SAFE HANDLING OF DRY ICE
Dry Ice blasting safety is essential for all dry ice blasting companies.
Caution: Keep Dry Ice away from other people if they cannot be closely supervised. You may be liable for any injuries. Keep the blast cleaning area well ventilated at all times.
Normal air is 78% Nitrogen, 21% Oxygen, and only 0.035% Carbon Dioxide. If the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rises above 0.5%, CO2can become dangerous.
Too much carbon dioxide
Small concentrations can cause quicker breathing, headaches, and sleepiness in some but are otherwise not harmful. When dry ice has been in a closed auto, van, room, or walk-in for more than 15 minutes, open the doors to allow adequate ventilation before entering. Leave the area containing Dry Ice CO2 if you start to pant and breath quickly or develop a headache, or your fingernails or lips start to turn blue. These are symptoms that you have breathed in too much CO2 and not enough oxygen.
Carbon dioxide is heavier than air.
Carbon dioxide is heavier than air and will accumulate in low spaces. Do not enter closed storage areas that have or have had stored Dry ice before airing out completely. Dry ice blast cleaning contractors must always keep in mind the risk of elevated carbon dioxide in the blast cleaning area – both for their safety and the safety of others.
Always provide adequate ventilation.
Always provide additional ventilation for indoor projects and monitor yourself and others for shortness of breath and dizziness. A carbon dioxide monitor may be helpful.
Carbon Dioxide Monitor
Dry Ice temperature is frigid at -109F or -78°C. Always handle Dry Ice with care and wear protective gloves whenever touching it. If touched briefly, it is harmless, but prolonged contact with the skin will freeze cells and cause injury similar to a burn. For blasting work, wear protective face shielding and clothing. Also, when in confined spaces, use breathing apparatus supplying oxygen.
Store Dry Ice in an insulated container. The thicker the insulation, the slower it will sublimate. Do not store Dry Ice in a completely airtight container. The sublimation of Dry Ice to Carbon Dioxide gas will cause any airtight container to expand or possibly explode. Keep proper ventilation wherever Dry Ice is stored. The sublimated CO2 gas will sink to low areas and replace oxygenated air causing suffocation.
Commercial Storage Containers are available.
PICK-UP TIME AND TRANSPORTING
Plan to pick up the Dry Ice as close to the time it is needed or have it delivered to your location on the day of blast cleaning. It sublimates at a rate of around 10% every 24 hours, depending upon the quality of insulation. If transported inside a car or van for more than 15 minutes, make sure there is incoming fresh air. If transported on a flatbed truck, make sure to protect it from rain, or you will look like a special effects vehicle with smoke-like fog pouring out behind it. I know of a truck pulled over for this problem.
Treat Dry Ice burns the same as heat burns. See a doctor if the skin blisters or comes off. Otherwise, if only red, it will heal at the same time as any burn. Apply antibiotic ointment to prevent infection and bandage only if the burned skin area needs to be protected.
TILED FLOORS OR COUNTERTOPS
Do not leave Dry Ice on a tiled or concrete surfaced countertop or tiled floors as the extreme cold could crack it.
Here are two Material Safety Data Sheet available online:
Unwrap and leave it at room temperature in a well-ventilated area. It will sublimate from a solid into a gas.
DO NOT leave Dry Ice unattended where children or others could take it. You may be liable for injuries.