The main risks during work within the Food and Beverage Industry involve exposure to harmful levels of Carbon Dioxide, Nitrogen and Ammonia. All of these gases are used for the production and storage of food and beverages, but can prove fatal for workers in high doses.
CO2 is a toxic gas that is used extensively in the food and beverage industry, but poses a huge risk. As little as 0.5% volume of CO2 can be hazardous to a person, while just 7% can lead to death within 5 minutes. At room temperature and atmospheric pressure, CO2 is completely odourless and colourless, which means that anyone exposed to the gas is unlikely to realise there is any danger.
Nitrogen is commonly used in beer production to create stable bubbles, particularly in stouts, pale ales and porters. Similarly to CO2, Nitrogen is colourless and odourless which can make it difficult to identify when a leak has occurred. While nitrogen itself is not a toxic gas, high levels in the atmosphere will displace the oxygen content which can be hazardous to workers. The atmosphere usually consists of 21% oxygen, and even a small drop in O2 content can cause a number of health issues including dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, loss of consciousness and ultimately death.
Many industrial food and beverage facilities will use Ammonia to refrigerate their goods, but leaks can cause fatalities when a worker is exposed to large doses due to its toxic and flammable properties. As with CO2, Ammonia is a colourless gas that is difficult to detect from sight alone. It does have a very distinct odour though, which can help an employee identify a leak should they smell it.
Providing workers with personal gas detectors allows each person to monitor their own exposure, which is a more reliable method of ensuring safety. These detectors should be worn within the breathing zone, i.e on the breast pocket or the collar, for maximum safety. Providing a worker with a full-face respirator can prevent them from inhaling any harmful vapours when handling the chemical. Alternatively, a full SCBA will provide the user with a safe supply of breathable air in case of high exposure during a leak.
Have a look at our selection of safety products including gas monitors, respirators and SCBA. For further information from a member of our dedicated team, simply click on the button below or pop through to our live chat button at the bottom of the page.