Plastic low-fat milk bottles on an assembly line having their red caps sealed by machines

Ensuring Taste and Trust: A Deep Dive into Safety Measures in Food and Drink Production

The food and drink industry is the largest manufacturing sector in the UK. Employing over 450,000 workers across 11,000 businesses¹, its influence extends internationally, firmly establishing Britain as a dietary powerhouse. With growth expected to exceed a further 12% over the coming years, the industry value is beyond measure.

In food production, many chemical soaps, disinfectants, and refrigerants are used to ensure the freshness of the product for as long as possible. With alcoholic beverages, high alkaline detergents are used to remove proteinaceous organic soils from the raw ingredients while highly acidic cleaners are used for removal of inorganic soil. Acidic cleaning agents are also used in the sanitisation of vats and barrels between brewing batches. This combination of detergents is colourless and odourless to thoroughly clean the brewing equipment while preventing contamination of further batches, but their potency provides a hazard to those handling them.

Anhydrous ammonia, for example, is a common chemical found in refrigerants in food processing and has the capability to burn the skin upon contact. At minimum, workers should be provided with appropriate PPE when exposed to such concentrates but should also have access to emergency decontamination facilities in the event of a chemical spill.

For a hygienic and sterile environment, it’s important that all safety showers inside a food and drink facility are made of stainless-steel. This ensures the showers are durable, corrosion resistant and easy to clean.

Both the European standard, EN 15154, and the internationally recognised American National Standard, ANSI/ISEA Z358.1-2014 provide uniform minimum requirements for the performance, use, installation, testing, maintenance and training of emergency safety shower and eyewash equipment. Here we outline some of the main considerations set forth in the standards.


RELATED: Read the standards


Safety considerations

  • In order to minimise any injury with a swift decontamination in the event of a spill or splash, emergency safety showers must be located within 20 metres, or 10 seconds reach, of a hazard. However, if a chemical is particularly hazardous, the safety shower and/or eye/face wash equipment must be placed immediately adjacent to the hazard.
  • The equipment must also be on the same level as the hazard and free from obstructions so that impaired users face minimal difficulty in accessing the facilities.
  • Personnel should be instructed on the safe and proper use of the emergency safety equipment and be advised of its location during their site induction, whether those are site visitors, contractors, or new workers.

Unheated solutions for indoor use

Hughes offer a number of combination safety shower and eye washes. Models like the EXP-18GS/85G can have the safety shower and eye wash activated either simultaneously or independently through different activation methods. This means that if a casualty has suffered from chemical splashes to their eyes, they will not automatically have their body drenched if this is not required.

Frost-protected solutions for outdoor sites

For sites where cleaning equipment is kept outside, Hughes’ range of frost-protected showers ensures functionality even in colder months. The EXP-AH-5GS/45G features an ABS closed bowl eyewash to protect the diffusers from external contaminants while the trace-tape heating, polyethylene jacket, and foam insulation all help to provide protection to the pipework in freezing conditions.

Contained cubicle showers

In some instances, the spray and contaminated water will need to be carefully contained to ensure a sterile environment, cubicle units with strip screens are the ideal solution as they are enclosed to contain the contaminated water with an integral drain sump when the shower is activated.

If uncertain of your site’s safety shower and eye wash requirements, get in touch with the Hughes team. We have over 55 years of manufacturing excellence in safety equipment and a team of experts knowledgeable in solutions for every challenge or limitation. Submit your enquiry today.



¹. Food and drink manufacturing is uniquely present in every UK community. Our 11,675 businesses, and 468,000 employees can be found in every constituency across the country. National and regional analysis | The Food & Drink Federation (


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