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Dangerous Goods News - December 2019

Dangerous Goods News - December 2019

Welcome to Store-Safe's Dangerous Goods December 2019 newsletter. 

We've compiled the most relevant dangerous goods news articles from Australia and overseas from the 
AIDGC newsletter and other sources. In the December issue, read about the new resources for chemical storage from Safe Work Australia, frequently asked questions about Australia’s Industrial Chemical Introduction Scheme and how you can assist emergency services in case of a fire event at your premises.

 


ABOUT AIDGC

The AIDGC is an independent industry body that exists for the benefit of the dangerous goods industry, regulatory authorities, government, business and the general community. There are over 60 professional members who offer dangerous goods related services. 

To search for a Dangerous Goods Consultant, search the membership list 
here

To learn more about the benefits of becoming a member of the AIDGC and to join, visit the 
AIDGC website.


Safework NSW - Changes to Blasting Explosive User Licences

From 1 January 2020, we're changing the way Blasting Explosive User Licences (BEUL) are issued.

More here



CFA told to stay Home if Chemical Stash Explodes

The Country Fire Authority has ordered firefighters not to respond if a blaze breaks out this summer at a massive illegal chemical dump outside the western Victorian town of Kaniva amid concerns that it would expose local crews to toxic contamination. A secret emergency plan developed by senior command at the CFA, Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and Victoria Police calls for road blocks 10km to the north and south of the site until a specialist CFA hazardous materials team can arrive, said local emergency management sources who declined to be named. The specialist team is based about three hours away in Ballarat.

Kaniva CFA captain Brad Witmitz confirmed the order, saying, “I've been told that if there is a fire we would not be turned out (dispatched). That we are to stay away from the fire and that a Hazmat (hazardous materials) team would be sent." But he said CFA command had not provided details to local firefighters about the nature of the threat posed by the illicit waste stockpile or a copy of the joint-agency emergency response plan

Source: 
The Age


AS1940-2017 - Amendment

The following Standards Australia publication has been published. This one-line amendment is free. Publication Number: AS 1940:2017 AMD 1:2019 Title: The storage and handling of flammable and combustible liquids

Source: Standards Australia


QLD Industrial Gas & Liquid Supplier fined  

A large national company with ties to an international entity which specialises in the manufacturing and supply of industrial gases has been sentenced in the Richlands Magistrates Court. The company was fined $200,000 for a breach under section 32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, regarding a failure to comply with its duty under s19(1). The prosecution by the Office of the Work Health and Safety Prosecutor followed an incident on 14 May 2018 at the defendant’s Wacol workplace. At the time, a worker was manually discharging carbon dioxide from a 100-tonne tank, looking to reduce pressure. The pressure in the vessel needed to be reduced through manual venting over a period of nearly one month as the refrigeration unit which previously maintained the pressure in the vessel had been shut down and no liquid carbon dioxide was being extracted from the tank for making dry ice. Manual venting wasn’t a task the tank was designed for or a routine job done by workers. There were no procedures in place on how perform manual venting, nor was any instruction given to workers on how they should do it. As a result, workers developed their own measures to vent pressure in the tank. These measures could at best be described as ad hoc. On the day of the incident, an experienced worker opened valves on the tank to allow carbon dioxide to flow through unsecured flexible hoses to reduce pressure. However, one of the unsecured hoses suddenly whipped upwards and struck him on the head. He sustained significant injuries, including a severe traumatic brain injury, and later died in hospital. The 60 year old was an experienced worker familiar with the large tank and the dangers associated with venting pressurised carbon dioxide through unsecured hoses. However, he had unclipped the hoses from a nearby bollard and placed them on the ground to vent the carbon dioxide.

Read More 



Nail salon workers suffer chemical exposures that can be like working at a garage or a refinery

Anyone who has walked past a nail salon is familiar with the noxious odours that emanate from acrylic nails, polishes and removers. Customers getting manicures and pedicures endure the smell temporarily, but manicurists who inhale these evaporating chemicals for hours expose themselves to health risks. The smells come from volatile organic compounds, or VOCs – compounds that easily become vapours or gases. These substances have been linked to health problems ranging from headaches and respiratory irritation to reproductive complications and cancer. In a normal room-temperature environment, VOCs evaporate and humans breathe them in.

Source: 
The Conversation


Review into SA EPA Policies

The South Australian Government has ordered a review into the Environmental Protection Authority's (EPA) policies over public notification of environmental incidents. Environment Minister David Speirs announced the review following an ABC investigation into two chemical spills from the Nyrstar smelter in Port Pirie that were not revealed to the public at the time. " There are questions regarding how the EPA, as an independent statutory authority, informs local communities of environmental incidents and under what circumstances the public should be notified," he told State Parliament. "As a result, I have today asked the EPA board to conduct a review into their policies and protocols regarding the public notification of incidents like these." Nyrstar and the EPA admitted the two spills had occurred following questions from the ABC. In October 2017, the toxic metal cadmium was found to have leeched into groundwater. On January 31 of this year, a sulfuric acid spill into a waterway led to "several hundred" fish deaths. State MPs and members of the Port Pirie community have criticised the company and the EPA for not alerting the public to the spills at the time. Greens MP Mark Parnell questioned whether the regulator broke the law by not notifying the public of the spills


Source: ABC News


Boy badly burnt at Sydney Teppanyaki Restaurant

A three-year-old boy has been badly burnt after an accident at a teppanyaki restaurant. Courtney Love was celebrating her 30th birthday at Sasuki Teppanyaki in Narellan with her family when a demonstration of flaming alcohol went wrong, burning the three-year-old boy and his 34-year-old father. Ms Love said while it was a terrible accident, the restaurant was not prepared for such an incident. "There was no fire extinguisher, there was no safety blanket – we didn't even know where the tap was," said Ms Love. The owner of the store has said his thoughts are with the family and that flaming alcohol demonstrations have now been banned.

Source: news.com.au


Penalties up and insurance outlawed - changes to NSW safety legislation underway    

In an important step this month, the NSW Government has introduced amendments to the Work Health & Safety Act (NSW) (WHS Act) to implement some key recommendations from the 2018 National WHS Review.  Including extending the application of the WHS Act to storage and handling of dangerous goods.

Read more 



Australia World-first Study leads to Refrigerants Safety Guide

A new guide on how to work safely on vehicles where it is known or suspected that flammable refrigerants may be present is now available for free download. The document is the result of a ground-breaking project between Refrigerant Reclaim Australia, automotive thermal and electrical trade association VASA and GHD Engineering, to study the management of health and safety risks associated with the use of flammable gases, including refrigerants, in an automotive workshop environment. It covers topics including legal matters related to refrigerant classifications, dangerous goods, work health and safety, hazardous areas and working with flammable refrigerants, including what to do if a system contains a flammable refrigerant classified A3 (high flammability) or A2L (mild flammability). Handling mixtures of non-flammable and flammable refrigerants is also covered. At the end of the document are a workshop safety checklist and risk assessment worksheet to use when flammable refrigerants are encountered.

During the early research stage of this project, it became clear to GHD Engineering that it would have to conduct a series of world-first studies to establish the number of vehicles containing flammable refrigerant that can occupy a workshop and safe exclusion zones for venting and vacuum pumping of A3 and A2L refrigerants, or in a hose leak scenario. VASA president, Ian Stangroome, said that “an issue that has emerged in recent years is the charging of A3-rated high-flammability refrigerants into existing automotive air-conditioning systems that were never designed to mitigate these elevated risks, in some cases without proper labelling,” he said. “There has until now been no properly researched advice on the safest way to work with vehicles using flammable refrigerants – especially those which have been retrofitted – from a practical, OH&S and legal point of view. “We are very proud to be publishing this rigorously researched safety guide for the benefit of all automotive technicians in Australia, who will at some point inevitably encounter a vehicle charged with flammable refrigerant.”

Download the guide here


Huge Sydney Industrial Complex Fire

The fire broke out at a factory and spread into the 24-unit industrial and storage site in William Street, Beaconsfield. A mechanic with luxury cars, a tiler, a printing company, a number of automotive repair businesses and the headquarters for fashion chain General Pants are housed in the site. At the height of the blaze 100 firefighters were involved.

Source: SMH


Compulsory Regulation of NSW Engineers

The Government has introduced the Design and Building Practitioners Bill. The Opposition has introduced the Professional Engineers Registration Bill. This is not an either/or situation: the community needs Parliament to agree to BOTH bills to create a robust system.

Read more


Hazelwood mine operator guilty over 45-day fire

A Supreme Court jury has found the four companies which operated the Hazelwood Coal Mine guilty of three charges each under the Environment Protection Act 1970 over the 2014 Hazelwood mine fire which burnt for 45 days and blanketed the township of Morwell in thick smoke.  In July of this year, a jury found each of Hazelwood Pacific Pty Ltd, Australian Power Partners B.V., Hazelwood Churchill Pty Ltd and National Power Australia Investments Ltd guilty of polluting the atmosphere so as to make it noxious, poisonous, or offensive, polluting the atmosphere so as to make it harmful to health, welfare, safety or property and polluting the atmosphere so as to make it detrimental to any beneficial use. “These companies did not light the fire but have now been found to have been responsible for the pollution which came from it, which the court heard had an impact upon the community,” said EPA Victoria Chief Executive Officer, Dr Cathy Wilkinson.


Source: The Age



 
Chemical discharge to Victorian Waterway

A discharge of waste water contaminated with a corrosive industrial chemical has cost a Laverton North company and its director $55,500. Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) prosecuted Chemprod Nominees Pty Ltd (trading as Omega Chemicals) and its director, Leslie Chaim Fried, over the discharge of waste water contaminated with sodium metabisulphite that flowed into Kayes Drain. The company and its director Mr Fried pleaded guilty in the Sunshine Magistrate’s Court to causing an environmental hazard, permitting the deposit of industrial waste to an unlicensed site and pollution of waters. The investigation began when Melbourne Water officers reported a white substance in Kayes Drain and EPA investigators traced the contaminated water back to the Chemprod premises on Fitzgerald Rd.  The contaminated water had flowed approximately 2 km downstream.

The waste water was from the cleaning of a chemical tank and should have been sent to the company’s onsite effluent treatment facility.  Sodium metabisulphite is used as a disinfectant, antioxidant and preservative agent.

Source: epa.vic.gov.au




Learn about the risks of Storing Swimming Pool Chemicals  

Safe Work Australia has prepared a new information sheet for storing swimming pool chemicals. This resource expands on the information in Managing risks of storing chemicals in the workplace. The material was developed in consultation with representatives from work health and safety regulators, unions and industry groups. To find out more about complying with work health and safety requirements in your region, contact your local WHS regulator.

Read more 


Battery sparks Recycling Truck Fire

A recycling truck was driving in West Ryde, Sydney, when a fire broke out in its tip tray. The fire was believed to have been sparked by battery acid being mixed with another substance – forcing the truck to dump its load on a residential street and call emergency services.

Source: Northern District Times


Proposed Class Action puts Australia's PFAS Policies in the Spotlight

The Australian government is coming under increasing pressure to deal with contamination from per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFASs), after lawyers announced plans for the country's biggest ever class action.  Up to 40,000 people claiming to have been affected by PFAS pollution at and around defence sites plan to sue the government, saying that their property values have plummeted. Australia's Department of Defence (DoD) has used PFAS in firefighting foams at training facilities across the country since the 1970s and only began to phase out its legacy firefighting foams containing PFOS and PFOA in 2004. It now uses a "more environmentally safe" firefighting product called Ansulite.

Read More 


New Resources for Chemical Storage

Learn how to prepare chemical registers, manifests and site plans. Safe Work Australia has prepared new resources for storing hazardous chemicals. These resources expand on the information in Managing risks of storing chemicals in the workplace, they include tools that can be used to prepare hazardous chemical registers, manifests and site plans. The material was developed in consultation with representatives from work health and safety regulators, unions and industry groups. To find out more about complying with work health and safety requirements in your region, contact your

Read More 



Victorian EPA refuses to provide Information about Toxic Chemicals

The Environment Protection Authority is refusing to provide firefighters with detailed information about the toxic chemicals they were exposed to during a massive industrial blaze in West Footscray in August last year.  Firefighters are now demanding the EPA release samples for testing from a stockpile of up to 10 million litres of chemicals recently discovered in the rubble of the property, which was the scene of one of the state's worst industrial fires.

Source: The Age


New Dangerous Goods Laws Pass Victorian Parliament  

Text Rogue operators who stockpile dangerous goods could face up to 10 years in jail after tough new laws passed Victorian Parliament today. The Dangerous Goods Amendment (Penalty Reform) Bill 2019 ensures those who flout dangerous goods laws get a serious penalty. A new offence has now been created that will see prison terms of up to ten years for those that recklessly engage in the manufacture, storage, transport, transfer, sale or use dangerous goods in a way that places, or may place, another person in danger of death. Body corporates who are found guilty of this offence could face fines of more than $6.4 million. Existing maximum penalties for endangering health and safety, property or the environment will be increased from four to five years imprisonment, and from $165,000 to $297,000 in fines for individuals. Maximum fines for body corporates endangering health and safety will increase from $826,000 to $3.3 million. Penalties will also be increased for failing to comply with the direction of a WorkSafe Inspector, and for several other offences of failing to comply with duties under the Dangerous Goods Act. The maximum penalty for abandoning, failing to take precautions for equipment and conduct that causes – or is likely to cause an accident – will increase from $82,600 to $297,000 for an individual. For body corporates the maximum penalty will increase from $413,000 to $1.4 Million.

Read more 


Gas explosion at W.A. Aquatic Centre

A contractor has been flown to Perth after suffering burns in a gas explosion at a new aquatic centre 100 kilometres north-east of Perth. The 31-year-old plumber sustained burns to his right arm, calf and thigh while installing two hot water systems within the Northam Aquatic Centre’s change rooms. He was airlifted to Fiona Stanley for treatment. “The cause of the explosion is unknown at this stage,” a Cooper and Oxley spokeswoman said.

Source: The West Australian


Common Chemical Hazard and Toxicology Databases for PSRA Professionals

Chemical PSRA professionals need to access a wide range of database to understand the hazards, toxicities, uses and exposures of their chemicals daily. These data are either needed to prepare safety data sheets and product labels or used for safety assessment or selecting safer ingredients. In this article, we have summarized the most frequently used chemical hazard and toxicology database for specific chemicals that have been prepared by authoritative bodies such as WHO, FAO, and ECHA.

Read more 


Growing concern at Pesticide Hazards

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland has released new guidance on pesticides and the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority has released a review of glyphosate use. Pesticides, including herbicides, insecticides and fungicides, are hazardous chemicals and are a health risk if safety precautions are not taken. Common pesticides include; glyphosate, paraquat,  organophosphates,  pyrethrin. As with all hazardous chemicals, particularly those which may cause cancer, worker exposure must be minimised, including skin contact, breathing in vapour and mists, and accidental ingestion through poor hand hygiene. Exposure to herbicides and pesticides may cause serious health problems, so check each product’s safety data sheet for possible harmful health effects.

Read more 






Chemicals Management Software Guide

Chemical Watch has now made available the third edition of the Chemicals Management Software Guide – to download or read online. Increasingly software is being used to help companies meet compliance obligations as well as safely manage chemicals in products and the supply chain. 

Read more 


Safe Work Australia releases Workplace Exposure Standards Framework

Safe Work Australia has released the decision regulation impact statement (decision RIS) for the workplace exposure standards framework. This decision regulation impact statement (decision RIS) is about the framework for workplace exposure standards under the model Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws and how it should be kept up to date. There will be a standard three-year transitional period for duty holders to comply with amendments to the workplace exposure standards. Educational and guidance materials will be developed to support implementation and compliance. Safe Work Australia will work closely with the Commonwealth, state and territory WHS regulators to implement the preferred option. Read the Decision regulation impact statement: Workplace exposure standards framework under the model Work Health and Safety laws. To learn more about the workplace exposure standards, visit our workplace exposure standards for chemicals web page.

Read More 


I 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)
gbreeze@store-safe.com 

Glen Head 
Customer service (QLD / NT)
Glenh@store-safe.com