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Dangerous Goods News - April 2019

Dangerous Goods News - April 2019
Welcome to Store-Safe's Dangerous Goods April 19 Newsletter.

Here are just a few articles from this month's AIDGC newsletter.  In this issue, read about the Safe Work Australia's draft evaluation reports on workplace exposure standards, new chemical sites under investiation in Victoria, a number of dangerous goods incidents around Australia and overseas.

I hope you find it interesting and if I can assist you with any of your safe storage needs, please me call on 1800 888 714,

Grant Breeze 

Workplace Exposure Standards open for Public Comment
Safe Work Australia is currently evaluating the Workplace exposure standards for airborne contaminants to ensure they are based on the highest quality evidence and supported by a rigorous scientific approach.

Safe Work Australia is seeking public comment on the draft evaluation reports and recommendations for the workplace exposure standards (WES) throughout 2019, beginning with respirable crystalline silica and respirable coal dust. 


Each draft evaluation report includes:
  • a recommended WES value
  • information about the basis of the recommendation, and
  • a summary of the data relied upon to make the recommendation.
Safe Work Australia would like feedback on these values, in particular, comments of a technical nature regarding:
  • the toxicological information and data that the value is based upon, and
  • the measurement and analysis information provided.
The draft evaluation reports and recommendations for the workplace exposure standards (WES) are provided here for your information. 
The feedback received as part of this process will be considered when making final recommendations regarding the workplace exposure standards. Access the consultation platform Engage to provide your feedback before 30 April 2019.

Stay informed about the review and release dates for public comment on other chemicals by subscribing (External Link) to the ‘chemical exposure standards’ mailing list. Please contact wesconsult@swa.gov.au if you have any questions about this review.




Victoria: New Chemical Sites under investigation
Government agencies charged with removing chemical stockpiles in Epping and Campbellfield are investigating three sites in Craigieburn which may also contain dangerous goods. WorkSafe, the CFA and Environment Protection Authority are assessing contents of three warehouses after new information was received by WorkSafe. The sites appear to house bulk containers similar to those being stored at the eight sites found in late December.

Chemical testing will be required to establish the presence of dangerous goods, but 24-hour security has been put in place at each site as a precautionary measure. Air monitoring will also be established at the sites. In January, WorkSafe announced it would use special powers under the Dangerous Goods Act to lead a government agency taskforce to remove chemicals from the sites in Epping and Campbellfield. The taskforce, which includes EPA, fire services, Victoria Police and local councils, began removing the first containers from sites in Epping in early February. Investigations into the circumstances that led the chemicals to be stored at the sites in Epping and Campbellfield are continuing. Source: WorkSafe Victoria


Killed in the Line of Work Duties
Dangerous Loopholes in Health and Safety Laws need to be fixed. Dillon Wu died alone inside a metal tank. It is believed he was asphyxiated by argon gas, used in arc-welding steel. He is the youngest employee to die in a recent run of deaths in confined spaces. Aged just 20, he was in the second week of his apprenticeship. He should not have been alone or unsupervised, particularly in a confined space.

All such deaths raise questions about workplace safety. But Wu’s death, at a factory in Melbourne’s western suburbs on October 4 last year, also raises particular questions about responsibility in workplaces where traditional definitions of employment and employer obligations have been unwound. Wu’s apprenticeship was with Australian Industry Group (Ai Group or AiG) but he died at the Melbourne factory of “host employer” Marshall Lethlean Industries.

Both federal and state workplace health and safety laws say responsibility for a worker’s death lies with an employer. Four months on from Wu’s death no one has accepted that responsibility. Prior safety concerns The Australian Industry Group (AiG) is an employer organisation representing more than 60,000 businesses employing more than a million workers. It runs a major training and apprenticeship scheme (called the AiGTS) for its member organisations. It recruits, trains and pays apprentices, who learn their trades working at “host” companies. The Conversation 
full article

Fire destroys Dandenong South Factory
A fire that destroyed a Dandenong South warehouse was burning for at least 30 minutes before the alarm was raised with emergency services. The blaze at an industrial complex destroyed stock, walls and the roof when it ripped through the office supply warehouse before midnight. Incident controller Adrian Devenish, from Dandenong CFA, said the heavy fuel load and the lateness of the triple-zero call made it a hard fight from the start. “There was lots of paper, lots of cleaning supplies so it was burning pretty well,” he said. Source: Herald Sun


Chemical Spill at NSW Nuclear Facility
Three staff at the Lucas Heights nuclear facility have been decontaminated after being exposed to a chemical spill. A spokesman for Australia's Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation said the workers were exposed to sodium hydroxide when a cap came off a pipe in the nuclear medicine manufacturing building. He said that building is not associated with the nuclear reactor. The workers have been taken to Sutherland Hospital for assessment. Source: SMH

Mining Companies urged to manage Exposure to Diesel Fumes
Exposure to high levels of diesel fumes could well be the next major occupational health threat since asbestos, according to hydraulic engineer Norm Mathers. Testing at a Western Australian mine showed levels of up to a million nano diesel particulates per cubic centimetre. This is about 100 times more than people would inhale walking down a busy city street, experts said. Companies have introduced chemical exhaust cleaning and improved engine efficiencies, however they had made no concentrated effort to meet the EU commission initial 30 percent carbon dioxide reduction targets, according to Mathers. Source Mining

Chlorine Bottle explodes, kills S.A. Woman
A woman has died after a pressurised bottle of chlorine exploded at a home on the Yorke Peninsula. The 49-year-old woman was covered in chlorine at a house on Alexander St in Wallaroo. She is understood to have opened a bottle of chlorine in the home when it exploded in her face, covering her in the highly corrosive substance. Police and paramedics rushed to the scene and the woman was taken to Wallaroo Hospital where she later died. Police have said that the cause of death was not suspicious. Source: Adelaide Now

NICNAS March 2019

Independent Review finds model WHS Laws operating as intended
The review of the model WHS laws is complete and the report is available on the Safe Work Australia website. The review report makes 34 recommendations designed to enhance the WHS framework. Key recommendations relate to the model WHS Regulations and Codes of Practice, including making regulations on psychological health, higher penalties and other measures to strengthen the compliance and enforcement framework and enhance deterrence, and clarifying requirements for meaningful WHS consultation, representation and participation to improve safety outcomes. “The model WHS laws are largely operating as intended but I am recommending some changes to provide clarity and to drive greater consistency in the application and enforcement of the laws across jurisdictions,” said independent reviewer Ms Marie Boland. “The three-tier legal framework is widely supported, and there is a view that it is sufficiently flexible to accommodate the evolving nature of work and changing work relationships,” said Ms Boland. The review report is with WHS ministers for consideration and their response to the recommendations is expected later in the year. Media Centre

An Overview of the Boland Review of Model WHS Laws – Final Report – S.I.A.


Safety Alert WorkSafe Victoria Safety Alert
Safety when working in Confined Spaces In October 2018, an apprentice died while working in an open-ended tanker. WorkSafe is still investigating the causes of this incident, including whether the apprentice was in fact and at law working in a confined space but in the meantime we remind you of the dangers of working in confined spaces. Safety Alert

Diesel spill at NSW South Coast Slipway
NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) has fined a Broadwater-based boat repair company $15,000 for allowing a significant amount of diesel to enter the water in a sensitive oyster farming area of the NSW far south coast. The fine followed an RMS investigation into the incident in October last year when diesel spilled into Pambula Lake while a boat was being slipped.

The Environmental Protection Agency and Bega Valley Shire Council were contacted and responded with NSW Fire and Rescue to work on containing and cleaning up the pollution. NSW Police and Roads and Maritime also responded. Initial responders indicated there was about 10 hectares of diesel sheen visible on top of the lake when they arrived on scene. The boat was the responsibility of the slipway repairer, which is why it was the company which was fined rather than the boat owner. The investigation led by the Maritime Investigation Unit within RMS resulted in the boat repair business receiving a $15,000 penalty infringement notice for the offence of Pollute Waters under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act. Source: Marine Business 
article


And from around the world:

140 litre LPG leak could have been deadly
New Zealand WorkSafe says an uncontrolled LPG release at a gas production station in Taranaki could have had potentially deadly consequences for the six workers on site. Three companies were sentenced in the New Plymouth District Court after a November 2016 incident that saw approximately 140 litres of LPG unexpectedly discharged from a trailer mounted calibrating unit. One worker was taken to hospital after receiving cold burns to the leg and another person suffered a knock to the head after the leak engulfed all the personnel and vehicles present at the vehicle loading bay site. Following the uncontrolled release a WorkSafe investigation found the companies; First Gas Limited, Gas Services NZ Limited and Beach Energy Resources NZ (Kupe) Limited had breached health and safety legislation. The investigation identified several failings including failure to adequately secure a valve on the calibrating unit and that none of the three companies involved had adequately managed the health and safety of their or other workers on site that day. Head of High Hazards, Energy and Public Safety Tony Hetherington said there was a high potential for death or serious harm if ignition occurred. “Health and safety systems when working with oil and gas products cannot be considered lightly. These companies needed to have suitable and sufficient systems in place to prevent this sort of incident, especially with the potential for a major incident when the flammable substance was released.” The incident also emphasises that responsibilities lie with all those involved in the work activity.
  • First Gas Limited was fined $188,250
  • Beach Energy Resources NZ (Kupe) Limited was fined $215,625
  • Gas Services NZ Limited was fined $215,625
  • Reparations of $13,500 were awarded to one victim, and $3,500 to another.

Explosion at US Tractor-Trailer Repair Workshop
A worker suffered severe burns in an explosion while he was repairing a semitrailer in DeKalb County, Georgia. Initially, officials said the fire started after the semitrailer crashed into the building. Investigators later determined “the injuries were suffered when the patient was working on a trailer, cutting and welding on one of these tractor-trailers you see right there,” Bentley said. The victim suffered burns over 50 percent of his body, he said. He is in the Grady Memorial Hospital burn unit in critical condition. Two other people who were trying to help the worker were taken to the hospital, one for smoke inhalation and another with a knee injury. Source and video report 

Hairdryer causes aerosol explosion, blows bathroom door 'off of its hinges'
A fire investigator was called in to determine exactly what caused the blast and found a hair dryer, which had been plugged in, created enough heat for a nearby aerosol can of dry shampoo “to explode with substantial force.” The cabinets, bathtub tiles and bathroom door were damaged in the blast. Calgary police said there were no injuries, but 'a lot of embarrassment.' Source and report

HSE: “Uncontrolled use of Solvent”
Aircraft repainting and refinishing firm Air Livery has been fined £66,000 over the incident and ordered to pay costs of £5,496. Employees were cleaning the floor of the hangar used for paint spraying aircraft. Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court was told Air Livery had instructed them to pour the flammable solvent on to the floor to clean off the paint residue. The solvent caught alight and an attempt to put the fire out with water caused the flames to spread.
The airport remained open, but the hangar and nearby businesses were evacuated while firefighters tackled the blaze for several hours, Echo News reported. Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors found the company had not risk-assessed the floor cleaning process and the highly flammable solvent was used in an uncontrolled manner. It also found employees had little knowledge about the flammability of the solvent and firefighting measures.


S. Korea Rocket Propellant blast kills blast kills blast kills 3
Inspectors from the regional labour office and the Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency are examining Hanhwa’s Daejeon ammunition facility in central South Korea after an explosion there killed three workers. The blast took place in a rocket propellant manufacturing facility and inspectors will check safety measures there, according to the Korea Times. The labour office ordered the factory to stop operations immediately after the incident. Even after the inspection, resuming operations will only be possible after the factory owner introduces improved safety plans, and inspectors from the regional labour office give approval after confirming their effectiveness. This is not the first time Hanwha's Daejeon factory has had a labour office special inspection - in May, five workers died and four were injured in another explosion, and the office at the time found 486 cases of safety violations and ordered improvements.

US Video details Inspection Process under Ammonium Nitrate Emphasis Program
OSHA has published a new video highlighting the inspection process under the agency’s Regional Emphasis Program for fertilizer-grade ammonium nitrate and agricultural anhydrous ammonia. The 10-minute video discusses the three phases of an OSHA compliance officer’s visit – opening conference, walk around and closing conference – and what occurs during each.

South Africa heads towards GHS
South Africa has taken a major step towards implementing ‘as soon as reasonably practicable’ the UN Globally Harmonized System (GHS) for classification and labelling of chemicals. It hopes to have a regulation in place by mid-2020. A technical committee is currently scrutinising feedback from a recent consultation on draft hazardous chemicals regulations that will align the country’s chemical regime with the sixth revision of the GHS. From this it will produce an updated draft. ChemicalWatch

Dozens to be punished over China Explosion
Around 60 people are to be punished for their roles in a chemical plant explosion that killed 19 workers and injured 12 in southwest China's Sichuan Province last July, according to a report from the Xinhua news agency. The blast at the Yibin Hengda Technology Co. in Jiang'an County in the city of Yibin on July 12 caused a direct economic loss of 41.4 million yuan (6.1 million US dollars). Fifteen people, including the legal representative of the chemical firm, have been transferred to judicial authorities, the provincial emergency management bureau said. Four people, including the director of the work safety and environmental protection bureau of the industrial park, are being investigated by local inspection and supervisory authorities. Another 44 people, including a deputy director of the administrative committee of the industrial park, have been told they will be given disciplinary punishments for the accident. An investigation showed that workers put the wrong chemicals into the production facility, thus triggering the explosion. The main cause, however, was illegal construction and production that did not have government approval, the bureau said. Meanwhile, relevant government departments failed to conduct adequate supervision. Source: Xinhua

Egypt: Chlorine leak hits School
Security forces and the Alexandria Education Directorate evacuated the al-Syouf school complex after chlorine gas leaked from a nearby drinking water station, resulting in the suffocation of 15 students and two teachers. Head of Alexandria Security directorate Mohamed al-Sharif received a notification from Raml police station that chlorine gas leakage from a drinking water station in the al-Syouf area resulted in the suffocation of students and teachers at a nearby school complex. Security officials and ambulances headed to the scene. The whole school complex was evacuated for fear of more suffocations. The Alexandria Water Company issued a statement attributing the incident to a sudden crack in one of the lines carrying chlorine gas. The crack was mended within one minute when an automatic leak treatment unit was operated. Source: Egypt Independent

UK Company fined for exposing Workers to Harmful Chemicals
A chemical manufacturing company has today been fined after failing to manage the risk of exposure to chemicals harmful to health, resulting in workers being exposed to chemicals which caused long term damage to their skin. Teesside Magistrates’ Court heard how employees working with chemicals at Fine Organics Ltd (now trading as Lianhetec), Seals Sands, Teesside, were regularly exposed to the chemicals, which can cause sensitisation of the skin, from October 2013 to December 2016. Workers suffered rashes and in some cases were unable to continue working at the site. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Fine Organics Ltd had multiple failings in their handling of hazardous substances. They failed to conduct a suitable and sufficient risk assessment, failed to prevent the release of hazardous substances, failed to prevent spread of contamination, failed to properly decontaminate and they failed to have in place an effective system of health surveillance. Source and article

Fire Reveals Chemical Dangers in Garment Supply Chain - Deadly blaze in Bangladesh renews Scrutiny of Safety Factors in a Global Industry
The fire that tore through a neighbourhood in Dhaka, Bangladesh, last month, killing around 70 people, began in an apartment block where chemicals for cosmetics were stored and nearly ignited the building’s basement warehouse of clothing dye. The tragedy revealed an overlooked danger in the international garment trade’s supply chain: the improper storage of volatile chemicals before they are transported to factories. Source: Wall Street Journal: Jon Emont and Refayet Ullah Mirdha Fine Organics Ltd, of Seals Sands, Teesside, pleaded guilty to breaching 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and has been fined £224,000 and ordered to pay costs of £17,098.

I hope you find it interesting and if I can assist you with any of your safe storage needs, please me call on 1800 888 714,

Grant Breeze