OSHA Safety Shower Regulations

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OSHA Safety Shower Regulations
OSHA requires emergency shower facilities for some workers who use dangerous chemicals. (Shower image by Semfamily from Fotolia.com)

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has safety shower regulations to protect workers who use dangerous chemicals. If a person comes in contact with a potentially hazardous substance at work, he may need an emergency shower to wash the chemical off.

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Shower Requirement

According to OSHA medical services regulations, employers must give employees means for "quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body" if workers may have eye or body exposure to corrosive injurious materials on the job. The regulation also says that the showers must be in the workplace in an area where employees can use them immediately.

Corrosive Materials Definition

OSHA defines corrosive materials as chemicals that destroy or permanently alter living tissue upon contact. It explains that corrosive materials are usually strong acids or bases and that employers must provide emergency safety showers for workers who use chemicals with very high or low pHs. OSHA uses lye and sulphuric acid as examples of corrosive materials that would make employers responsible for providing shower and eyewash facilities. Electrolytes from batteries also pose enough of a danger for the OSHA to require safety showers for workers who may come in contact with them.

Training

OSHA requires employers to provide training for laboratory employees who work with hazardous chemicals. Training should include the ways that employees can protect themselves from the hazards of the dangerous chemicals at work, including training on how to use safety showers in the event of skin or clothes contact with the chemicals.

Lead Exposure

The OSHA creates specific regulations for construction industry workers who have exposure to airborne lead while removing lead from buildings. These regulations require employers to provide showers for workers exposed to more than the OSHA's permissible exposure level for lead in the workplace. According to the OSHA, employees should not work in conditions with more than 50 micrograms of lead per cubic meter of air without respiratory protection and shower facilities. Employers should ensure that workers shower after work around these amounts of lead and should give employees clean towels and shower supplies.

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