The Importance of Wearing Proper PPE When Handling Cryogenic Materials
Last month, there was an incident in Mackay where a worker received serious cryogenic burns after immersing his hands in a container of liquid nitrogen.
Whilst there is a wide range of cryogenic materials, the most common is liquid nitrogen. Liquid nitrogen has a boiling point of -195.8°C and can expand to a very large volume of gas. That vapour can rapidly freeze skin tissue, resulting in cold burns, frostbite and permanent damage to the effect areas, even with just a brief exposure.
Common Misconception on the use of Proper PPE
There is a common misconception about the need for proper PPE. WHS Qld inspectors found that the worker was not wearing the correct PPE for the task. “Workers need to be wearing loose-fitting thermal insulated gloves, aprons (like the Elliotts CryoSkin Gloves and Aprons), long sleeve shirts, and trousers without cuffs while handling cryogenic materials”. Workers also need to remember, never submerge or dip their hands into the Liquid Nitrogen – even whilst wearing PPE.
For more information about the incident, click here.
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