Anhydrous ammonia is an important source of nitrogen fertilizer for crops. The improper handling of anhydrous ammonia can have catastrophic results on both plants and farm workers. Common injuries are severe burns to eyes, skin and the respiratory tract.
- Personal protective equipment (PPE) should always be worn. Standard PPE should be non-vented goggles, rubber gloves with thermal lining, face shield or an approved respirator. Wear a lightweight rubber suit, or (at the very least) a long sleeve shirt and coveralls.
- Make sure anhydrous ammonia tanks are not filled beyond the recommended capacity.
- Use care when handling the hose end valve so that it does not open accidentally. Do not move hose by handling valve handle.
- Be sure to bleed hose coupling before disconnecting. Use care when cleaning plugged knives as anhydrous ammonia could be built-up behind the plug.
- Use emergency water supply for at least 15 minutes if exposed to anhydrous ammonia and then seek emergency medical attention.
- Are hoses in good condition?
- Are fittings clean and free from rust?
- Do low-pressure tubes have any leaks?
- Are knives plugged?
- Is the tank secure with a locking hitch pin?
- Is the pressure relief valve operating correctly?
- Does the tank have five gallons of fresh water?
- Is PPE available and being worn?
Information supplied by the National Safety Council’s Agricultural Division, the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS) – www.nsc.org/necas