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Environmental Health and Safety

Emergency Shower Testing Initiative


The purpose of this program is to re-establish regular testing of emergency showers. Departmental personnel are responsible for testing showers within their units. Emergency showers must be tested to ensure they supply clean, potable water and are in proper working order. This program defines guidelines for inspection, testing and maintenance of emergency eyewash and shower equipment.

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KSU Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) will conduct the initial inspection and testing of emergency showers within each department and provide training to departmental personnel. Regular inspections thereafter are to be conducted by departmental personnel in which the showers belong.

The purpose of this program is to ensure that safety showers 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 inspection, testing and maintenance of emergency eyewash and shower equipment.

Program Description      

KSU Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) recommends testing emergency showers biannually, preferably at the beginning of the spring and fall semesters. EHS encourages departments to use the shower inspection and testing as a training tool to demonstrate to students how to use the equipment should the need it in the event of an emergency.

Occupants of laboratories or adjacent rooms (if station is in a hallway) are responsible for inspecting and testing emergency showers. It’s important to test these devices regularly to flush out sediment buildup and stagnant water and to help ensure they will function properly in an emergency. Testing of the emergency showers will be documented.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations specify where and when emergency eye wash and shower equipment must be available. However, they do not define what the minimum requirements are for testing emergency showers. EHS has referred to the voluntary American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z358.1 Standard for Emergency Eyewashes and Shower Equipment for guidance on how to conduct emergency shower testing.

Procedures for Testing Emergency Shower 

  1. Planning:
    • Locate the water emergency shut off for the shower prior to conducting the test. This is critical in the event a shower will not turn off or leaks after a test is complete.
  2. Visual inspection 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. Shower water flow test:
    • 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 testing equipment that can be loaned to departments. Contact EHS at safety@ksu.edu or 785-532-5856.
    • Activate shower. Valve actuator must activate water flow in one second or less and must stay on unless manually turned off. Document if condition is not met. 
    • Sanitize water supply through flushing. Activate or 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 flow is continuous and if it appears that the unit can maintain flow for 15 minutes. Document if the water flow appears to be excessively slow.  

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 if the unit passed or failed the test, date test completed and your initials on the inspection tag.

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

6. If any deficiencies with the shower unit or signage were documented, submit a service request through the Division of Facilities Customer Service to have it addressed.