How to get your Cs from A to B
Chemical manufacturing companies are faced with multiple governing bodies and legislative requirements, as well as the intrinsic risks of handling, storage and transportation. Deidré Penfold, executive director of the Chemical and Allied Industries’ Association (CAIA), provides some hints and tips on how to get your chemicals from points A to B.
There are a number of considerations to be taken into account before any chemical is transported:
• The legal and the South African National Standards (SANS) requirements, as applicable, based on the type of chemical to be transported. These include the National Road Traffic Regulations, SANS 10231, SANS 10187, SANS 1518, SANS 10229 and municipal by-laws.
• Correct load securing, transport emergency cards, dangerous goods vehicle signage, driver training, emergency response plans, route planning and risk assessment as well as storage compatibility for multi-loads.
• CAIA would advise to make use of logistics service providers that have been audited according to the South African Safety Quality Assessment System (SQAS). SA SQAS is designed to evaluate the quality, safety and environmental performance of logistics service providers in a uniform manner, by means of a single standardised assessment carried out by independent third-party auditors.
If a chemical spill is evident after a transport accident, it should only be handled by trained and competent personnel. Untrained persons should never attempt to handle unknown chemicals in an emergency situation. However, to minimise or contain a spill, certain crucial subsequent steps should be followed at the scene of the incident …
Firstly, the type of chemical involved should be identified. Chemical identification information should be available immediately via the United Nations number on the dangerous goods placard placed on the transportation vehicle, the transport emergency card, available from the driver, as well as on the safety data sheet that should accompany the load. This will determine the type of risk it poses to the health and safety of humans as well as the potential impact on the environment. The consignee’s number will also appear on the dangerous goods placard and should be contacted for instructions.
Secondly, the local emergency services should be contacted to safeguard the area and manage the emergency situation on the road accordingly.
Then, if it is safe to proceed and the person is trained and competent, one may continue to use specialised absorbent material to absorb excess chemicals to prevent further possible pollution. Soil and/or vegetation may have to be removed for treatment/disposal depending on the amount and type of chemical.
Lastly, spilled chemicals, used absorbent materials or any other contaminated material may not be left on the side of the road and need to be treated/disposed of according to legislation.
It is essential to note that SANS 969: Clean-up of non- and dangerous goods incidents on roads, is in a draft format and will in due course become a standard that will provide more guidance on what to do and how to handle chemical spill road incidents, becoming an essential document for all managers of fleets transporting chemicals.