New Video Details OSHA’s Fertilizer Inspection Process

Source: Kostic Dusan - 123RF

OSHA has launched a new video highlighting the inspection process under the agency’s Regional Emphasis Program for fertilizer-grade ammonium nitrate and agricultural anhydrous ammonia.

The 10-minute video discusses the three phases of an OSHA compliance officer’s visit – opening conference, walk-around and closing conference – and what occurs during each.

The video states, “A safe workplace benefits everyone. OSHA uses a balance of enforcement and compliance assistance to achieve this shared goal. That’s why OSHA is working to give employers the knowledge and tools they need to comply with their obligations and provide safety information to employees.”

According to Crop Nutrition, Large-scale production of ammonium nitrate began in the 1940s when it was used for munitions during wartime. After the end of World War II, ammonium nitrate became available as a commercial fertilizer.

The production of ammonium nitrate is relatively simple: Ammonia gas is reacted with nitric acid to form a concentrated solution and considerable heat.

Easy handling and high nutrient content make ammonium nitrate a popular N fertilizer. It’s also very soluble in the soil, and the nitrate portion can move beyond the root zone under wet conditions.

Nitrate can also be converted to nitrous oxide gas in very wet conditions through the process of denitrification. The ammonium portion isn’t subject to considerable loss until it’s oxidized to nitrate.

Concerns over illegal use of this fertilizer for explosives have caused strict government regulation in many parts of the world.

Restrictions on sales and transportation have caused some fertilizer dealers to discontinue handling this material.