Health and Safety
ANSAC is committed to ensuring the safety of people and the environment and consistently aims to maintain the highest standards of safety and quality in all that we do worldwide. We strive to ensure full compliance with local, national, international and industry requirements, regulations and certifications.
Soda ash is not classified as being flammable, explosive, or toxic and it is categorized as a GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) substance for use in foods, by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Although relatively harmless, there are a number of precautions that should be taken by personnel working with soda ash:
- Eye googles and respiratory masks
Although classified as non-toxic the dust can be moderately irritating to the mucous membranes of the eyes, throat and nose.
- Skin protection (Long sleeved shirts, pants and gloves)
Soda ash is mildly alkaline and will dissolve in human perspiration. This could lead to mild skin irritation in individuals with sensitive skin, particularly in hot and humid conditions.
- Safety belts and lifelines
Soda ash piles can cake to give the appearance of a hard crust. This can yield and engulf a worker. Personnel entering bins or silos containing soda ash must wear safety belts properly roped to rescue facilities and be physically observed by someone not on the soda ash pile.
Soda ash is friable, so it tends to break into small dusty particles when under pressure or by abrasion. Dust is commercially undesirable since particle dimension is critically important, particularly in glass manufacture. To limit dust formation, soda ash needs to be moved using handling equipment that minimize grinding during transportation. Ideal handling equipment include:
- conveyor belts
- front-end loaders
- belt elevators
- drag chains
Less desirable are pneumatic systems or screw conveyors.
Materials of Handling
Soda ash is not corrosive to steels, but it will readily attack iron and rust. Painted surfaces other than epoxy resins are undesirable. Refractory surfaces such as concrete and brick should be smooth and sound and designed so that handling equipment is unlikely to break off small pieces that can contaminate the soda ash.
Soda ash is mildly hygroscopic. It will absorb atmospheric moisture to form an undesirable crust up to five centimeters thick. To prevent this soda ash should be stored in weather tight warehouses. Such warehouses should not be ventilated or subject to gross changes in the atmosphere.
Silos with a bottom cone of greater than 40 degrees are acceptable, as are flat warehouses.