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 the 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 accidentally 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

Loading...

Search Road Safety Articles

Latest Pages

Safe Driving and Preventing Jackknife Crashes

Safe Driving and Preventing Jackknife Crashes

What are jackknife crashes and how can we adjust our driving to prevent these crashes? We approached a few industry experts on driver training and crash investigation to gain some important insights! What is a jackknife crash and how does it happen? Jackknife crashes are, unfortunately, among the

Read More

Road Safety Conferences

Road Safety Conferences

The Arrive Alive website supports those individuals and institutions who take the initiative to arrange road safety conferences in South Africa. We believe that this contributes to greater awareness of road safety and could assist in planning effective road safety strategies. 14th Annual Leadership

Read More

Preventing Fuel Card Fraud

Preventing Fuel Card Fraud

Introduction Technology has made it much easier for road users to travel and transact along their journeys. It is no longer necessary to travel with substantial amounts of cash to fill up along the route. Petrol and garage cards enable travellers to have more peace of mind that they would be able

Read More

Alco-Check and Road Safety

Alco-Check and Road Safety

Alco-Check is a social responsibility-driven company that supplies breathalysers throughout South Africa. With branches in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and Pretoria, we aim to educate people and create awareness of alcohol consumption and the effects on blood alcohol content(BAC), we provide a tool

Read More

Fleet Insurance and Truck Insurance for Commercial Vehicles

Fleet Insurance and Truck Insurance for Commercial Vehicles

Introduction The Fleet Management and Logistics Industry is one of the best indicators of the heartbeat of the economy of a country. Fleet management is a term used to describe the management of any/all aspects relating to a company’s vehicle. Fleet vehicles are those vehicles over which a

Read More

Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods

Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods

South Africa is well known for a rich history in mining and the export of mineral resources. With the 10th largest road network in the world and a heavy reliance on road freight transport, it is to be expected that motorists often share the roads with the transporters of dangerous goods. Are we

Read More

Load More Pages

Partners

View All