Reducing Agent

Definition - What does Reducing Agent mean?

A reducing agent is any substance that undergoes a chemical reaction with exposure to an oxidizer creating a volatile compound. Electrons transfer from a reducing agent (loss) to an oxidizing agent (gain) where the incompatible state generates heat to the point of explosion if the mixture is disturbed. Sodium thiosulfate (reducing agent) and sodium permanganate (oxidizer) are two examples of common chemicals used that carry a high potential for combustibility.

WorkplaceTesting explains Reducing Agent

In many industries, the handling, storage, and disposal of chemicals is an important aspect in conforming to health and safety policy regulations. Employees must be able to identify chemicals classified as flammable with warning labels or placards attached to containers or receptacles. Multiple safety data sheets (MSDS) serve as beneficial reference guides that alert personnel to specific chemical hazards and their reaction with corresponding substances in the facility.

Proper storage is essential in helping to deter an accidental explosion that could potentially result in severe injuries. Although employers may follow an alphabetical system in order to locate chemicals for convenience, it is advisable to isolate reducing agents and oxidizing agents to prevent incidents. Employers can use a chart system that categorizes and separates flammable liquids in measurable containers and tanks, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines.

In the workplace, employees are exposed to a number of chemical substances such as reducing agents and oxidizers in which proximity can ignite a fire or cause an explosion. Personal protective equipment (PPE), emergency contacts, first aid kits, and fire extinguishers are located in designated areas for employees to use when handling dangerous chemicals.

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