Dangerous Goods News - August 2019

Dangerous Goods News - August 2019

Welcome to Store-Safe's Dangerous Goods August 2019 newsletter. We've compiled the most relevant dangerous goods news articles from Australia and overseas from the AIDGC newsletter. In the August issue, read about updates from WorkSafe in relation to workplace exsposure standards, more illegal waste found in Victoria and the use of a drone to identify the thirteenth stockpile of toxic waste.  I hope you find it interesting and if you need any assistance with any of your safe storage needs, please call us on 1800 888 714

Vandals cause $150k damage to Sydney Golf Club

An unknown chemical substance has been splashed across 10 greens at the Long Reef Golf Club in the night time attack. 
Source: Daily Telegraph

Thirteenth toxic chemical dump discovered by drone

The Age article reports that authorities have discovered another massive stockpile of toxic waste hidden in the city’s northern suburbs, the thirteenth site linked to a network allegedly responsible for running the biggest illicit chemical dumping operation in the state’s history.The Age understands dangerous goods regulator WorkSafe took control of the latest stockpile in Campbellfield after an analysis of drone footage suggested there was up to 1.6 million litres of chemicals hidden under bales of synthetic fabric and other refuse.
Source: The Age 

Illegal Waste buried under Victorian Property 

Illegal waste has been found buried just four metres below the ground in regional Victoria, on property owned by a man linked to chemical waste sites in Melbourne's north. The stockpile, believed to include chemical waste, is understood to be below Graham Leslie White's property, about 15km outside Kaniva. It is not known if Mr White buried the waste on the site. "EPA has confirmed the presence of a significant amount of waste)" Environmental Protection Authority chief executive Cathy Wilkinson said in a statement. "This is a 1400 acre property and to locate the illegally buried material across such a vast area was like looking for a needle in a hay stack."

In July 2018, the EPA supported police visiting the property and has inspected and investigated the site. About 20 dump sites have been found at the site after the watchdog used a ground penetrating radar attached to a drone to survey the land. "The size of the dump sites varies and getting an accurate assessment of the final quantity and exact nature of the contents of the underground containers is going to take more work," Dr Wilkinson said. 

Workplace Exposure Standards

Safe Work Australia is evaluating the Workplace Exposure Standards for airborne contaminants to ensure they are based on the highest quality, contemporary evidence and supported by a rigorous scientific approach. Draft evaluation reports and recommendations for each chemical will be made available for public comment throughout 2019-2020. The anticipated schedule for public comment is now available on Safe Work Australia’s website.

The next scheduled release is 30 August 2019 and will contain draft evaluation reports and recommendations for acetaldehyde to benzoyl chloride. Stay informed about the review and future release dates by subscribing to the ‘chemical exposure standards’ mailing list.
Source: SafeWork

Qld - Mine Safety reset + Additional Inspectors 

The Queensland Government has appointed three additional mines inspectors and another chief inspector as the resources industry grapples with recent mine-related tragedies. Mines and quarries in the state will implement a safety reset by the end of August for discussions between management, operational staff and relevant union representatives on risks and safe practise.

The move follows the announcement of two independent reviews investigating why mine workers have died over the past 20 years and how industry can improve, while also looking into the effectiveness of the state’s mining health and safety legislation. 

Source: Australian Mining

Consultation opens on National Hydrogen Strategy

In attempting to find new renewable energy sources, additions to wind and solar are increasingly coming to market.The federal government is now pushing for the development of hydrogen energy generation in Australia, particularly as nations such as Japan and Korea look to new power sources.

The federal Australian government hopes this demand for hydrogen energy opens opportunities for local industry and is now seeking input from local industry on the development of Australia’s hydrogen industry.

Led by the COAG Energy Council, the consultation papers cover areas including hydrogen for industrial users, developing a hydrogen export industry and hydrogen at scale, among other topics.

The federal government hopes that the hydrogen power industry can develop beyond supplying power for buses and automobiles and to provide base-load power with zero-emissions.
Hydrogen has the potential to compliment renewable electricity generation in areas such as chemical manufacturing and high-temperature industrial heating applications.
The consultation process will feed into a national strategy for the development of an Australian hydrogen industry, which will be published by the COAG Energy Council by the end of 2019.
Source: Manufacturers’ Monthly

Victoria: Setting the Record straight on the Professional Engineers Registration Bill 

The Victorian Parliament is currently considering legislation which would introduce compulsory registration for engineers. The Professional Engineers Registration Bill 2019 passed Victoria’s lower house in May and the state’s engineering profession now waits for Legislative Council members to return from their winter break in August to decide the outcome of the Bill.

If the Bill is passed, the introduction of a compulsory engineers’ register will help to ensure the future safety of Victorians while also highlighting the vital role engineers play by applying sorely needed checks and balances. But as the Bill has been considered by Parliament, some facts continue to be overlooked or misinterpreted.

Source: Engineers Australia 

CSIRO charged over Laboratory Explosion

CSIRO has been charged with breaching federal work health and safety laws over an explosion at a Melbourne research facility. The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions has filed four charges in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria, alleging the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation failed in its duties under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. 

The charges follow an investigation by regulator Comcare and relate to an incident at CSIRO’s Clayton site on 6 June 2017. A researcher was conducting an experiment that involved sawdust being heated at pressure using hydrogen gas in an autoclave. Gas leaked from the autoclave and ignited, causing injuries to the scientist including cuts, bruises and facial burns. 
There was extensive damage to the building, with debris being thrown up to 20 metres away. The charges relate to alleged failures regarding the provision of a safe work environment, safe systems of work, safe use of plant and the provision of information and training.
Source: Comcare

Proposed New Field of ISO Technical Activity on Laboratory Design

A new field of technical activity has been proposed to cover laboratory design. Specifically, the committee would manage site selection and design planning, the functional division of experimental areas, the determination of scientific and technological processes, layouts and design of furniture, and the scientific design of the facility taking into account environmental conditions and impact.Standards Australia is currently consulting with members of mirror committee BD-046, Laboratory Design and Construction, and CH-026, Safety in Laboratories, to shape an Australian view on this proposal.

However, we are interested to hear from other interested stakeholders. Please contact with any comments or questions regarding this proposal.
Source: Standards Australia International Update June 2019

Input sought over New Chemical Classification

From July, you can have your say on the proposal to adopt an updated edition of the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) for workplace hazardous chemicals.Since 1 January 2017, the 3rd revised edition of the GHS (GHS 3) has been implemented under the model work health and safety laws. As Australia’s transition to the GHS is complete, it is time to ensure our classification and labelling requirements for workplace chemicals are aligned with key trading partners, who are moving to the 7th revised edition of the GHS (GHS 7).

Stakeholder feedback will help ensure any changes to Australia’s classification and hazard communication requirements for workplace hazardous chemicals are implemented in a way which minimises impacts to the industry.

Source: SafeWork QLD

Flammable Fire in Brisbane Paint Factory

Fire crews tackled a huge blaze in Brisbane’s inner-north, which saw dozens of nearby residents evacuated. Specialist scientific officers were on scene to manage dangerous smoke and water run-off. The blaze started at the factory, on Tate Street, just before midnight and when 30 firefighters and 10 trucks arrived, there were huge flames billowing from the commercial business. Despite best efforts, the fire spread to the neighbouring two-storey house believed to be used by the business. It could not be saved. "When we arrived there was paint tins exploding, landing out in the street," a fire service spokesman told ABC radio.

Source: ABC News

Compliance Operations NSW Resources Regulator 

The following reports outline the findings of state-wide compliance operations conducted annually that focus on the NSW mining and petroleum sectors compliance obligations on issues ranging from work, health and safety to mine site rehabilitation. 
Statewide compliance operation report: 2019 
2019 Snapshot
Statewide compliance operation report: 2018

Qld Student burnt in Science Experiment

In March 2019, a student sustained serious burns and a staff member minor burns during a school science experiment when methylated spirits was applied to substances that were hot. A second student’s uniform caught fire, but it was extinguished without causing injury. It appears the experiment was a soda snake experiment, in which carbon dioxide produced by hot baking soda pushes carbonate out from burning sugar. Investigations are continuing.

Preventing a similar incident
Science activities sometimes involve the use of hazardous chemicals and play an important role in teaching science. However, such activities can pose safety risks which must be managed. Fires and explosions from hazardous chemicals can have catastrophic consequences. 

Any workplace using, handling, generating or storing hazardous chemicals for any reason must have a safe system of work, including a documented safety management system. If flammable liquids, vapours, and gases, and combustible dusts are involved, you must conduct a hazardous area classification and determine the exclusion zones for potential ignition sources. Where possible, substitute a highly flammable liquid with one that is less flammable or combustible and design, install and maintain suitable ventilation and fire protection systems.

Source: WorkCover QUEENSLAND

Sydney Airport – Lithium Battery Fire

Passengers were evacuated from Sydney Airport after a fire broke out at Terminal 1.A spokesman for Air Services Australia told that the fire broke out near the passenger screening area sparking an evacuation of nearby passengers.

It is believed the fire may have been caused by a large Lithium Polymer battery that had come from a robotics conference taking place in Sydney.

A passenger was passing through security with a “robot” that he had taken to the conference. He was asked by staff to remove the battery and had to cut a wire to do so, but he reportedly cut the wrong one which caused a small explosion fire.


S.A. Man burnt cutting Drum 

SafeWork SA is investigating an incident in which a worker sustained serious burns whilst using oxy-acetylene cutting equipment to cut a steel drum in Mannum. It previously contained flammable liquid. Following the incident, SafeWork SA reminds anyone working with oxy-acetylene cutting equipment or used storage containers to stop and think before performing any hot work on them – has the container been used to store flammable liquid or gas, was it a chemical, is there a hazard diamond on the drum? 

SafeWork SA says hot cutting equipment should not be used if the contents of the drum or container are unknown. If this is unavoidable, SafeWork SA recommends the following measures:
  • The reuse of flammable storage containers should be avoided 
  • Containers must be properly disposed of 
  • Do not perform hot work on or near flammable storage containers unless all existing sources of ignition have been eliminated or controlled, the contents have been neutralised and the container has been properly cleaned and certified vapour-free by a competent person 
  • Refer to the Safety Data Sheet and the manufacturer’s instructions and precautions before performing any work on a container 
  • Provide proper training and supervision to all staff so they understand the risks 
  • Develop safe work processes to manage the hazard and ensure all staff understand and are properly trained on these processes. 
Source: Safety Culture, OHS News SafeWork SA – Safety Alert

Queensland to ban Combustible Cladding 

Queensland is set to ban combustible cladding on all new buildings, after proposed new regulations gained industry support. According to the Queensland Government, the ban would extend to all aluminium composite panels with a polyethylene (PE) core greater than 30%. Queensland Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni, who proposed the new regulations, said the ban would help protect Queenslanders and is calling on the Commonwealth Government to protect all Australians by introducing a national importation ban on aluminium composite panels with a PE core. 


And from overseas

New Zealand Nitric Acid spill 

The chemical spilled at a Dunedin freight depot which resulted in a manager heading to hospital for observation was a concentrated and highly corrosive acid. Fire crews from around the city converged on the PBT Transport depot, after the container of nitric acid tipped off a pallet, and were there all morning helping with the clean-up. Firefighters wearing bulky orange level-four hazmat suits ventured in to find almost three litres of the chemical had spilt and a hazmat/command truck was stationed outside. Senior Station Officer Simon Smith, of Dunedin City Station, said one of several chemical containers had spilled inside and a manager was taken to hospital as a precaution. ''Because there were multiple chemicals in that area we always go to the highest level of protection,'' he said. 

The firefighters used absorbing agents to help soak up the spilled acid. University of Otago chemistry professor Lyall Hanton was called in as part of his role on the Hazardous Substance Technical Liaison Committee to help ascertain the nature of the spilled chemical. Professor Hanton consulted the paperwork, which he said was all in order, to determine the substance was concentrated nitric acid. Nitric acid is frequently used for the production of fertilisers, particularly ammonium nitrate, and is also used in research, although it was unclear where the chemicals were headed. A manager on site went to investigate and inhaled a lung full of the strong fumes of the corrosive acid, he said. 

Source: Otago Daily Times

N.Z. Chemical Mix causes HAZMAT Emergency

Taranaki Regional Council staff have launched an investigation after an orange gas was released when two chemicals were accidentally mixed at a Taranaki factory, prompting staff to take emergency measures and evacuate the immediate area.Specialised fire crews were called to a large spill at Taranaki Bio Extracts, on Kohiti Rd in Okaiawa, a fire and emergency spokesperson said.

Fire and Emergency NZ (Fenz) attended, along with three appliances from Hāwera, one from Okaiawa, one from New Plymouth and a hazardous materials and specialist unit from New Plymouth.

Deputy fire chief Merv Watt, of the Hāwera Volunteer Fire Brigade, said it looked like two chemicals got mixed in a CIP (chemical in progress) room and set off an orange gas.
"The staff pushed the emergency stop and it looks as if that has isolated the issue," he said. "Quick action by the staff in stopping it has prevented a bigger catastrophe."
A Fenz spokesperson said crews were working at the scene and the location of the spill was at a smaller site on the workplace, which has been evacuated and isolated.
They were unable to confirm what the chemicals were but said they had reacted together.

Watt said CCTV from the scene had been examined and no gas could be seen. However, a crew with gas detectors was being sent in. Decontamination areas were also being set up.
WorkSafe was also making inquiries into the spill, a WorkSafe spokesperson said.


eBay and Non-Compliant Hazmat Packages

In an article on their website released May 31, 2019, internet retail giant eBay announced that they will begin charging a $350 fee to its customers presenting non-compliant packages intended on being presented to FedEx for shipment. They state that this new policy has gone into effect as of June 1, 2019.The article states, “If FedEx determines that you have shipped a noncompliant package, this fee will be reflected on your monthly eBay invoice in the same way FedEx shipping charges are assessed today.”

Source: Ebay

Drone used at Major Chemical Emergency

This is the first time the drone has been used at a major emergency in Alabama.EMA officials said the drone discovered up to 3 gallons of chemical spilling per minute. Then the drone located nearby storm drains, checking to see if any chemicals were leaking into them.

The EMA said they located the truck and found up to two leaking totes and strap that broke as the load shifted.

The drone was in action even before HAZMAT crews had suited up.
Source: ABC3340

Workplace fumes cause 1 in 10 lung illnesses

One in 10 people experiencing illness in the workplace may be suffering as a result of exposure to hazardous fumes.According to a statement from the American Thoracic Society and the European Respiratory Society published in the ATS’s American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, more than one in 10 people with a range of non-cancerous lung diseases may be sick as a result of inhaling vapours, gas, dust or fumes at work.

In ‘The Occupational Burden of Nonmalignant Respiratory Diseases: An Official American Thoracic Society and European Respiratory Society Statement’, 13 clinical and research experts from the two respiratory societies analysed scores of studies of the connections between occupational hazards and lung disease. The studies were conducted around the world over more than two decades.


Explosion, Fire on Alaskan Dock

An explosion at a dock in Alaska spread fire to a nearby fishing boat that then sank, leaving one person aboard missing, the U.S. Coast Guard said.Crews were using a boat and helicopter to scour the ocean around the dock for the missing person, the Coast Guard said in a statement.
According to officials, the explosion happened on a fixed barge and fire then spread to the pier and the 99-foot commercial fishing vessel.

Source: Navy Times

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

Grant Breeze
Customer service (NSW/ACT/VIC/SA/WA) 

Glen Head 
Customer service (QLD / NT)