Policy Statement


In many City workplaces, accidental exposure to a hazardous agent can occur, causing injury to the eyes and/or body. These hazards shall be eliminated or minimized through the use of substitution, engineering controls or personal protective equipment. To reduce or mitigate the effects of exposure after all such control measures have been implemented, as many eyewash facilities, emergency showers and antidotes, flushing fluids or washes as may be needed for emergency treatment must be readily available for use in case of exposure incidents.

Antidotes, flushing fluids or washes are acceptable as temporary measures for inaccessible areas or as measures for mobile workplaces. They are not a replacement for permanent plumbed-in stations at worksites that can be plumbed and new-builds.


This policy applies at any City of Toronto workplaces where a worker may be exposed to injury resulting from exposure to a hazardous agent. Work areas and operations that may require these devices include, but are not limited to:

  • Battery charging areas
  • Laboratories
  • Biological interaction situations
  • Spraying operations
  • High dust situations
  • Cleaning and/or degreasing baths
  • Welding shops
  • Mechanic areas
  • Industrial equipment areas
  • Paint spraying and paint stripping operations
  • Dipping operations
  • Hazardous substances preparation and handling areas


Emergency Shower

A device designed and intended to deliver flushing fluid in sufficient volume to cause that fluid to cascade over the entire body.

Eye/Face Wash

A device used to provide fluid to irrigate and flush both the face and the eyes simultaneously.


A device used to provide fluid to irrigate and flush the eyes.

Combination Unit

An interconnected assembly of emergency equipment supplied by a source of flushing fluid.

Drench Hose

A supplemental device consisting of a flexible hose connected to a flushing fluid supply and used to provide fluid to irrigate and flush.

Antidote, Flushing Fluid, Wash

Any of potable (drinking) water, preserved water, preserved buffered saline solution or other medically acceptable solutions. This document will use the term “flushing solution” to mean any of these acceptable fluids unless otherwise specified.

Hazardous Agent

Any substance or compound that has the capability of producing adverse effects on the health and safety of humans.

Irrigation Station

An eyewash, eye/face wash, emergency shower, combination unit, antidote, flushing fluid or other, that supplies a source of fluid.

Personal Wash

A supplementary device that supports plumbed and/or self-contained units, by delivering immediate flushing fluid to the eyes or body. [Note: Whenever a plumbed and/or self-contained unit can be installed, such personal devices are to be used only to supplement the plumbed and/or self-contained unit.]


Senior managers will:

  • Budget for installation and maintenance of irrigation stations as required by this policy, program standard and occupational health and safety regulations
  • Ensure that irrigation station needs are considered when tendering for new buildings/structures or significant renovations
  • Ensure that processes are in place for implementation of this policy and program standard
  • Report to the Occupational Health and Safety Co-ordinating Committee on the status of implementation of this policy within the respective Division, when requested

Managers/supervisors will ensure that:

  • Hazard assessments are conducted to identify areas/situations where irrigation stations are required and the appropriate type of irrigation unit based on the hazard assessment is selected. Current and up-to-date Safety Data Sheets are to be reviewed as part of this hazard assessment. The following are to be considered:
    • The nature of the work
    • The location in which work is performed (e.g. fixed, mobile, isolated with worker working alone)
    • The hazardous agents to which workers may be exposed
    • That an anti-slip flooring solution is in place where drainage is insufficient or non-existent
  • Irrigation stations are:
    • Clearly marked with a sign or label
    • Located or installed in a conspicuous place near where the hazardous biological or chemical agent is kept or used
    • Readily accessible to workers
    • Present with instructions for its use or treatment displayed on the flushing equipment or as near to it as practical
  • Irrigation stations (whether plumbed-in, self-contained or personal) are inspected
  • Plumbed-in units are to be flushed weekly
  • Each emergency shower, plumbed eyewash, combination unit, drench hose, personal wash is tagged (see sample tag in Appendix A) so that annual and weekly testing can be documented and any testing is recorded
  • Work orders for units not operating properly are submitted and all deficiencies are fixed promptly.
  • A temporary solution is in place if permanently installed unit is not functional for any reason and employees are notified of the deficiency and of alternate temporary solution.
  • Workers are informed and trained in the location and proper procedure for using the unit in case of an emergency
  • The nearby vicinity is free from obstructions
  • Mobile or outdoor workplaces not adjacent to a building are provided optimal eyewash equipment based on current technology, supplemented with personal protective equipment when needed
  • A Supervisor’s Report of Injury/Incident (refer to the Investigation and Reporting of Work-Related Injuries and Incidents Policy) is filled out for all incidents in which flushing solutions are used
  • In the case of antidotes, flushing fluids or washes being used, replace with a new unit

Facility managers, whether divisional or with Facilities Management, will ensure that:

  • Irrigation units are installed or are available in the areas identified in accordance with the current ANSI Standard (Summarized in Appendix B)
  • Inspections that include measurement of flow and inspection of all components for corrosion or other damage are conducted at least annually
  • Annual inspections are documented
  • Availability and maintenance of irrigation stations are built into service level agreements if employees who may be exposed to hazardous agents occupy a leased facility

Workers shall:

  • Be informed of the hazards in their workplace
  • Know the location of emergency irrigation stations
  • Be familiar with the procedure of using irrigation stations
  • Report to management any identified deficiencies or lack of information and instruction in the use and/or location of irrigation stations.
  • Use irrigation stations in accordance with information and instruction provided
  • Not obstruct the path to an irrigation station
  • Report all incidents where flushing solutions are used to the supervisor

Joint /Health and Safety Representatives will:

  • Incorporate irrigation station inspections into their regular monthly workplace inspections, using the Joint Health and Safety Committee/Health and Safety Health and Safety Committees Representative Checklist (Appendix C)
  • Report to management any identified deficiencies

People & Equity Occupational Health and Safety will:

  • Update and maintain this policy as new developments arise.

Occupational Health and Safety Co-ordinating Committee will:

  • Monitor the status of corporate-wide implementation of this policy.


Occupational Health and Safety Act’s Regulations for Industrial Establishments, Section 124
The American National Standards Institute’s (ANSI) standard for emergency eyewash and shower equipment, Z358.1-2014.

Approved by

Occupational Health and Safety Coordinating Committee (OHSCC), September 29, 2015
City Manager, December 7, 2015

Date Approved

December 7, 2015

Revised and re-endorsed by OHSCC

December 4, 2019