The risks that Hydrogen presents fall into 2 key areas:
As a fuel, hydrogen is highly flammable and so hydrogen leaks generate a serious risk of fire. However, hydrogen fires are markedly different to fires involving other fuels. When heavier fuels and hydrocarbons, like petrol or diesel, leak they pool close to the ground. In contrast, hydrogen is one of the lightest elements on earth, so when a leak occurs hydrogen rapidly disperses upwards. This makes ignition less likely, but a further difference is that hydrogen ignites and burns more easily than petrol or diesel. In fact, even a spark of static electricity from a person’s finger or clothing is enough to set off an explosion when hydrogen is available. Hydrogen flame is also invisible, so it is hard to pin-point where is the actual ‘fire’ is, but it generates a low radiant heat due to the absence of carbon and tends to burn out quickly.
2. Extreme Cold
Hydrogen is usually stored and transported in liquified hydrogen tanks. The last concern is that because it is compressed, liquid hydrogen is extremely cold. If hydrogen should escape from its tank and come in contact with skin it can cause severe frostbite, or even the loss of extremities, primarily fingers.
As specialist PPE suppliers to the Gas sector, Hazchem has put together our recommended products for anyone dealing with Hydrogen. This must be taken in context, and it is worth noting that all products in our Haztec Range are Flame resistant and Antistatic, so will reduce the risk of ignition, and provide protection in the case of a fire.
Please note it is essential that you conduct your own risk assessment and ascertain the correct PPE you require. We are more than happy to discuss any questions you have, just call us on 01280 841400 and ask to speak to Brian or Marlon.
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