Home > Blog > Commercial > Safety > Safety first, science second: Tankless water heaters for school eyewash and face drench stations
Eyewash stations and face drench showers are common sights at chemical processing plants or other industrial settings where corrosive or dangerous materials could come into contact with sensitive body parts. Yet you don’t have to travel to your nearest a industrial plant to find these devices.
Hands-on science curricula at colleges, high schools and even elementary and middle schools mean administrators must provide eyewash or face drench stations in the classroom to keep students safe.
Science teachers and professors who mandate use of gloves, smocks and goggles when students work in laboratories will no doubt understand the value of a functional, reliable eyewash station or face drench shower. So to that end, how do tankless water heaters make a difference when hooked up to these safety devices?
Should an acid or caustic material come into contact with a student’s eyes or skin, he or she doesn’t have much time to react before the contaminant could inflict serious damage. As such, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration follows the “10 second rule”: Facilities where people handle hazardous chemicals – from processing plants to school science labs – should have an eyewash or face drench shower no more than 10 seconds away from areas workstations.
While industrial chemical plants typically have the square footage to accommodate these demands, the American science lab might not. Renovating or extending hot water lines to stay compliant to OSHA codes could set school budgets back significantly. Worse than that, the inability to rearrange a science classroom in the right way could result in a complete change of curriculum – no hands-on learning, no firsthand experience, all for the sake of safety.
Because tankless water heaters provide hot water at point of use rather than relying on a dedicated hot water distribution system, school administrators and facility managers have greater leeway in deciding where to install eyewash stations and face drench showers.
2. Compact design
As important as eyewash stations and face drench showers are, any space dedicated to their installation and use detracts from the rest of the classroom.
In underprivileged areas where class sizes only increase, spatial restrictions can be yet another factor depriving students of the ability to actively participate in next-generation science education. Installing a cumbersome eyewash station or face drench shower will only exacerbate this issue, and school administrators will take that into account.
“Eyewash stations and face drench showers must run tepid water.”
However, compact tankless water heaters take up very little space. They can even be mounted safely to the wall to further reduce the footprint necessary to bring an eyewash station or a face drench shower into the classroom. It’s the best of both worlds – teachers have the room to accommodate all their students and the demands of a hands-on science curriculum, all while maintaining the emergency resources required by the government.
3. Temperature control
Eyewash stations and face drench showers must run tepid water – not hot, not cold. Hot water applied directly to the eyes or sensitive skin could cause damage similar to the corrosive chemical injuries these tools are supposed to assuage. The hardware must have accurate, user-friendly controls to prevent users from hurting themselves further.
Dials and digital displays on tankless water heaters allow school administrators or science teachers to set temperatures for their eyewash stations or face drench showers right where they should be. With a maximum variable allowance of 1 degree Fahrenheit, point-of-use tankless water heaters give teachers and faculty the confidence they need to bring active learning to the classroom.
Accidents happen. Although schools may never activate their eyewash stations or face drench showers in response to an student emergency, a safety system powered by tankless water heaters can certainly give them a little peace of mind.