Emergency Eyewash and Showers: What's Required?

  • Eyewash/shower requirements
  • Eyewash requirements
  • Shower requirements
  • Training

Eyewash/shower requirements- ANSI Z358.1-2004

Requirements that apply to both eyewash units and shower units

  • Sole purpose must be as an eyewash or emergency shower unit.
  • If shower is needed, a separate eyewash is required (combination unit is acceptable).
  • Quick opening valve which remains open (simple to operate in ≤ 1 second).
  • Operational with both hands free.
  • Water temperature must be tepid or lukewarm (between 15° and 38°C or 60° and 100°F).
  • Travel time ≤ 10 seconds. ANSI recommends that eyewashes be located immediately adjacent to the hazard for pH ≤ 1 or ≥ 12. Unit shall be on the same level as the hazardous substance.
  • Location well lit, highly visible, marked with highly visible sign.
  • Unobstructed passages and access to units.
  • Operable at all times with provisions to prevent unauthorized shutoff.
  • Sewer connection or drain not required unless special hazards noted.
  • Units shall be installed in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.

Requirements for eyewashes only

  • Installed so that nozzles are 83.8-114.3 cm (33-45 inches) from floor.
  • Pressure reduced divergent flow of flushing fluid.
  • Minimum of 1.5 liters a minute (0.4 gallons a minute) of a potable water or commercial flush for 15 minutes.
  • Weekly checks to flush lines and verify proper operation; plumbed units to be flushed for three minutes.
  • Where contamination can occur, nozzles must be protected from contaminants by covers; removal of covers shall not require extra sleep beyond activation of unit.
  • Self-contained and portable units must provide 1.5 liters a minute (0.4 gallons a minute) for 15 minutes (equals six-gallon capacity).
  • Portable units to be used only where fixed installation is not feasible.
  • Squeeze bottles used only in conjunction with eyewashes.
  • Drench hoses used only in conjunction with eyewashes unless at open surface tanks.
  • Faucet mounted eyewashes not acceptable unless all requirements for plumbed units are met.

Requirements for showers only

  • Overhead mounted with head height 208.3-243.8 cm (82-96 inches) from floor or platform.
  • Minimum of 75.7 liters a minute (20 gallons a minute) flow of flushing fluid dispersed throughout pattern.
  • Weekly checks to flush lines and verify proper operation.
  • Valve actuator location ≤  173.3 cm (69 inches) above the floor or platform.


  • Employees are to be provided with information on the location and proper use of eyewashes and emergency showers.
  • If squeeze bottles are provided, information on proper use must be provided in conjunction with eyewashes, including holding eyelids open and rolling eyeballs to flush the entire eye for 15 minutes.