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Checking the Eye-Showers

According to the BGI/GUV-I 850-0 (§ 7.2) following checks have to be performed.

  • The entrepeneur has to ensure that eye-showers are checked at least once per month by a commissioned individual.
  • On checking the eye-shower the volume flow, the distribution of the water flow and the quality of the water are to be tested by visual inspection.

This check is in fact also a maintainance operation because the eye-shower has to be set into operation and is in this situation flushed with fresh water. This is important since otherwise the water will become contaminated which is bad for eyes.

It is a good idea to do an extended check at least once a year.

This quick instruction may be put close to the eye shower. It is a WORD-document and may and should be adjusted to your local needs. If you print it out 1:2 scaled down only one sheet of paper is needed.

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You may check this yourself.

The requirements are stated in § of the BGI/GUV-I 850-0:

  • Every spray head of an eye-shower must release at least 6 l of water per minute.
  • The spray height must be not less than 10 cm and not more than 30 cm.

These parameters should be monthly checked.

Sprühstärke zu stark Sprühstärke zu schwach Sprühstärke OK
This water jet shoots out of the spray head about half of a meter. Would you like to put your eye into this jet? This will be painful even with an uninjured eye! With this kind of water flow you may still be able to reach frog eyes. Normal human beeings remain empty-handed. In this case the water flow is too small. 10 to 30 cm spray height are OK. In this situation 6 l of water should be released per minute. Check using a bucket with graduation and counting the time.

Adjusting the spray force:

Einstellen der Sprühstärke Einstellen der Sprühstärke
An adjusting screw which may be moved either by a screw-driver or - better - with an Allen key as shown in the picture. Even more comfortable because no tool is needed: A toggle at the wall outlet.

Unfortunately it is not OK to adjust the spray force once and forget the problem then. The water pressure may change, pipes and in particular the spray head may become calcified which has influence to the water flow and once a day again the spray force is not OK. Therefore check this regularly.

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Germs are even bad for an uninjured eye - for an injured eye they are extremely bad!

There have been studies showing that eye-showers get infected with germs, if the water is not exchanged frequently. Also germs which may develop an inflammation of the eye conjunctiva have been detected. Please consider that in case of an accident infected water is released to an injured eye!

What to do?

According to § 7.2 of the BGI/GUV-I 850-0 eye-showers have to be checked at least once a month. This includes putting the eye-shower into operation. Rinse with plenty of water.

What else can you do?

Do not take eye-showers as a sacred object which may only be grabbed in case of an accident. On the contrary it is much better to use the eye-shower more often than once a month. According to § 7.2 of the BGI/GUV-I 850-0 you are even legally authorized to do so.

  • What about to use this stylish eye-shower instead of the boring water tap when you like to clean the washbasin or to fill any bowl with water!

The only thing which you have to ensure is that the eye-shower remains clean. A calcified spray head is also not OK.

You should put the eye-shower at least once a week into operation. Take this opportunity to check inconspicuosly spray width and calcification.

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Unhygienic Bullet into the Eye

You should not wait until the situation is like in the picture! Most of the holes are blocked or narrowed - from the remaining holes the water comes out in thin jets. Think yourself about the hygienic problems.

It is very easy to solve the problem:

Unscrew the spray head! Then you may easily press out the rubber grommet. You are a chemist and therefore you know, that lime may be dissolved by a diluted solution of citric acid. You know that hydrochloric acid also works, but you will not do so, because then also the red varnish will flake off. If escaping of bubbles stops rinse with water and reassemble.

A strong and often recurring calcification may be an indicator, that the valve does not completely stop the water flow.

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You really do not want to have this in your eye!

It may happen that the spray head is very dirty. To solve the problem first unsrew the spray head:

Now press out the rubber grommet. Clean the rubber grommet with a mild soap solution. It is best to do this in an ultrasonic bath. Then reassemble.

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This is no matter of appearance but a real defect instead!

  • Are there also calcified surfaces under this eye-shower, for example at the bench or on the floor?
  • Do you hear a little sound if you put your ear close to the eye-shower?
  • Does the eye-shower feels somehow wet?

Probably the water flow cannot be switched off completely and the stop valve has to be repared. Apply the eye-shower a cupple of times and check if the valve stops the water flow properly. If not ask for repair. You cannot repair this problem yourself.

If the eye-shower is OK you should remove all lime. Yes: Concentrated hydrochloric acid works fast and pretty good, but the eye shower will be damaged afterwards. Use diluted citric acid instead, have a lot of patience and be busy with a brush!

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In case of a retrofit it might be difficult to find a suitable place.

Everything is fine, if the eye-shower may be installed apart from the draining board.

But what to do, if there is no suitable place apart from the draining board or if there are electrical sockets (see yellow marks in the picture) so that you might get an electric shock if you put there an eye-shower into operation?

As you see in the picture in this situation as a result of the embarrassment the eye-shower has been installed below the draining board. But this is not a good solution because now everything which is dropping down from the draining board may find its way into the eye-shower!

Check if electric sockets beside the draining board are really necessary. In the picture you see, that these sockets have been removed and the opening has been closed with a plate. (See yellow mark.)
This is a closer view of the same situation. Again the yellow mark shows the plate which is now found instead of the electric sockets. The holder for the eye shower is a self-made plastic bar.

Ensure that in case of an accident the eye-shower could be found even with closed eyes and that operating the eye shower does not affect other laboratory equipment.

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