With any types of chemicals, the hierarchy of risk control is considered and control measures are put into place.
With many sites in our industry using Ammonia, controls such as alarms and ventilation are used to mitigate the risks. PPE is the last resort such as breathing apparatus.
A member recently contacted us with a scenario for those wearing contact lenses in a role of higher risk such as maintenance workers/contractors,
In the event of exposure contact lenses would need to be removed very quickly to maximise treatment and minimising the potential affects. This delay in removing contact lenses (eye muscles tense) in the event of a leak could significantly impair first aid treatment (irrigation).
What does the Material Data sheet (MSDS) state for Ammonia?
- Hazard H314: Causes severe skin burns and eye damage,
- Precautions: Rinse the eye with water immediately. Remove contact lenses, if present and easy to do Continue rinsing. Flush thoroughly with water for at least 15 minutes. Get immediate medical assistance. If medical assistance is not immediately available, flush an additional 15 minutes.
- PPE: Wear eye protection to EN 166 when using gases.
Your current emergency procedures may not contain guidance for treatment for Ammonia exposure especially for Maintenance workers and contractors potentially at higher risk of exposure.
- First aid employees may not be aware of this scenario
- Risk assessments for maintenance workers and those supplied by contractors may not identify this risk or EN166 goggles
- Would your first aid personal be trained and aware of this contact lens scenario?