Office of Environmental Management

Portable Monitors Provide Extra Protection for Hanford Tank Farm Workers

December 4, 2018

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RICHLAND, Wash. – Workers in Hanford’s tank farms have begun using new personal monitors to provide further protection from potential exposure to chemical vapors.

   Over the past year, EM’s Office of River Protection (ORP) and tank farms contractor Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS) tested several personal chemical monitors for ammonia. The study determined that ammonia is the best chemical to use as an indicator of a change in chemical conditions in the field for tank farm workers.

   The ToxiRAE Pro was selected based on the testing and needs in the field, a decision made with input from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and independent third-party reviewers.

   “ORP and WRPS continue to partner with workers to mitigate the possibility of exposure to chemical vapors,” said Jim Lynch, ORP program manager for tank farms operations. “This hand-held monitor adds another level of protection for workers in the field.”

The ToxiRAE Pro portable monitor helps protect Hanford tank farm workers against potential exposure to chemical vapors.
The ToxiRAE Pro portable monitor helps protect Hanford tank farm workers against potential exposure to chemical vapors.

 

   Used in conjunction with administrative, access, and engineering controls, the compact and reliable device helps protect workers with a personal alarm typically set at 6 parts per million (ppm), about one-quarter of the occupational exposure limit for ammonia. The alarm sounds if ammonia concentrations reach 6 ppm, at which time the workers follow prescribed response actions. About two dozen workers currently use the device, and ORP and WRPS plan to equip many more workers with it in the future.

   The 6-ppm set point was determined based on data collected over several years and various conditions to ensure a conservative and protective response. The devices will initially be used for low-hazard, non-waste-intrusive work in actively ventilated tank farms.

 

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