, and with a fully automatic rewind, the hose reel is easy to install and virtually maintenance free.  It can be housed in a cabinet with heater to protect the hose reel from freezing if installed outside.

As a guide, here are a few points to consider when weighing up what facility, or facilities, you may need:

  • Identify the hazard and the seriousness of the risk
  • Will you need a safety shower facility or just an eye wash?
  • What is the size of the workplace, and how many workers are employed?
  • Do people tend to move around a lot? If so, portability will be important.
  • Can the water drain into the ground or will it need to be contained?
  • Will the water supply be uninterrupted or intermittent? This is an important consideration to determine the most suitable type of shower.
  • What are the physical constraints i.e. how much space do you have on which to attach or store a unit, and could it be obstructed at any time?