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Emergency Considerations

Eye wash and emergency showers

Suitable and sufficient eye wash facilities must be provided in every chemical laboratory.

During a major refurbishment project or if planning a new facility, consideration should be paid to the installation of a dedicated plumbed-in eye wash station as at this stage the installation costs would be minimal. It should be noted however that these will require weekly flushing by users of the space to ensure that the system remains operational and for water hygiene purposes if installed.

If bottled eye wash stations will provide sufficient control for the types of chemical hazards that are to be present in the space, then these must be of the double disposable bottle type.

If the risk assessment for the activities planned in the facility identifies that there could be a significant chemical incident that would warrant an emergency shower to be installed, this must be highlighted early to examine the feasibility of getting water to the space and to examine drainage provision. Privacy for the location of an emergency shower should always be considered, as too should the possibility of use of the shower introducing other risks (such as water ingress into electrical sockets or cable troughs). Again, if an emergency shower is installed, this will require routine maintenance by users of the space, including the flushing of water every week (which should be made easy to do and considered at the design stage) and disinfection of the shower head.

Fire detection and fire fighting equipment

During the design stage, as soon as the types and volumes of chemicals and the types of activities that are to take place within the space are known, consideration must be paid as to what type of detector head(s) may be most suitable and whether any particular risks could present themselves once the laboratory is operational to warrant the need for additional fire fighting equipment to be installed. This will form part of the risk assessment process and consultation with the University Fire Safety Officer may be warranted at this time.