Arrive Alive

Safe storage of chemicals vital to avoid disastrous fires

In the wake of the disaster at the northern Chinese port of Tianjin, Deidré Penfold, executive director of Chemical and Allied Industries Association (CAIA), reiterates that proper chemical storage is required to minimise the hazards associated with leaks, spills and accidental mixing of incompatible chemicals.

“According to news reports, the explosions in China took place at a warehouse, which contained hazardous and flammable chemicals, including calcium carbide, sodium cyanide, potassium nitrate, ammonium nitrate and sodium nitrate. Calcium carbide reacts with water to create highly explosive acetylene, which may have triggered off the blasts,” she explains.

“Indications are that the firefighters were on site before the explosions. The volatility of the chemicals means the fire was especially unpredictable and dangerous to approach.

“CAIA has produced a Dangerous Goods Segregation Wheel that indicates the load and/or storage compatibility of mixed cargoes at a glance, using the class warning diamonds in an easy to use wheel. It assists in the segregation and storage of chemicals according to their hazard class. This prevents an undesirable chemical reaction from occurring should two or more chemicals accidently mix. It also includes useful footnotes.”

Safe packing, transportation essential

Explosives, Class 1 dangerous goods, sodium cyanide Class 6.1, sodium nitrate and potassium nitrate both of Class 5.1 all have compatibility restrictions. Explosives cannot be stored or transported with any other chemicals and Class 5.1 and 6.1 chemicals should not be stored in close proximity to each other nor transported on the same vehicle.

When packages that contain dangerous goods are packed into a freight container, the consignor shall provide a container-packing certificate, specifying the container identifying number and that the packing has been carried out in accordance with certain conditions. Amongst these key requirements are that  clean, dry and fit containers do not contain goods that are incompatible; that packages have been externally inspected for damage or leakage and that only sound packages have been loaded; and that the freight container and all the packages therein have been properly labelled and placard.

“This unfortunate incident demonstrates that the management, storage and transport of hazardous chemicals, without considering their compatibility, could have disastrous consequences,” concludes Penfold.

The Dangerous Goods Segregation Wheel’s information is based on SANS 10231: Transport of Dangerous Goods and is available from CAIA at R50, excluding VAT, for non-members and R30, excluding VAT, for members.

CAIA launched the Responsible Care® programme in South Africa in 1994. This is the global chemical industry’s unique initiative to improve health, safety and environmental performance and to communicate with stakeholders about products and processes.

In addition to this programme, CAIA provides linkages to sustainability in the chemical industries’ value chain through advocacy, training, support of educational drives in maths and science and the advancement of these concepts into sub-Saharan Africa.

CAIA is a member of the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA), the worldwide voice of the chemical industry, representing chemical manufacturers and producers all over the world and is recognised by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). These international alliances allow the Association to source best practice in training, information, advocacy and legislative compliance. For more information, go to www.caia.co.za or call +27 (0) 11 482-1671.

The Dangerous Goods Segregation Wheel

Also view:

Safety from Fire at our Homes

Prevention and Treatment from Burns

Sharing the Roads with Trucks

 

Search Road Safety Articles

Latest Pages

Professionalism and ethics in reporting from the scene of a road crash

Professionalism and ethics in reporting from the scene of a road crash

Introduction On the Arrive Alive website we provide information on road safety in an effort to educate and encourage safer road behaviour. This includes not only sections of content developed with the intention to provide safety advice – but also sharing the reality of road carnage and the trauma

Read More

4x4 Off-Road Driving Techniques & Safety

4x4 Off-Road Driving Techniques & Safety

As truck ownership has increased, so has the amount of off-highway recreation. There is no special license required to drive off-road, even though there are many different techniques and practices involved. There does exist an often unspoken etiquette that is practised by old-school four-wheelers, which

Read More

Healthy Eating, Driver Fitness and Safer Driving

Healthy Eating, Driver Fitness and Safer Driving

Driver error is one of the major contributors to vehicle crashes. It is not only the reckless disregard for the rules of the road through speeding and impaired driving that we need to be concerned about, but also other factors such as driver fatigue/ tiredness, distracted driving and our failure to remain

Read More

Road Transport Management System (RTMS): Making Trucking Safer

Road Transport Management System (RTMS): Making Trucking Safer

Introduction Everyone who frequently travels along the South African road network will understand the importance of road freight. The men and women transporting freight and all types of cargo are the people keeping our economy moving. Most would have seen the yellow RTMS logo at the front of

Read More

Road Transport Management System [RTMS] and Road Safety

Road Transport Management System [RTMS] and Road Safety

Introduction South Africans have experienced a significant increase in the transportation of goods on our road network. The rail industry is facing several challenges, thereby increasing the demand on logistics companies for the transportation of road freight. All stakeholders in the road logistics

Read More

Truck Driver Fatigue and Alertness on the Road

Truck Driver Fatigue and Alertness on the Road

Introduction to Driver Alertness and the Safety of Truck Drivers South Africa has the 10th largest road network in the world and truck drivers are transporting large quantities of cargo along long distances on these roads. How do they manage to do this while remaining alert behind the steering

Read More

Load More Pages