Emergency Safety Equipment


All fire extinguishers are inspected annually and maintained by EHS. Laboratory personnel should perform regular visual checks (minimum on a monthly basis) to ensure fire extinguishers present in their labs are fully charged. For those fire extinguishers with a readout dial, labs only need to ensure the indicator arrow on the readout dial is within the green zone. If the indicator arrow is on either side of the green zone, contact the UO Fire Marshal Group to have the fire extinguisher replaced. Any fire extinguisher that has been used at all, even if it wasn’t fully discharged, needs to be reported to the UO Fire Marshal Group so a replacement fire extinguisher can be provided.


All laboratories using hazardous chemicals, particularly corrosive chemicals, must have access to an eyewash and/or an emergency shower as per the OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.151 – Medical Services and First Aid. The ANSI Standard Z358.1-2009 - Emergency Eyewash and Shower Equipment provides additional guidance by stating that emergency eyewash and/or emergency showers be readily accessible, free of obstructions and within 10 seconds from the hazard. The ANSI standard also outlines specific requirements related to flow requirements, use of tempered water, inspection and testing frequencies, and training of laboratory personnel in the proper use of this important piece of emergency equipment.

Due to the flow requirements outlined in the ANSI standard, hand held bottles do not qualify as approved eyewashes.

Testing and Inspection of Emergency Eyewash and Showers

The ANSI Standard provides guidance by stating that plumbed emergency eyewashes should be activated weekly; eyewashes and showers should also inspected annually. Regular activation (weekly flushing) ensures the units are operating properly, helps to keep the units free of clutter, and helps prevent the growth of bacteria within the plumbing lines, which can cause eye infections. It is recommended to allow the water to run for at least 3 minutes. EHS strongly encourages laboratories to document weekly flushings using a log that is attached near the eyewash station.

Laboratories are responsible for activating eyewashes in their spaces, ensuring that access to eyewashes and emergency showers are kept free of clutter, and ensuring the eyewash nozzle dust covers are kept in place. If nozzle dust covers are not kept on the eyewash nozzles, dust or other particles can clog the nozzles and effect water flow. This could result in dust or other particles being forced into the eyes when the eyewash is used.

Report any malfunctioning eyewashes and emergency showers to your Facility Manager to have the unit repaired. If either the emergency shower or eyewash is not working properly, post a Do Not Use sign on the unit to alert others and notify EHS immediately.

EHS staff performs annual inspections of eyewashes and emergency showers. EHS will test units for compliance with ANSI Z358.1-2014 including:

  • Testing the water flow for proper quantity, spray pattern, and good water quality.
  • Ensuring the unit is the proper height from the floor.
  • Ensuring the unit is not obstructed.
  • Ensuring the unit has a tempering valve (if the unit does not have a tempering valve, this will be identified as a recommended repair in the inspection report).
  • Ensuring valves are working properly.
  • Ensuring signs are posted.
  • Ensuring the unit is free of corrosion.

Installation of New Emergency Eyewash and Showers

As with installation of other safety equipment, all new eyewashes and emergency showers must be installed in consultation with CPFM, EHS, and the appropriate campus service shops. All new installations or eyewashes and emergency showers must comply with applicable regulations.

Using Emergency Eyewash and Showers

Preplan your experiments and include emergency procedures. Identify the locations of the nearest emergency shower and eyewash before working with hazardous chemicals. In the event of an emergency (chemical spill or splash) where an eyewash or emergency shower is needed, follow these procedures:


  1. If you get a chemical in your eyes, yell for help if someone else is in the lab.
  2. Immediately go to the nearest eyewash and push the activation handle all the way on.
  3. Put your eyes or other exposed area in the stream of water and begin flushing.
  4. Open your eyelids with your fingers and roll your eyeballs around to get maximum irrigation of the eyes.
  5. Keep flushing for at least 15 minutes or until help arrives. The importance of flushing the eyes first for at least 15 minutes cannot be overstated! For accidents involving hydrofluoric acid, follow the hydrofluoric acid precautions below.
  6. If you are alone, call 911 after you have finished flushing your eyes for at least 15 minutes.
  7. Seek medical attention.
  8. Complete a Workplace Injury Form.

If someone else in the lab needs to use an eyewash, assist them to the eyewash, activate the eyewash for them, and help them get started flushing their eyes using the procedures above and then call 911. After calling 911, go back to assist the person using the eyewash and continue flushing for 15 minutes or until help arrives and have the person seek medical attention.


While commercially available spill kits are available from a number of safety supply vendors, laboratory personnel can assemble their own spill kits to properly clean up chemicals specific to their laboratory. Whether commercially purchased or made in-house, EHS strongly encourages all laboratories to obtain a spill kit for their use. Colleges and departments should give serious consideration to distributing basic spill kits to all laboratories within their units.

A useful spill kit can be assembled using a 2.5 or 5 gallon bucket containing the following absorbent materials. Stock only the absorbents appropriate for your space. Each container of absorbent must be labeled as to what it contains and what type of spills it can be used for.

Spill kit absorbent material:

  • 1-5 lbs of ground corn cobs (SlikQwik) (for most aqueous and organic liquid spills)
  • 1-5 lbs of absorbent clay (kitty litter) (for oils or oxidizing liquids)
  • 1-5 lbs of sodium bicarbonate (for liquid acid and base spills)
  • 1-5 lbs of calcium carbonate or calcium bicarbonate (for HF spills)

Additional Items:

  • Whisk broom and dust pan (available at home improvement stores)
  • Tongs for retrieving sharps or glass
  • Biohazard bag and sharps container if BSL-2 lab
  • Sponge
  • pH paper
  • 1 gallon and 5 gallon bags - for collection of spill cleanup material
  • Small and large Ziploc bags – for collection of spill cleanup material or to enclose leaking bottles/containers.
  • Safety goggles
  • Thick and thin nitrile gloves
  • Hazardous waste labels

The spill kit should be clearly labeled as “SPILL KIT”, with a list of the contents posted on or in the kit. This list should include information about restocking the kit after use and where to obtain restocking materials.

Laboratory personnel must also be properly trained on:

  • How to determine if they can or should clean up the spill, or if they should call for assistance (EHS during work hours or UOPD Dispatch during evenings or weekends).
  • Where the spill kit will be kept within the laboratory
  • What items are in the kit and where replacement items can be obtained
  • How to use the items in the kit properly
  • How to clean up the different types of chemical spills
  • How to dispose of spill cleanup material