Safety In Fertilizer Industry

Safety In Fertilizer Industry


Fertilizers are natural or artificial.

Production of artificial fertilizers takes place in chemical plants and they may be organic or inorganic, nitrogenous, phosphate, potash and trace element fertilizers.

Depends on these there are varieties of fertilizers as below.

  1. Nitrogen (N) based like NH3 direct use as Fertilizer, Urea , Ammonium Nitrate, etc.                
  2. Phosphorus based(P) like DAP, Calcium Phosphate, Nitro Phosphate, etc.
  3. Potassium based(K) like Different grade of NPK, etc.                             –

What precautions to be observed while handling, storing and transportation of Ammonium Nitrate to ensure Safety in Fertilizer Industry. 

Safety precautions while Storing and Transporting Ammonium Nitrate:

  • Do Not store Ammonium Nitrate more than mentioned in legal requirement.
  • Storage buildings shall have adequate ventilation.
  • All flooring in storage and handling areas shall be of noncombustible material.
  • Buildings and structures shall be dry and free from water seepage.
  • Do not store bags of ammonium nitrate within 30 inches of the storage building walls and partitions.
  • Store Ammonium nitrate from flammable or combustible materials (e.g. paper, rags, hay, oils).
  • Prohibit smoking around the storage of ammonium nitrate.
  • Fire control devices such as a water hose or portable fire extinguishers must be available in the storage area.

Safety precautions while Handling Ammonium Nitrate:

  • Always wear chemical goggles and gloves.
  • Inspect equipment before each day’s work.
  • Water is the first aid treatment of choice when ammonia gets into the eyes or on the skin.
  • Use good equipment specially designed for handling anhydrous ammonia.
  • Keep it dry and away from direct contact of whether when not used.
  • Do not use in excess, use as per instructions.
  • Don’t mix with other fertilizers or chemical substances without prescription.

Various hazards related to fertilizer industry and their control measures.

Various hazards of fertilizers industry are as under.

  • Leakage and spillage of chemicals  in storage area
  • Internal & external corrosion of structures and vessels
  • Large effects on population due to release of toxic chemicals or gases in surrounding area
  • Structure/vessel collapse due to over storage of materials
  • Fire Hazards
  • Breaking of pipelines and conveyors
  • Explosion hazards
  • Exothermic and pressure reaction
  • Overflow of chemicals and spillage on flow.

Control measures for safety in fertilizer industry:

  • Approval of tanks and storage equipment with valid license from department of explosive & Factory Inspectorate.
  • Electrical grounding of tanks to avoid static electricity
  • Temperature/Level/pressure indicators to be provided
  • Safety & security arrangement should be provided.
  • Provision of leak detectors, smoke detectors & fire detectors are to be provided.
  • Automatic fire water system and sprinkler system to be provided.
  • Incorporate SCADA system.
  • Fire extinguishers and proper PPEs should be provided.
  • Cathodic protection for piping to take care of corrosion.

Precautions to be observed while storing Ammonia & Naphtha to ensure Safety in Fertilizers industry:

  • Storage should be cool, dry, well ventilated and protected from external heat sources.
  • The building protected with automatic sprinklers, vapor tight electrical equipment, good natural ventilation, good floor drainage and adequate venting.
  • The location should be away from any flammable liquid storage.
  • In case of multiple storage facilities, Prepare a plan for readily and definitely approaching all shutoff valves in use for isolating various parts of the storage facilities.
  • Protect each storage area at least by ME standard fire hydrant.
  • Gauge of glass should be provided with excess flow check valves.
  • Storage tank construction should be of integrity and double wall type
  • Equip each storage tank with two relief valves mounted on a 3-way hand valve to provide means for repair of faulty valve.
  • Install remote controlled valves at the bottom of ammonia storage tank.
  • Create facilities for creating water curtains around the ammonia storage tanks to absorb ammonia vapors if they leak out, however, take extra care for not to add water to the liquid ammonia else it will worsen the situation.
  • Store non refrigerated ammonia in gas tight containers.
  • In the event of power failure, there is provision available to run the holding compressors of all the ammonia storage by emergency diesel generating sets so as to compress excess Vapour into liquid ammonia (for refrigerated bulk storage).
  • Naphtha is not compatible with oxidizing chemical so store it away from oxidizing chemicals.
  • For opening containers use tool which does not generate sparks.

All above points need to ensure generally to ensure safety in fertilizer industry, As safety in fertilizer industry is very much of importance to prevent any mishap.