Eye/Face Washes and Emergency Showers

This page outlines the requirements for emergency eye/face washes and emergency showers.


Regulations for Industrial Establishments (O.Reg.851) made under the Occupational Health and Safety Act of Ontario:

  • 124. Where a worker is exposed to a potential hazard or injury to the eye due to contact with a biological or chemical substance, an eye wash fountain shall be provided.
  • 125. Where a worker is exposed to a potential hazard or injury to the skin due to contact with a substance, a quick acting deluge shower shall be provided.


  • ANSI Z358.1-2014 certified or equivalent.
  • Installed by University of Waterloo, Plant Operations in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, including flushing fluid delivery requirements.
  • Provide a minimum 11.4 L/minute of flushing fluid for at least 15 minutes for eye/face wash stations and 75.7L/minute for emergency showers for at least 15 minutes.
  • Deliver tepid flushing fluid, 15.6C-37.8C.  A mixing valve may be required.


  • Eye/face wash station and emergency showers must be within 10 seconds travel distance and on the same level.
  • Path of travel shall be free of obstructions that may inhibit the use of the equipment.
  • Location identified by a highly visible sign.
  • Location shall be easily accessible and well lit.


  • Supervisors must ensure activation for plumbed/unplumbed emergency eyewash and shower equipment will be done weekly to ensure flushing fluid supply at the head of the device and to clear the supply line of any sediment build-up that could prevent fluid from being delivered to the head of the device and minimize microbial contamination due to stagnant water.  The duration of the test is dependent on the volume of water contained in the unit itself and all sections of pipework that do not form part of a constant circulation system (also known as “dead leg” portions).  Water in these sections is stagnant until a flow is activated by opening a valve.  The goal is to flush out stagnant water in the dead leg completely.  Where mixing valves are used, both the hot water and cold water supplies to the valve must be adequate flushing of both hot and cold water supplies.
  • The water remains on without the use of the operator’s hands once activated.



  1. Users who may be exposed to hazardous materials shall be instructed in the location and proper use of eyewashes and emergency showers by their supervisor.
  2. Review first aid procedures on Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for hazardous materials.


  • All persons who might be exposed to hazardous materials shall be instructed in the use of emergency eye/face wash and shower equipment and procedures for medical assistance.
  • Review first aid procedures on Safety Data Sheets for hazardous materials.
  • Use only eye face/wash units on the eyes. Showers are for head and body and should not be used for eyes due to higher water pressure.

Eye wash/shower selection

The versions recommended for University of Waterloo are shown below. For further guidance, contact the Safety Office.

Eye Wash Station

eye wash station

Eye/Face Wash Station

eye/face wash station

Drench Hose

drench hose
  • Required where materials hazardous to the eyes/skin are used.
  • Used to rinse hazardous materials from the eyes/face plus minor spills to the body.
  • Fluid nozzles are located adjacent to a sink near edge of the counter and away from any obstructions.

Eyewash and Shower Combination

eye wash and shower station

Eye Wash Bottles

eye wash bottle

These bottles are not to be used as eye washes at the University of Waterloo for the following reasons:

  • Eye wash bottles cannot maintain a water flow of 1.5 L/ min for 15 minutes.
  • The fluid in these bottles must be changed on a regular basis to maintain sterility.