Industrial Safety Part 2

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Acid cleaning hazards

Personnel using acid cleaning techniques should be aware of the hazards associated with the use of acids, particularly during hard wiping operations. Operation should be protected with face shields and rubber gloves, aprons, and boots. Nonslip floor coverings are recommended in areas used for hand wipe or acid spray cleaning. The work areas should be adequately ventilated to remove acid fumes and mists. Operators handling chemicals should wash their hands and faces before eating and before leaving the work areas at the end of a shift. If chemicals come into contact with the hands or body, immediate and thorough washing with cold water is required, if significant exposure has occurred, emergency treatment may be necessary. Eye fountains and showers are usually located adjacent to acid-cleaning work areas for the immediate use in case of accidents.

Even dilute acids are dangerous and cause serious injuries if they contact the human eye. Immediate and thorough washing of the eyes at an eye fountain is vital in minimizing such injury. Mist from spray systems can contain all of the ingredients of the acid cleaners, and gassing can be a health hazard. Electrolytic acid cleaning systems can contribute to mist formation and are especially dangerous. Rubber shoes and gloves are recommended for operators working with electrolytic cleaning systems.

Salt Bath Descaling

Salt bath scaling systems should be operated only by trained personnel fully aware of the hazards involved. Fused salts at 370 to 540 degree centigrade are dangerous and produce severe burns and attack if splashed onto the human body. Eyes must be fully protected from the caustic. Test objects must be totally free of water when immersed in a salt bath, since the molten caustic will react voilently and spatter when contacted by water. The highly reactive metal sodium is used in the sodium hydride cleaning process. Extreme caution is required to prevent water from coming into contact with sodium. Sodium fires are very intense and the operator should use water, acid soda pyrene or carbon dioxide fire extinguishers on sodium fires. Instead sand or earth or special proprietary products only should be used to extinguish sodium fires.

 

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