Hazard Watch: How much of a concern is ammonia in your workplace?
As a colourless alkaline compound composed of nitrogen and hydrogen (NH3), ammonia can have a severe impact on employees in the workplace. Our next Hazard Watch article explores ammonia and how you can protect your workforce from its harmful effects.
20 September 2022 | 2 min read
The most common use for ammonia is as a fertiliser, but it is also used in the creation of textiles, plastics, a refrigerant gas, as well as in the purification of water.
Ammonia has a very distinct odour and it can be smelt at levels between 0.6 – 53ppm. What is more concerning is that it can cause nose and throat irritation from levels as low as 24ppm, if an individual is exposed for a period of 2-6 hours.
Protecting your workforce from ammonia exposure
The current workplace exposure limit, as set by the HSE, for ammonia is 50ppm over an 8-hour period. Workplace exposure monitoring programmes should be in place to regularly assess the levels of ammonia, to ensure that this legal limit is not exceeded.
Sample media, such as Umex 500-300 and active monitoring tubes, SKC 226-10-06, are specifically designed to capture ammonia, which can then be analysed to determine the levels of exposure.
Workplaces should be well ventilated and suitable personal protective equipment (PPE), including respirators, should be available to all employees. Safety protocols should be in place to ensure lone workers are protected as well. Appropriate safety training must be given to all employees to be able to assist colleagues who may be exposed and could fall ill, whilst at work.
How can we help?
RPS provides UKAS accredited analysis, as well as the provision of suitable media to specifically monitor the levels of ammonia in the workplace, in line with NIOSH 2016 methods. This can provide assurances to employees knowing that they are being protected whilst in the workplace.