It’s easy to become complacent about this gas which is so much a part of our business but the reality is that it’s a dangerous chemical and needs careful handling.
Liquid Nitrogen is so cold it can literally kill your skin when it gets on you – it has a boiling point of minus 196ºC. Unprotected skin coming in contact with uninsulated containers of Liquid Nitrogen will stick fast causing flesh to be torn on removal.
It’s a volatile chemical, expanding around 700 times its volume when moving from liquid to gas. Misused, ie if Liquid Nitrogen is poured into a sealed container, it will explode over time. Within LIC we minimise the potential for that to happen by ensuring that the vessels which carry Liquid Nitrogen (ie banks) cannot be sealed ie they naturally vent preventing the risk of explosion. However, it’s this venting that raises the need for awareness about its impact on oxygen – and breathing!
As Liquid Nitrogen expands it displaces the oxygen in the immediate environment. While not common, death due to oxygen depletion can occur.