Chemical Properties, Uses, and Primary Hazards Associated With Common Oxidizers Including Concentrated Nitric Acid

Oxidizers exist in the form of gases, liquids and solids, and they are known to react readily with most organic material and reducing agents despite having no energy input. Oxidizers are not combustible as such, but they are known to increase the flammable range for chemicals so they can be able to ignite much more and oxidizers can also be able to intensify combustion (Smith, 2007). Oxidizers can be hazardous, and they need to be handled with care because they can be a severe fire hazard (Connelly, 1996). The most common of the oxidizers in nitric acid and it is generally used for the functions mentioned above. It is a much easier oxidizer to manufacture, and it is abundant, but the effects are still the same as that of other oxidizers.

Occupational Exposure Limits (OELs) Associated with at Least 3 Common Oxidizers

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Professional exposure limit values are determined to avoid and prevent occupational diseases or other adverse effects in employees who are exposed to a hazardous chemical in their area of work. The primary assumption about OELs is that the persons who are exposed to dangerous chemicals are healthy adult workers (Connelly, 1996). However, in some cases, OELs are also meant to protect vulnerable groups such as pregnant women. When the harmful effects occur in a short period, it results in an acute type of exposure. Some of these oxidizers do not have a specific threshold for their exposure limit, and they do not have a safe level. These oxidizers such as nitric acid, peroxide and bromine can irritate the airways and the eyes (Smith, 2007). Upon inhalation of these oxidants, one should be moved to fresh air immediately. Eye contact is a frequent exposure, and once it happens, eyewash has to be used to rinse the eyes thoroughly for at least 15 minutes.

PSM requirements that would be useful for preventing or minimizing the consequences of a significant oxidizer related incident

Some individual requirements and procedures need to be followed by employees and employers when handling these oxidizers and even working around these hazardous materials. The employers are required to develop and maintain a piece of written safety information that identifies the workplace hazards that are associated with chemicals, equipment and technology processes. The employer also needs to consult with employees and their representatives on the development and conduct of hazard assessments and the development of chemical accident prevention procedures and plans and other records required under the standards (Smith, 2007). Another essential requirement that is needed is to train and educate employees and contractors in emergency procedures in a way that is comprehensive and effective as that which is required by the regulation promulgated to section 126 of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (Connelly, 1996).

Using the OSHA Standard and your own experience, justify and validate the importance of the PSM standard to your facility

These standards are highly essential, and during storage of these oxidizers, it is crucial to separate the oxidizers from reducing agents, combustible materials and organic chemicals. One of the ways is by ensuring that the employees wear protective garments at all times around the facility. It is also important to note that all the employees should be aware of the emergency procedures in the facility (Smith, 2007). Also labelling and filling of waste containers should be done extremely carefully to avoid accidents which have occurred in the past by employees and the supervisors. 

References

N. G. Connelly, W. E. Geiger (1996). “Chemical Redox Agents for Organometallic Chemistry”. Chemical Reviews. 96 (2): 877–910Smith, Michael B.; March, Jerry (2007), Advanced Organic Chemistry: Reactions, Mechanisms, and Structure (6th ed.), New York: Wiley-Interscience.

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