Keep Emergency Equipment Primed for an Emergency
We have all seen the emergency equipment located around us, either in our laboratories, manufacturing plants, or hallways. We are trained in how to use it, and naturally expect it to work in an emergency. But did you know that proper maintenance and testing of emergency equipment is critical to a safety program? Below is a brief summary of what you can do to increase the chance that your emergency equipment will work properly in the event of an emergency.
First Aid and Spill Kits: Safety Partners, Inc. recommends that the contents of these kits be checked monthly and restocked as necessary. Some basic items that a first aid kit should include are 4x4 bandages, antibiotic ointment, a CPR mask, gloves, tape, tweezers, and an ice pack. Spill kits and first aid kits should be put together based on the hazards in the area. For example, if you are working with hydrofluoric acid, then the first aid kit should include calcium gluconate gel. Basic spill kit contents should include silver shield gloves and a few pairs of heavy nitrile or butyl gloves (depending on the chemicals used in the lab), goggles, spill socks, booms and pillows or universal sorbent, safety scissors to cut off contaminated clothing and barrier tape.
Emergency Eye Wash and Showers: OSHA and ANSI provide guidance for emergency eye washes and showers. Emergency eye washes and showers should be activated weekly and inspected, including inspection of filters, annually to ensure they meet ANSI Z358.1 requirements. The area should be free of obstructions and identified with a sign.
Portable Fire Extinguishers: Portable fire extinguishers must be inspected monthly. Inspection should include, but is not limited to, ensuring the fire extinguisher is hung in the proper location, is free of obstructions, is charged, and has the pin in place. Maintenance should be done by trained personnel annually or after activation of a portable fire extinguisher. Portable fire extinguishers must also be hydrostatically tested by trained personnel. The time interval for hydrostatic testing depends on the type of extinguisher.
This article should provide you with some basic information and a good starting point for proper maintenance and testing of your emergency equipment, but it is by no means an exhaustive list. Take the time now to make an inventory of your own equipment and supplies, review the appropriate guidelines, and set up a regular maintenance schedule. After all, the last thing you want to worry about during a crisis is whether or not your safety equipment will function properly.
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Safety Partners efficiently and cost-effectively implements hands-on environmental, health, and safety (EHS) programs for nanotech, clean tech and life sciences companies. Safety Partners tailors its programs to each client's unique science, processes, procedures, and facilities, while reducing program implementation burdens. Its expertise is unmatched, clocking more than 150,000 hours at 220 New England life sciences firms.