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Crucial Tips for Safe Liquid Nitrogen Handling You Need to Know

Cryogenic liquids have plenty of practical uses. These liquids are also found in other industries like medicine, information technology, and restaurants, apart from laboratory staples. 

One of the most common cryogenic liquids you can find is Liquid nitrogen. Its popularity soared higher after a revolutionary cooking technique introduced by famous British chef Heston Blumenthal used liquified nitrogen to poach aperitifs and create bacon ice cream. 

But using this chemical requires proper knowledge and skills to reduce the risk of accidents. Here are the best ways to handle liquified nitrogen correctly. 

Proper Handling

You must handle nitrogen in a liquid state properly to avoid spills and accidents that may harm a person. Some of the best tips for safe handling of these chemicals include: 

  • Use liquified nitrogen in well-ventilated areas – Ensure that the room has proper ventilation to avoid causing asphyxiation. 
  • Handle liquified nitrogen carefully – You must carry the liquid slowly to reduce splashing and boiling. In addition, you need to use tongs to extract any objects immersed in the liquid. Splashing and boiling always happen when filling or charging a warm container filled with cryogenic liquid or placing items inside the liquid. 
  • Avoid touching the liquid unprotected – Cryogenic liquids tend to stick to the skin immediately. In addition, it can tear the flesh if you try to get rid of it. So always use tongs, specifically those with insulated handles, to extract the objects immersed in the liquid. 
  • Avoid using wide-mouthed glass – Dewars or Dewars without the safety tape should not be used.
  • Only use approved containers – It must be impact-resistant and must withstand extremely low temperatures.
  • Avoid tampering or modifying safety devices – such as cylinder valves or tank regulators.

Wear Protective Clothing

The unsafe handling of liquid nitrogen can have adverse effects on a person. For example, skin exposure to the liquid may cause frostbite and eye damage due to the extremely low temperature. In addition, it may also cause asphyxiation when the gas released in a confined space displaces the oxygen. 

To avoid these risks, you must protect yourself by wearing protective clothing. Safety goggles and face shields can protect the eyes from accidental splashing of the liquid. You also need to wear cryo gloves when touching anything that comes in contact with the liquid. The gloves must fit loosely so you can take them off right away when the liquid splashes into them. You must also wear high-top shoes when handling the juice placed in open containers. 

Know the First Aid Protocols

Accidents happen no matter how careful you are when dealing with cryogenic liquids. When a person suddenly becomes dizzy or passes out while handling liquified nitrogen, you need to move the person to a well-ventilated spot as soon as possible. If the breathing seems to stop, you need to apply artificial respiration and call for rescue right away. If the person seems to have trouble breathing, you need to give oxygen immediately. 

Meanwhile, skin exposure to the liquid is also dangerous. You need to restore the affected part to normal body temperature (37°C/98.6°F) as fast as possible to protect it from further damage. You must also take off or loosen clothing that could restrict blood circulation. You also need to call a physician right away for additional treatments. 

When handling cryogenic liquids like nitrogen in a liquid form, your safety must always be your top priority. Therefore, it would be best to first learn more about these liquids and train with the experts before you consider handling them. 

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