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Environmental Health and Safety

Emergency Shower Activation


The purpose of this program is to ensure that safety showers supply clean, potable water and are in proper working order. Departmental personnel are responsible for flushing showers within their units. This program defines guidelines for assessment, flushing and maintenance of emergency eyewash and shower equipment.

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Emergency showers must be assessed and activated to ensure they supply clean, potable water and are in proper working order. This applies to all emergency shower units in university buildings. This program defines guidelines for assessment, activation, and maintenance of emergency eyewash and shower equipment. Semi-annual flushing is to be conducted by departmental personnel in which the showers belong.

Program Description      

KSU Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) recommends flushing emergency showers semi-annually, preferably at the beginning of the spring and fall semesters. EHS encourages departments to use the shower activation and flushing as a training tool to demonstrate to students how to use the equipment should it be needed in the event of an emergency. 

Department personnel are responsible for flushing emergency showers, including those located in the corridor outside of the laboratories. It’s important to activate these devices regularly to flush out sediment buildup and stagnant water and to help ensure they will function properly in an emergency. Flushing of the emergency showers shall be documented. 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulation 29 CFR 1910.151(c) specifies when and where emergency eye wash and shower equipment must be available, however they do not provide information regarding the installation and operation of the equipment. OSHA refers to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z358.1 Standard for Emergency Eyewashes and Shower Equipment as a source of guidance for conducting emergency eyewash and shower testing.

Procedures for Flushing Emergency Shower 

1. Planning:

    • Locate the water emergency shut off for the shower prior to activating the unit. This is critical in the event a shower will not turn off or leaks after a test is complete.

2. Visual assessment of the unit:

    • Look for corrosion, leaks or pipe damage prior to activating shower to avoid damaging the unit and potentially creating a flood.
    • Check that the path of travel to the unit is free of obstructions. If obstructions are present, clear them prior to activating shower.  
    • Ensure valve actuator is located no more than 69 inches from the floor. Document if condition is not met.
    • Check that shower is identified with a highly visible sign that is positioned so that it is visible within the area served by the shower. Document if condition is not met.

3. Activating the shower:

    • Set up safety shower test kit (curtain or funnel) to prevent splashing the surrounding area. Direct water to the device chosen to collect the water. (EHS uses a 55 gallon drum.) Many showers deliver an excessive amount of water that may overwhelm a sink or floor drain.
      • EHS has shower flushing equipment that can be loaned to departments. Contact EHS at safety@ksu.edu or 785-532-5856.
    • Sanitize water supply through flushing. Activate shower and flush the unit until the water runs clear to discharge rust, bacteria, or other contaminants. If an excessive amount of water is being delivered, you may need to stop the shower sooner to prevent the collection device from overflowing.
    • Observe the water flow and evaluate if the shower is in good working order. If unsure shower is in proper working order, contact EHS to assist with evaluating the shower. Document any concerns observed during the test.

4. Information on unit tag:

    • Attach an inspection tag to the unit, or update an existing tag. It is also acceptable to post the test results near the emergency shower if the department prefers.
      • EHS has inspection tags available upon request. Contact EHS at safety@ksu.edu or 785-532-5856.
    • Document the most recent date on which the unit was flushed and initial on the inspection tag.

5. Keep a detailed record, including dates and all the items noted during the assessment, for each safety shower flushed. Submit records to EHS at safety@ksu.edu.

6. If any deficiencies with the shower unit were documented, submit a service request through Facilities Customer Services using the online form or by contacting the office at 785-5632-6412.