Ammonia Safety

What is ammonia?

Ammonia is a widely-used refrigerant in commercial, industrial and refinery sites around the world. Facilities that process food, have cold storage, process drinks and contain petrochemicals are more likely to present ammonia hazards. 
Exposure to 300 parts per million (PPM) is immediately dangerous to life and health. Ammonia is also flammable at concentrations of approximately 15% to 28% by volume in air. When mixed with lubricating oils, its’ flammable range is increased. It can explode if released in an enclosed space with a source of ignition present, or if a vessel containing anhydrous ammonia is exposed to fire. Fortunately, ammonia has a low odor threshold (20 PPM), so most people will seek relief at much lower concentrations due to the odor.

What hazards are associated with ammonia?

 

1.    Confined spaces where ammonia exposure is 300 parts per million (PPM) or more is dangerous to life and health.

2.    Ammonia becomes flammable at concentrations of approximately 15% to 28% by volume in air.

3.    When mixed with lubricating oils or other similar products, it’s flammable range is increased making it highly flammable.

4.    If released in an enclosed space with a source of ignition present, it can explode.

5.    If a container of ammonia is exposed to fire, it can explode.

What controls may be used to protect yourself from ammonia injuries and illnesses?

1.    Confirm if ammonia is present on sites where you work.

2.    Do not handle ammonia unless you have been trained to do so.

3.    Immediately leave the area is you smell ammonia or any other unrecognizable gas.

4.    If you inhale ammonia, seek fresh air immediately and medical attention if necessary.

5.    If you have skin or eye contact with ammonia, flush the affected area with running water for a minimum of 15 minutes and seek medical attention if necessary.

6.    If you see an ammonia or any other gas cloud, immediately exit the building or area and report to your supervisor immediately.

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