UW Medical Foundation
Subject: Liquid Nitrogen Safe Handling
Effective Date: 7/19/12 Approved: Steve Sibley, VP Clinic Operations
Supersedes Policy Date: Revision #
Primary container means the original container shipped by a distributor or
Secondary container means a container that is used to transport product from
the primary container to the patient care area.
The purpose of this guideline is to provide UW Medical Foundation staff with
recommendations on handling liquid nitrogen safely in the clinic setting.
A. Staff will review the material safety data sheet and be aware of potential
hazards, safety recommendations including first aid specific to handling liquid
B. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
1. Face shield for eye protection must be worn when pouring or filling
liquid nitrogen: Safety glasses are NOT sufficient eye protection.
2. Heavy leather gloves must be worn to protect hands at all times.
3. Footwear that gives protection in the event of spill is recommended.
Canvas and open toed shoes should be avoided.
4. PPE must be worn when transferring liquid nitrogen into a secondary
container for transport to patient care area.
IV. SAFETY REQUIREMENTS:
A. Liquid Nitrogen Containers
1. The primary and secondary containers holding liquid nitrogen must be
labeled in accordance with UWMF’s Labeling of Chemicals Policy,
designed to hold cryogenic liquids and prevent accidental spills or
2. Prior to use, the container must be inspected to ensure it is NOT
cracked and is kept in a secure area away from patient traffic.
3. The container of liquid nitrogen must not be dropped, tipped or rolled.
4. Keep liquid nitrogen containers clean and dry at all times.
5. Do NOT use strong alkaline or acid cleaners that could damage the
finish and corrode the metal shell of the container.
B. Transport of Liquid Nitrogen
1. Movement of primary containers should be reduced to a minimum.
Only move the container if it is secured upright to a cart or dolly.
2. Secondary containers must be used to transport liquid nitrogen to
patient care areas. In the patient care area, providers/ staff can apply
liquid from a controlled dispenser (i.e. dispensing gun) or pour a small
amount in Styrofoam cup for applicator use.
C. Handling of Liquid Nitrogen
1. If using an applicator to apply liquid, use the wooden dipsticks with
2. While holding the wooden end, dip the cotton swab into the liquid
nitrogen and apply to treatment area.
3. Liquid nitrogen must only be handled in well-ventilated areas
D. Disposal of Liquid Nitrogen
1. After use, left over liquid nitrogen must be disposed of by venting
outside or in a well-ventilated area.
2. DO NOT pour left over liquid down the drain or back into the primary