Ammonia Awareness

 

1. Purpose

a) The purpose of this program is to raise employee awareness of ammonia; including the signs of exposure, hazards of exposure (including Permissible Exposure Limit) and recognition of ammonia process systems so employees can take utilize proper safe work practices to reduce exposure likelihood.  

b) ESCO Group educates employees to ensure they are not exposed to ammonia above OSHA exposure limits at any time.

2. Ammonia Hazards

a) Ammonia is a colorless gas with a characteristic pungent smell, it may be in a liquid or gas form. Ammonia has a density of 0.589 times that of atmospheric air, atmospheric air being 1.0.  This implies that ammonia will rise in an area and not settle. 

b) Ammonia is detectable by your nose at as little as 3PPM. At 300 PPM ammonia is IDLH (Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health), some household cleaners can emit between 5-50 PPM. Therefore ammonia has a strong odor and it provides excellent warning properties. If an individual smells ammonia they must evacuate the area immediately. Any person exposed to ammonia vapors or smell must be immediately moved to fresh air immediately. 

c) There are many uses for ammonia, but for ESCO Group employees we may see it used in refrigeration systems, fertilizer and many household cleaners and products. Under the wrong conditions ammonia can be toxic, deadly and explosive. Only trained, qualified and authorized persons may perform work on ammonia systems. Prior to beginning work in an area where ammonia is present employees shall be aware of ammonia hazards and know the site specific emergency plans that are in place and understand signs of exposure.

d) Symptoms of exposure to ammonia are as follows:

i. Irritation of eyes, nose and throat

ii. Difficulty breathing (Dyspnea)

iii. Wheezing

iv. Chest pain/discomfort

v. Skin burns

vi. Pulmonary edema

vii. Frostbite

e) If one is working on ammonia systems the person must wear the appropriate PPE (goggles, faceshield, respirator, and impervious gloves and have escape emergency air packs available.

3. Training

a) Employees working in a facility that has Ammonia as a PSM chemical will be provided the regulatory training that includes the following requirements:

i. Communication of the hazards

ii. Health effects and routes of exposure

iii. Engineering controls

iv. Ammonia monitoring 

v. Emergency procedures

b) Training will be documented and kept on file for a minimum of 5 years.