The article below focuses on the dangers of working with ammonia and gives some helpful tips to remember to stay as safe as possible.

Ammonia can be found in two different forms: ammonium hydroxide or pressurized gas. Most are familiar with the soluble one, ammonium hydroxide, as that is the liquid one. Exposure to ammonia is even more alarming when it is frequent because most people will become desensitized. The chemical is corrosive to the skin, eyes, and lungs, which can cause harm from eye and respiratory irritation to swelling and accumulation of fluid in the lungs.

Here are the tips listed in the article to be aware of:
  • Train employees to work safely with ammonia by following these general precautions and the safe work practices that apply in this facility:
  • Wear personal protective equipment. To work with liquid ammonia, you may need eye, face, and skin protection. To work with liquid or gaseous ammonia, you may require respiratory protection.Ammonia 2
  • Take hot work permitting precautions whenever hot work will be performed in areas where ammonia is present. If piping, vessels, or containers that have held ammonia will be welded, soldered, drilled, or cut, purge all ammonia first.
  • Use proper ventilation. Never work with ammonia in an unventilated area. Always ensure that you have adequate ventilation, and make sure that ventilation is nonsparking or explosion-proof.
  • Store ammonia separately from incompatible chemicals, away from heat and ignition sources.
  • Know what to do in case of a spill or leak. When you work with ammonia, know where the emergency escape respirators are located. If ammonia leaks or is spilled, put on a respirator, and leave the area immediately. Report the spill or leak so it can be appropriately controlled.
  • Know how to respond to splashes. Liquid ammonia can burn your eyes. Know where the emergency eyewash is stored in your work area and how to use it.
Why It Matters

On November 1, 2011, a hazardous materials release occurred at the San Onofre nuclear power plant, just south of San Clemente, California, prompting the immediate evacuation of the plant’s personnel—but it wasn’t a radiation release. The chemical that posed an immediate hazard to the health and safety of workers at the plant was ammonia. You can avoid this kind of incident in your workplace by training your workers on how to work safely around ammonia.

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