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What workers need to know about liquid nitrogen

On Behalf of | Mar 30, 2020 | Workers' Compensation

Georgia residents should know that liquid nitrogen is used in chemistry and physics labs as well as in the area of health care, especially dermatology, where stem cell research is advancing. With the increasing use of this cryogenic fluid, though, has come an unfortunate rise, in recent years, in workplace accidents and injuries. These accidents occur not only during the use of liquid nitrogen but also during their storage and transportation.

Liquid nitrogen will freeze and kill skin tissue instantly upon contact with it, and its ability to rapidly expand and displace oxygen can lead to suffocation in an enclosed space. The gas is odorless and colorless, too, which compounds the risk.

It’s essential, then, for workers to know the safe handling practices for liquid nitrogen. These practices include wearing a cryogen apron and safety goggles. Full-face shields will be necessary when pouring liquid nitrogen or openly transferring it. If workers transfer it too quickly, the liquid will splash and boil. The gloves they wear should fit loosely and lightweight so that they can easily be removed, but they should be insulated, too. In addition, employees should be familiar with the properties of liquid nitrogen and know what materials are compatible with it. They should carefully read up on the information included in the safety data sheet.

Injuries from contact with liquid nitrogen may form the basis for a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. These can be paid out regardless of whether there was negligence involved, but victims may still want a lawyer to assist them with the filing process. If payment is denied, the lawyer may help file a formal appeal.