Protect Yourself around Anhydrous Ammonia (News Release)

It's easier to prevent accidental spills of anhydrous ammonia than it is to treat them. Accidental exposure to the liquid fertilizer can result in serious burns, blindness and even death.

Use these tips to reduce your risks:

  • Always keep water handy--in your shirt pocket, on the tractor or truck, and with the nurse tank. Water, or some other non-toxic, non-caustic fluid, can be used to flush areas exposed to anhydrous ammonia.
  • Always wear protective gear, such as rubber gloves, ventless goggles or a full-face shield, and a long-sleeved shirt whenever you work with anhydrous ammonia.
  • Use safety chains and approved hitchpins when transporting ammonia tanks or other application equipment.
  • Avoid wearing contact lenses when working with anhydrous ammonia. Contact lenses intensify burns.
  • Never put your head or body parts in direct line of valve openings.
  • Remember that anhydrous is under extreme pressure, which increases on warm days. A broken hose can literally strike anywhere. Treat ammonia hoses and valves as "loaded guns" and stay clear of the safety relief valve.
  • Check valves for corrosion and hoses for cracks or signs of wear.
  • Relieve pressure before you disconnect or reconnect hoses or parts. Close and lock valves and disconnect hoses when the nurse tank is unattended.

For more information about how to be safe around anhydrous ammonia, read instructions that come from your chemical supplier or dealer. A new SAFE FARM publication, Play it Safe with Anhydrous Ammonia, Pm-1518d, also is available at local Extension offices. Single copies of the publication are free.

This news release was distributed by Iowa State University Extension as part of the Safe Farm Program. Safe Farm promotes health and safety in agriculture. It is funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Iowa State University, and a network of groups that serve Iowa farm workers and their families. Distribution date: April 1993.

Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder. More