Artificial insemination has become common place in the livestock industry making nitrogen refrigerated semen tanks a common site on farms and ranches across the country. And as these items become commonplace, sometimes we forget to handle them with the care they require. Liquid nitrogen (LN2) is a relatively safe substance except for being extremely cold at minus 320 degrees Fahrenheit. Because of this, special procedures should always be observed when handling LN2.
- Nitrogen gas is colorless, odorless and tasteless. It can cause asphyxiation in a confined area that does not have adequate ventilation. So always use and store the nitrogen container in a well-ventilated area.
- Accidental contact with liquid nitrogen or nitrogen vapors can cause a freezing injury similar to a burn. Therefore, handle the liquid so that it will not splash or spill. Protect eyes with safety goggles or a face shield. Wear protective gloves that can be quickly and easily removed, and wear long sleeves for cover arms for protection. Trousers should be worn outside boots to shed spilled liquid. In the event of a burn from nitrogen, treat immediately for frostbite.
- When disposing of nitrogen, always dump it into an outdoor pit filled with gravel where it will evaporate rapidly and safely.