Washington State University
Environmental Health & Safety Emergency Washing Facilities

Emergency Washing Facilities

Emergency washing facilities must be provided in any work area, including laboratories, in which the potential exists for an employee to be exposed to corrosives, strong irritants, toxic chemicals or any other potentially hazardous chemical or substance which can be absorbed through the eyes or skin. When these substances are present, an eyewash station must be present.

It might also be necessary to have an emergency deluge shower if the potential exists for major portions of an employee’s body to contact these substances.  Lastly, a drench hose may be useful for additional washing of the body, such as the extremities.  Note: A drench hose is considered a supplemental flushing device and does not meet the requirements of a shower or eyewash, but in many instances is invaluable for local flushing of the body in addition to or in place of an emergency washing facility.

In general, emergency showers and eyewashes must be located no more than fifty (50) feet and ten (10) seconds of the site of potential exposure to the hazardous substance. There must be no obstruction of the emergency washing facility, and it must be maintained in good operating order.

Eyewashes are to be activated weekly by the user to flush out excess mineral and sediment buildup and to ensure clear flowing water.  Most importantly, this weekly requirement ensures that the eyewash is functioning properly.  If your eyewash is not located near a sink or drain, use a bucket to collect the water if possible.  Emergency showers, on the other hand, are NOT to be activated by the user except in the case of an emergency.  Emergency washing facilities are tested yearly by Facilities to ensure proper functionality.

Occupational Health & Safety can evaluate your work area to determine the need for emergency washing facilities and recommend which kinds of emergency washing facilities are required and where they should be installed.

For routine repairs and maintenance on emergency washing facilities, complete on online service request through myFacilities or call 335-9000.  Examples of maintenance or repair situations may include missing/broken parts and mineral buildup in the nozzles which may impact flow.


Factsheet:  Emergency Washing Facilities: Determining Need and Location
Factsheet:  Emergency Washing Facillities: Specifications, Responsibilities & Training
Safety Policies and Procedures Manual: Eyewashes and Showers


WSU Pullman campus:

Tom Ebeling
Shawn Ringo
Sarah Greer