Personal Protective Equipment

Workers can avoid skin contact with ammonia by wearing protective gloves and chemical-resistant clothing when handling ammonia. The U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends that workers wear gloves made of butyl, Teflon, or Viton for up to 8 hours of exposure, and nitrile gloves for up to 4 hours of exposure. Workers should also wear safety glasses when handling cylinders. During change-out of tanks or when exposure to gas is a risk, workers should wear vapor-proof goggles and a face shield. Respiratory protection should be approved by NIOSH specifically for ammonia and used in accordance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Respiratory Protection Standard (9,10). Under routine exposures where the ambient concentration of ammonia exceeds 25 ppm, the workers should use an air-purifying, full-face respirator equipped with chemical cartridges appropriate for ammonia. For exposures of unknown concentrations of ammonia, such as uncontrolled releases, only a pressure-demand, self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) is appropriate. Respirator use must be limited to individuals who have been adequately trained, have undergone a qualifying medical examination, and have been fitted for the respirator face piece. Refer to the Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals Standard. Ammonia presents a potential for a catastrophic event at or above the threshold quantity of 10,000 ppm according to the List of Highly Hazardous Chemicals, Toxics and Reactives (Mandatory) (in 29 CFR 1926.64 Appendix A) (11,12).

Anhydrous ammonia is used in vast quantities in worldwide agriculture. As a consequence, exposures to it can be used as a prototype for exposures to other fertilizers and nutrients.

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