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Parr shaker type hydrogenators are usually operated in an open laboratory without additional barricades or protective screens, but the operator must realize that additional protection may be necessary if there is any possibility that a reaction may run out of control, or if unexpected bottle breakage would produce a hazardous spill of toxic or flammable materials. Potentially explosive reactions are best handled with the apparatus located behind a suitable barricade or in a pressure test cell.
There must be no gas burners or open flames near a hydrogenation apparatus. The room must be well ventilated and any gas released from the apparatus should be discharged into an explosion proof hood or ventilating duct. Care must also be taken to prevent ignition by a static charge from an insulated object.
The hazards involved in performing pressure reactions in glass bottles is minimized in these reactors by using carefully selected and pressure tested bottles within steel shielding. In spite of these precautions, a bottle will sometimes break below its rated pressure. The user must be constantly aware of this hazard and take whatever additional precautions he considers necessary to protect himself and others from injury in case a bottle should unexpectedly fail.
All catalysts must be handled cautiously because of their highly reactive nature. Although virgin metal catalysts are generally safe themselves, care must be taken when they are brought into contact with organic liquids or combustible vapors in the presence of oxygen because of their ability to promote rapid oxidation. Any catalyst that has been exposed to hydrogen is also potentially hazardous and may ignite spontaneously as it dries. For this reason, used catalysts must always be kept wetted and out of contact with combustible vapors or solids.