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OSHA, EPA, ATF issue advisory on ammonium nitrate

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Washington – A chemical advisory issued Aug. 30 by OSHA; the Environmental Protection Agency; and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives offers steps fertilizer facilities and others can take to help reduce ammonium nitrate hazards.

The advisory primarily focuses on the safe handling and storage of higher-density, solid ammonium nitrate used in fertilizers. It details the hazards of ammonium nitrate, hazard reduction, and emergency planning and response.

“Ammonium nitrate can be very dangerous, and it’s imperative that employers, workers and first responders all understand the hazards. With this understanding, together they can control these hazards and save lives and limbs,” OSHA administrator David Michaels said in a press release.

Although rare, ammonium nitrate incidents can be severe, the advisory warns. In April, a fire at a fertilizer facility in West, TX, caused stored ammonium nitrate to explode, killing at least 15 people.

The chemical advisory is part of President Barack Obama’s executive order on improving chemical facility safety and security.