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Treat Anhydrous Ammonia With Respect

Treat Anhydrous Ammonia With Respect

Don't skimp on safety when working around anhydrous.

What do you do with an old, discarded valve from a John Deere two-lunger from the old days? Some people turn them into crude hitch pins. You might get by with it if you're pulling a small trailer around the yard. But it's the last thing you want to use as a hitch pin if you're puling something like anhydrous ammonia tanks.

Yet it happens, says Jim Weigart East-Central Indiana Risk Management Company. He advises several farm dealerships in east-central Indiana on farm safety issues, and on safety related to their specific equipment that they use both at the plant and on customer's farms as well.

Holding a broken hitch pin- a real hitch pin- he makes the point that you won't get by pulling anhydrous tanks down the road behind a pickup truck with hitch pins that are too small either. You need a hitch pin made for the job to guarantee that you won't break a pin and have a disaster going down the road.

You also need safety chains. And you need to know the law for pulling anhydrous tanks, he says. You're allowed to pull two anhydrous ammonia tanks behind a pickup truck in Indiana. That's either two singles trailing each other or one wagon carrying dual tanks on the same running gear. You need safety chains for the running gear to attach it to the pulling pickup or truck. You also need to make sure the tank carries five gallons of water in a container on the side. Even if you're using tanks from a dealer, make sure that the water is in place and the system works.

Water is the only remedy for contact with anhydrous, the specialist says. There is no other true antidote. That's why it's crucial to rinse your eyes or skin with water as soon as possible after direct contact with anhydrous. Otherwise, permanent blindness can result.

Wearing goggles over your eyes protects your eyes in case of a direct hit from an accidental exposure. But it doesn't protect the rest of your face, including your mouth. Ingestion of ammonia can result in serious problems. If such an accident should happen, get 911 on the way right away, the specialist says.

Used correctly and shown the respect it deserves, you can handle anhydrous safely Sweigart concludes. But there's no room for shortcuts when dealing with anhydrous ammonia.

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