Eyewashes, Drench Hoses and Emergency Showers

Eyewash stations and emergency showers should be inspected and flushed monthly to ensure proper working order.

Monthly activation/flushing ensures the following:

  • eyewash and shower are functioning correctly, and
  • guards against contaminants building up in the pipes. 


Flushing is required by laboratory staff in all active research spaces. Safety supply companies sell the required 5-gallon bucket, curtain and rod to make this task easier. Some labs just use a small tub to collect and dispose of flushed water. Since emergency equipment is often different in each lab building, the lab must use flushing apparatus that works for their particular system.

Teaching Labs

UVM Life Safety staff flush emergency showers located in hallways or teaching laboratories only.  These units will have a red barcode tag attached on or near them. 

Drench Hose

Some laboratory sinks have a single drench hose attachment by the lab sink.  A drench hose is not a substitute for an eyewash or emergencyshower but can be used as an extra piece of emergency equipment. Use drench hoses as a temporary measure to remove a chemical from eyes or skin in an emergency.

Monthly Flushing/Activation Procedure

  • Visually inspect the area around the shower/eyewash/drench hose and remove any clutter or obstructions.
  • Inspect the fixture for corrosion, leaks or pipe damage and proper placement of protective covers (when applicalble).
  • Activate the unit: Ensure that the water flow is continuous. Evaluate that the unit can maintain a flow for 15 minutes, and is not injurous to the user's eye or face (it may not be necessary to run the unit for 15 minutes).
  • Valve activator must stay on unless manually turned off.
  • Feel the water and ensure the water is tempered, not too cold or too hot. Emergency equipment should have a valve that keeps the water at a tepid 60°F (16°C) and 100°F (38°C).
  • Sanitize water supply by running the unit until the water runs clear - discharging rust, bacteria, or other contaminants.
  • Record and Document: Post an Emergency Eyewash/ Shower Flush & Inspection Log in your laboratory and record the activation monthly. New flush logs can be obtained by sending an email to safety@uvm.edu.


Report Any Malfunctioning Emergency Equipment

Malfunctions noted during a monthly activation should be reported to the Lab Supervisor. Request that a Famis work order be submitted for repairs by UVM's Physical Plant Department.

If the water supply is noticeably contaminated, flushed at a more frequent interval (2x per month or even weekly).  Please document discoloration or any other unusual finding on the flush log.

How to Use An Eyewash:
  • If a chemical gets into a lab worker's eyes, help get them to the nearest eyewash station.
  • With the eyewash on, they should use their hands to force their eyelids open.
  • Flush eyes thoroughly for 15 minutes. 
  • While flushing, have someone call 911. 
  • After 15 minutes of rinsing, seek professional medical attention immediately.
How to Use An Emergency Shower:
  • If a lab worker needs to use the safety shower, they should call for help as they activate it. This will alert people to the situation and they can call 911 for medical assistance and help control the mess created by the water.
  • Remove any contaminated clothing to prevent prolonged contact on skin.
  • Continue washing under the shower for 15 minutes or until emergency medical help arrives.
  • Obtain additional medical attention if necessary.


Can't find what you're looking for? Contact safety@uvm.edu