Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Showers, Wash Stations Questioned

Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Showers, Wash Stations Questioned

Article excerpt


An OSHA compliance officer conducted an inspection of Fiberglass Systems Inc., a Boise, Idaho, company which specializes in the finishing of shower stalls, bathtubs, and miscellaneous products. (The process involves the use of chemicals that could cause eye irritation.) Subsequently, the company was issued two citations for alleged violations of:

* 29 CFR 1910.151(c), for failure to provide suitable acilities in the work area for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body following exposure to injurious materials, and

* 29 CFR 1910.106(e)(2)(ii)(b)(2), for storing more than 120 gallons of flammable or combustible liquid outside a storage room or storage cabinet.

A total of $640 in penalties was proposed. The company contested the citations, and the case came before Administrative Law Judge Sidney Goldstein.

The compliance officer testified that, during her inspection, she observed some facilities for quick drenching and flushing for eyes and body, including an emergency shower and portable eyewash stations. There were also restrooms with running water, she testified, but none in two of the buildings.

Based on her observations, the compliance officer said the standard had been violated. She testified that the ideal emergency eye treatment was a flushing eyewash station which could provide a water supply for 15 continuous minutes as recommended by the material safety data sheets supplied by the manufacturers of the chemicals used at the worksite.

Although OSHA regulations do not state how close to employees drench water should be available, the compliance officer stated that she understood the general practice to be 25 ft without obstacles. She further testified that she was concerned with the angle of spray in the shower, but she did not measure the shower's water flow.

Upon questioning, the compliance officer agreed that small containers of chemicals presented merely a possibility of contamination, and that in one area she did not observe any chemicals.

The company's president testified that, following a previous OSHA inspection concerning eyewash stations, he had complied with the recommendations made by adding several quick drenching stations and an emergency shower. …

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