Tepid Water: Definition, Uses and Importance

emergency eyewash and shower station that uses tepid waterWhat is Tepid Water?

Tepid water is defined as water that is neither too hot nor too cold, typically within a temperature range of 60°F to 100°F (16°C to 38°C). This specific range is chosen to balance comfort and safety, making it ideal for various applications, particularly in mitigating emergency situations involving hazardous chemicals.

Tepid water is sometimes confused with lukewarm water and used interchangeably. But lukewarm water generally refers to a slightly narrower temperature range, centered around body temperature. This would typically be between 98°F and 105°F (36.5°C to 40.5°C), just a bit warmer than tepid water. There is also a difference between tepid water and room temperature water which refers to water that has naturally adjusted to the ambient temperature of the surroundings and is often preferred for consumption.

Key Takeaways:

  • Tepid water is controlled within a temperature range of 60 to 100°F (16 to 38°C).
  • It is important in emergency situations like exposure to hazardous chemicals.
  • Tepid water should not be confused with lukewarm water.
  • Lukewarm water is a bit warmer than tepid water.
  • Tepid water is also different from room temperature water
  • Room temperature water depends on the specific room condition which may vary.

Uses of Tepid Water

Using water that is too hot or too cold can have serious consequences. It is important to understand the suitable proper water temperature to ensure safety and comfort. That is why tepid water temperature is preferred and, at times, essential to use in various situations.

Industrial Use

In industrial settings, tepid water is crucial for emergency eyewashes and safety showers. This temperature range helps in mitigating the risk of thermal shock or chemical reactions that can occur with extreme temperatures. For instance, if a worker is exposed to harmful chemicals, tepid water ensures effective rinsing without causing harm or discomfort, which might deter the individual from thoroughly washing off the hazardous substance.

Medical Use

Outside of industrial environments, tepid water finds its relevance in medical and first aid practices. For example, it is used for cleaning wounds or in hydrotherapy to treat injuries. Tepid water is recommended because it is gentle on the skin and helps in reducing swelling without causing additional shock or discomfort to the patient.

Home Use

In everyday life, tepid water is often preferred for tasks like bathing infants, as it is gentle on sensitive skin and reduces the risk of burns or cold shock. Similarly, in beauty and hair care, tepid water is ideal for washing hair, as it effectively cleanses without stripping natural oils or causing damage.

Challenges & Solutions in Providing Tepid Water

The specific temperature range of tepid water, balancing between being too hot and too cold, makes it versatile and crucial for use from industrial safety to personal care. However, achieving or maintaining the precise tepid water temperature can be challenging when faced with factors like climate, urgency and accessibility. Let’s take a closer look at the solutions to these challenges across a range of settings.

Setting Challenge Solution
(e.g., manufacturing plants, laboratories)
Maintaining Consistent Temperature: Ensuring the water remains within the tepid range (60°F - 100°F) can be difficult, especially in extreme climates. Temperature Control Systems: Installing thermostatic mixing valves or temperature control systems to mix hot and cold water to the desired temperature.
Emergency Situations:
Rapid accessibility to tepid water in case of chemical exposure or accidents.
Strategically Placed Stations:
Placing emergency eyewash and shower stations at key points where accidents are more likely.
Medical/First Aid
(e.g., hospitals, clinics)
Hygiene and Safety:
Preventing contamination and ensuring water cleanliness while maintaining the tepid range.
Regular Maintenance and Monitoring: Implementing strict maintenance protocols and regular monitoring of water quality and temperature.
Immediate Availability:
Providing tepid water quickly in urgent care situations.
On-Demand Water Heaters:
Using on-demand water heaters or instant heating systems to provide tepid water without delay.
Personal Care
(e.g., homes, salons)
Accurate Temperature Control: Achieving the precise tepid water temperature for tasks like bathing infants or hair care Thermostatic Faucets:
Using faucets with built-in thermostats that allow precise temperature settings.
Energy Efficiency:
Balancing the need for tepid water with energy conservation.
Energy-Efficient Systems:
Installing energy-efficient water heaters and encouraging practices like mixing hot and cold water manually to achieve tepid water temperature.

The Importance of Proper Water Temperature

Water that is hotter than 100°F (38°C) can result in scalding injuries, adding to existing injuries. High-temperature water can cause burns, leading to pain, skin damage, and an increased risk of chemical absorption into the skin. On the other hand, the improper use of cold water that is below 60°F (16°C) causes discomfort. In extreme cases, a cold shower can even lead to hypothermia, which can be life-threatening.

Tepid Water for Industrial Safety

The relevance of tepid water temperature in industrial safety often goes unnoticed but plays a vital role in the well-being of employees in various industries. It ensures that in the critical moments following an accident, first aid measures that use water do not unintentionally cause further harm, allowing for a more effective and safer response to workplace injuries.

It is important to understand the risks associated with improper water temperature especially when exposed to hazardous chemicals. Consider a chemical manufacturing plant where a worker accidentally splashes a corrosive chemical on themselves. Immediate access to a safety shower with tepid water is imperative. The proper water temperature helps to effectively rinse off the chemical without causing thermal shock or exacerbating the injury, which can be a serious concern with extreme water temperatures.

To prevent these dangers, the key is to ensure that the water temperature used in eyewash stations and emergency showers falls within the American National Standards Institute’s (ANSI) specified tepid range of 60 to 100°F (16 to 38°C). The emergency shower should have a minimum flow rate of 76 liters per minute of tepid water. Meaning, a continuous flow is required to allow a person to decontaminate for at least 15 minutes. This duration is essential to thoroughly wash away any hazardous chemicals from the skin and eyes, providing immediate relief and preventing the absorption of chemicals into the body.

Regulations on Tepid Water

Requirements and standards for tepid water in the industrial workplace in the United States are primarily outlined by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). These guidelines are crucial for ensuring worker safety, particularly in environments where hazardous materials are handled.

The most significant standard related to tepid water in the workplace is covered by ANSI/ISEA Z358.1-2014. It specifically mandates that emergency eyewash and shower equipment must provide tepid water. This requirement ensures that the water used in emergencies is not so cold as to cause hypothermia or so hot as to scald the skin or aggravate chemical reactions.

While OSHA does not specify temperature ranges for emergency eyewash and shower facilities, it does reference ANSI standards in its regulations. OSHA's General Duty Clause (Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act) requires employers to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards. This includes providing appropriate emergency facilities, which, by industry best practices and ANSI standards, imply the availability of tepid water.

By setting these standards, ANSI and OSHA aim to reduce workplace injuries and ensure a safer working environment where risks associated with hazardous material exposure are properly mitigated.


Compliance with regulatory requirements is not just a legal obligation but also a moral responsibility towards the safety and well-being of employees.

To ensure the safety and well-being of employees exposed to hazardous materials, facilities equipped with safety showers and eye/face wash stations must comply with the regulatory requirements and standards. Adhering to these regulations is essential for the proper installation, operation, and maintenance of safety shower systems.

Compliance with regulatory requirements involves conducting regular inspections and testing of safety showers to ensure they are in proper working condition and capable of delivering tepid water within the specified temperature range. It also includes maintaining appropriate signage, clear operating instructions, and adequate training for employees.

Additionally, facilities should have a documented emergency response plan that outlines the steps to be taken in the event of a chemical splash incident. This plan should include information on activating safety showers, the location of emergency eyewash stations, and the importance of using tepid water for decontamination.


There are sanctions for violations related to non-compliance with tepid water regulations in industrial settings, particularly under the guidelines set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the United States.

If an employer fails to comply with ANSI/ISEA Z358.1-2014 standards, which include the provision of tepid water in emergency eyewash and shower stations, OSHA can impose penalties. These violations fall under OSHA's purview because they are considered a part of providing a safe and healthful workplace, as mandated by the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

The types of sanctions for such violations can include:

  • Fines and Penalties: OSHA can levy significant fines on employers for non-compliance. The amount of these fines depends on the nature and severity of the violation. Serious violations, where there is a substantial probability of death or serious physical harm, can result in higher penalties.
  • Citations: OSHA may issue citations to employers who fail to meet safety standards. These citations often require employers to correct the violation by a specific deadline and may also include a penalty.
  • Increased Scrutiny and Follow-Up Inspections: An employer who violates OSHA standards may be subjected to increased scrutiny and follow-up inspections to ensure compliance.
  • Legal and Civil Liabilities: Apart from OSHA sanctions, employers may face legal actions, including civil lawsuits from employees who are injured due to non-compliance with safety standards. This can lead to substantial legal costs and damages.

The goal of these sanctions is not just to penalize non-compliance, but more importantly, to ensure that workplace safety standards are upheld to protect employees from avoidable injuries and health hazards. Compliance with tepid water requirements in emergency eyewash and shower stations is a critical component of these safety measures.


What is tepid water temperature?

Tepid water is controlled within a fixed temperature range of 60 to 100°F (16 to 38°C).

What does tepid water mean?

Tepid water refers to water that is neither too hot nor too cold, but rather moderately warm in temperature.

How do I get tepid water?

Tepid water can be achieved by mixing hot and cold water to reach the desired moderate temperature. It's essential to test the water temperature before using it, especially in situations where safety or comfort is paramount.

What is tepid water used for?

It is typically comfortable for use in various situations, such as bathing, cleaning, or certain medical treatments and industrial emergencies, where extreme temperatures could be uncomfortable or potentially harmful.

Why is tepid water important in industries?

In an industrial setting, tepid water is used in emergency showers to decontaminate the skin and eyes without causing further injuries after exposure to hazardous chemicals.

Are there any regulations or guidelines regarding tepid water in specific industries?

Yes, certain industries, such as healthcare and workplace safety, have regulations and guidelines stipulating the use of tepid water for safety showers, eye wash stations, and other emergency systems. These guidelines ensure that the water temperature remains within a safe and comfortable range for users in case of emergencies.

Can I drink tepid water?

Yes, tepid water is safe to drink as long as it’s from a potable source.

The material provided in this article is for general information purposes only. It is not intended to replace professional/legal advice or substitute government regulations, industry standards, or other requirements specific to any business/activity. While we made sure to provide accurate and reliable information, we make no representation that the details or sources are up-to-date, complete or remain available. Readers should consult with an industrial safety expert, qualified professional, or attorney for any specific concerns and questions.


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Author: Herbert Post

Born in the Philadelphia area and raised in Houston by a family who was predominately employed in heavy manufacturing. Herb took a liking to factory processes and later safety compliance where he has spent the last 13 years facilitating best practices and teaching updated regulations. He is married with two children and a St Bernard named Jose. Herb is a self-described compliance geek. When he isn’t studying safety reports and regulatory interpretations he enjoys racquetball and watching his favorite football team, the Dallas Cowboys.