Dangerous Goods News - September 2019

Dangerous Goods News - September 2019
Welcome to Store-Safe's Dangerous Goods September 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 September issue, read about the latest HAZMAT & Environmental Notes available to AIDGC members, Drones being used to enhance safety, A bottle factory fire in Sydney and the Chemeca 2019 event. 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.  

Thank you for visiting us at Safety In Action

The Trafalgar Store-safe team were delighted to be visited at the Safety in Action 2019 expo by a diverse range of WHS professionals and Dangerous Goods consultants in Melbourne on 10th and 11th of September. Exhibiting the proudly Australian Made Dangerous Goods cabinets and gas storage cage, as well as the Dorgard Pro (a fire door retainer), we enjoyed hearing the news and concerns of professionals in the industry.  Since Store-Safe joined the Trafalgar group, there have been several significant changes to the features of the DG cabinets, which we believe make them the best in the market.
If you missed seeing us but are interested in the patented 'Stay-Open' door mechanism of the DG cabinets, or any of our other safety products, please have a look at our YouTube channel

Trafalgar TV - Safe Storage Playlist

Or check out our website


Hazmat & Environment Notes – June to August 2019

Available to Members on the AIDGC Website -



Updated AS 1940:2017 (Incorporating Amendment No. 1) The Storage and Handling of Flammable and Combustible Liquids
Source: SAI Global


Embracing Drones to enhance Safety

Queensland safety professionals have a chance to see how drone technology can reduce risks for workers and improve productivity at this year's Drones enhancing safety workshop hosted by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.

Held in conjunction with the World of Drones Congress in September, the workshop features tips and advice from Queensland businesses that embrace drone technology to keep workers away from dangerous situations. These technology pioneers will demonstrate how they’ve used drones for tasks that previously put workers at risk. Their solutions could be just what’s needed at your workplace.

Case study businesses on display are listed below:

  • Queensland Drones use drones for industrial surveys and mine site infrastructure assessments.
  • Hover UAV uses drones for shark research, conservation and public safety surveillance. They record all fauna sighted to help researchers build a picture of what species are prevalent at certain times of the year.
  • XM2 Industrial uses drones to monitor crop health in harsh conditions over large geographical areas, removing the need for manual surveying. They also use drones to inspect wind turbines, eliminating work at height risks
  • Sitesee uses drones to inspect cell towers, reducing climbs by staff, improving safety while minimising cost and maximising tower usage.
  • V-TOL Aerospace Pty Ltd is developing the capacity to process small unmanned aircraft systems’ payload data in real-time, meaning a drone can execute automated safe navigation and collision avoidance commands during flight.
Register to attend the workshop at, or find out more about the World of Drones Congress at

Drones: enhancing work safety workshop Date: Wednesday 25 September 2019 Time: 11am-1pm Location: Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, South Brisbane Cost: $110 per person (including GST) with light refreshments

Source: WorkCover QLD


AIDGC Conference

Trafalgar Store-Safe were proud sponsors of the AIDGC conference which took place earlier this month. Each year, the AIDGC conference provides an unparalleled opportunity for networking with a high calibre of dangerous goods consultants and gaining insights into the critical issues affecting the industry. With sessions covering aerosols in storage, mixed warehouse developments and hazardous areas, equipment and ingoing challenges; and many more, the conference delivered engaging information that is indispensable for anyone handling, storing or transporting dangerous goods.


 Chemical Gazette - August 2019


Refuelling mobile plant fire - visual animation

The animation below illustrates the sequence of events that led to an incident on 10 August 2017 where a 29-year-old contract worker suffered serious burns to his face, neck, torso and arms when a fire started while he was refuelling a diesel-powered tyre handler at Mt Arthur Coal’s heavy vehicle refuelling facility.

Source: NSW Resources Regulator


Australia to prioritise National Standard to address Gaps in Chemicals Management

Legislation will be brought before parliament 'as soon as possible' Australia’s Department of Environment and Energy (DoEE) has prioritised the implementation of its delayed national standard aimed at addressing gaps in the country’s chemicals management framework. The standard, which has been developed in parallel with the Industrial Chemicals Act 2019, would introduce an environmental risk management scheme for industrial chemicals and help to support the country’s implementation of the Stockholm Convention.

Source: ChemicalWatch


Statutory Review of the Explosives Act 2003 (NSW)

The Explosives Act 2003 regulates the control and handling of explosives and explosive precursors in NSW. Section 38 of the Act requires that it be reviewed to determine whether its policy objectives remain valid and its terms remain appropriate for securing those objectives.

As part of the review, a paper has been prepared to support discussion about the Act.

The Discussion Paper is now available on the SafeWork NSW website -

Please visit the website to read the Discussion Paper and for information on how to provide comments or submissions.


Sydney Bottling Factory fire

A factory housing tonnes of cooking oil and gas cylinders went up in flames. The blaze was at a bottling factory on Norrie Street in Yennora in the city's west. The factory housed 10 tonnes of cooking oil, plastic, stacks of wooden crates and nine kilogram gas cylinders. Residents were urged to stay inside and keep their windows closed due to the toxic fumes in the air. Dozens of NSW Fire and Rescue were at the scene and equipped with 10 water pumps, five ladders and cherry pickers. Hazmat and rescue crews were also at the scene.

Source: WSFM


Industrial manslaughter offence to be added to NT WHS laws

Employers and senior officers whose conduct “negligently or recklessly causes the death of a worker” could soon be charged with industrial manslaughter under the Northern Territory’s (NT) workplace health and safety (WHS) laws. The new offence—which will carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment for an individual and fine of up to $10m for a corporate body—is set to become part of WHS laws within a year, according to the NT Government. The addition of an industrial manslaughter offence was one of 27 recommendations made by Tim Lyons in a best practice review of WHS in the territory—23 of which were supported or supported-in-principle by the NT Government. Other recommendations to be implemented include:

  • formalising an Investigations Unit within the NT WorkSafe Inspectorate which will focus on investigating serious incidents and fatalities,
  • partnering with the Work Health and Safety Advisory Council and Workers Rehabilitation Advisory Council to improve support offered to families of workplace incident victims,
  • strengthening approval processes and communication around enforceable undertakings,
  • completing a review of NT WorkSafe’s decision-making and development processes around Safety Alert publication following serious incidents.
Source: NSCA Foundation


Australian industry supports nationwide upgrade to GHS 7

Move would aid alignment with 'major trading partners'.

Respondents to a Safe Work Australia (SWA) consultation have unanimously supported plans to adopt the seventh revision of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) for workplace hazardous chemicals.

A report on the consultation, carried out in July, says that there would be costs involved in updating classifications, labels and SDSs for some chemical products. However, businesses recognise there would also be long-term benefits from being aligned with other countries using GHS 7. These would include reduced costs for chemical imports.

SWA is Australia’s national body responsible for the development and evaluation of 'model' work health and safety laws, but it is not a regulator.

Its report says industry’s "primary concern" is the need for an adequate transition period and highlighted three suggestions:

  • for GHS7 to apply only to manufacturers and importers, with no changes required to existing products already in the supply chain or for end users;
  • for the requirements to apply only to new products, or where significant changes have been made to classifications on existing ones. Labels and SDSs for existing products would remain the same until the end of the five-year review cycle for the SDS; and
  • for a ‘mutually accepted approach’ that would allow businesses to operate under multiple versions of the GHS at the same time, with older editions being phased out. This would allow Australia to implement the next edition – GHS 8 – while continuing to recognise GHS 7 and older versions.
If SWA decides to upgrade to GHS 7, the majority of respondents requested a minimum two-year transitional period before full implementation. The report notes a "strong preference" for the transition period to begin before October 2020. This would ensure that GHS 7-labelled products coming from the EU would not require "costly re-labelling".

Another key message from the report is the need to ensure suppliers and end users are not affected by the new labelling and SDS obligations during the transition period. Industry is keen to ensure all products manufactured or imported before the transitional period ends can continue to be supplied without needing to meet GHS7 requirements. In practice, this means existing labels would still be acceptable for suppliers and end users until local stock runs out.

The report adds that industry would like the requirement to update precautionary statements on labels and SDSs should be "flexible", if the intent and safety message to the end user remains the same. The feedback received will inform an SWA proposal to its members at the end of 2019 to adopt GHS7. SWA says they will consider the transition arrangements and how to amend the model Work Health and Safety laws, under which GHS sits, to support implementation.

NOTE THAT new revisions of the GHS are not automatically adopted in Australia. The 3rd revised edition of the GHS is referenced in the model Work Health and Safety laws. SWA are progressing work to adopt the 7th revised edition in Australia, and have recently published a Consultation Summary on the proposed implementation. SWA Consultation Summary The official report of the 37th session of the Sub-Committee

To stay informed about the proposal to adopt GHS 7, subscribe to hazardous chemicals mailing list.


Accused of using NSW Chemical Business to import Ingredients to make Meth

Former high-flyer Michael Snounou is accused of using his industrial chemical supplying company, Cyndan Manufacturing, as a cover to import 11 tonnes of iodine into Sydney. Prosecutors say Cyndan didn't use iodine for its legal production of various chemical products and instead Snounou made 28 iodine orders from 2011 to 2018 with the intent to produce methamphetamine. He's also accused of importing gamma-butyrolactone (GBL) and possessing hypophosphorous acid - another chemical prosecutors say his company had no business in. He was arrested in February 2018.

As part of their circumstantial case, prosecutors argue material linked to Cyndan had been found in drug labs across Sydney. Snounou, a University of Sydney engineering graduate who lived in Potts Point before his arrest, told the Court of Criminal Appeal in July he needed to be at liberty as he couldn't properly prepare for his trial in mid-2020 while in custody. To facilitate that, he offered to submit to constant electronic monitoring and had various family members willing to offer up to $1.75 million as surety. The former high-flyer had a bail application refused on Friday as prosecutors feared he would flee to Lebanon, where there is no extradition treaty with Australia.



AU Emergency Response Guide

The AU Emergency Response Guide (AERG) based on the Canutec Guide (which various Dangerous Goods specialists have worked on to replace HB 76) has been brought into a single AU electronic document. The AERG may be used as an optional alternative to the Initial Emergency Response Guide (HB:76).

Duty holders should decide which Guide best suits their specific need.

Approval number V19-03 was issued by Worksafe Victoria and the approval was given national effect by the Competent Authorities Panel decision number CA2019/120.
The AU ERG is available to download free of charge from the National Transport Commission Dangerous Goods webpage

Source: National Transport Commission


NT Gas Company fined over release of PFAS

Under its approved environmental management plan, Inpex was required to store water containing PFAS (per-fluoroalkyl and poly-fluoroalkyl substances) from firefighting exercises held on the site, and then transport the water interstate for treatment at a licensed facility. Instead, the Federal Environment and Energy Department found that "in September 2018 Inpex boiled wastewater from firefighting tests that contained PFAS". The activity, the Department said, "is likely to have released PFAS into the air and therefore may have placed the immediate environment, including Darwin Harbour, at risk of heightened PFAS levels." The Department concluded that posed a threat to the harbour's wildlife. It fined Inpex $12,600 in April.

Source: ABC News


NSW Coal Mine to fund $1M. of Improvements after Safety Breach

The NSW Resources Regulator has accepted an Enforceable Undertaking from Mt Arthur Coal Pty Limited valued at $1,090,750 following its investigation into a serious safety incident at the Mt Arthur Coal Mine near Muswellbrook in August 2017. Chief Investigator Steve Orr said the investigation found a worker suffered serious burns to his face, neck, torso and arms as the result of a diesel fire that started while he was refuelling a tyre handler at the mine’s heavy vehicle refuelling facility.

The Regulator has also commenced prosecution proceedings against Otraco International Pty Ltd for an alleged breach of the Work Health and Safely Act 2011 (the Act) arising from its investigation into the incident. As the matter against Otraco is now before the court, the Resources Regulator is unable to make further comment.

A copy of the Enforceable Undertaking and reasons for decision can be found here. The Regulator’s investigation report can be found here.


Chemeca 2019

The 48th Chemeca will be held in Sydney NSW, Australia from 29 September – 2 October. Located on Australia’s east coast, the metropolis surrounds Port Jackson and sprawls about 70 kilometers on its periphery towards the picturesque Blue Mountains. Sydney is renowned for the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House, Chemeca brings together chemical engineers from Australia, New Zealand and other countries who will gather to share their insights and innovations relevant to chemical engineers across the wide range of industries we work in. 

The technical programme is on the website.


W.A. has new Guide for DG Storage &Handling

Following consultation with industry, the Department has released a new guide developed for the storage and handling of non-explosive dangerous goods in Western Australia. This guide provides practical guidance on how to comply with the Dangerous Goods Safety (Storage and Handling of Non-explosives) Regulations 2007, for persons who manufacture, import, supply, store or handle dangerous goods and all persons at dangerous goods sites.A key focus of the Dangerous Goods Safety Act 2004is the duty to minimise risk from dangerous goods. The duty to minimise risk not only applies to employers and employees but to all persons, including members of the public. This duty is placed on everyone involved with dangerous goods and goes beyond the workplace duties of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 and the Mines Safety and Inspection Act 1994.

The guide applies to substances, mixtures and articles which are defined as dangerous goods under the Regulations.

Download the Guide: Dangerous Goods Safety (Storage and Handling of Non-explosives) Regulations 2007



Air Emergency: Fumes leak on Jetstar Flight

Three people have been rushed to hospital after fumes leaked on board a Jetstar flight. Passengers on board the plane travelling from the Gold Coast were evacuated as emergency crews were called. The three passengers were taken to Robina Hospital in stable conditions, The Gold Coast Bulletin reported.


MacBooks banned from checked-in luggage

Australian travellers booked on a Qantas or Virgin Australia flight will no longer be able to check-in certain devices amid safety fears.



HAZARDEX - August 2019

See the latest edition here.


Revised Data Sheets

FM Global have revised datasheets available on their website


WorkSafe WA Inspection Program looks at Commercial Kitchen Safety

WorkSafe WA will conduct a proactive inspection program to look at safety standards and issues in commercial kitchens in various WA workplaces.

The program will continue throughout the 2019/20 financial year, and will focus on kitchens located in a range of workplaces including cafés, food courts and accommodation premises in metropolitan and regional areas of the State.

Industry checklist - kitchen safety This checklist has been developed to highlight safety issues for workers in kitchens and provides information on how to best manage those risks to minimise workplace injuries and comply with occupational safety and health legislation.



Safety is No Accident; New Guide for Cotton Farmers

Pro-Visual Publishing has released their latest edition of the 2019/20 Augmented Reality (AR) Cotton Industry Guide to Safety. Spanning 1 metre x 1 metre, the Guide is designed to be displayed in an appropriate place where safety information can be viewed regularly.

Displaying critical WHS framework guidelines to cotton farmers provides an opportunity to maintain or improve their safety standards to ensure the health and safety of their farmers.

myBMP, a best management practice program, is a useful free online information system and service available to help cotton farmers with their management and implementation of safety. Further information regarding myBMP is readily available on the guide as well as the following topics:

  • Harvester Safety – Cotton Pickers
  • Electrical Safety
  • Dangerous Goods and Chemicals
The exciting inclusion of AR has contributed to the printed resource becoming digitally interactive.

By simply downloading the free Pro-Vis AR app, Cotton Farmers can use their smart device to scan over any AR capable content to access further information straight to their device including, videos and web-links to further resources. For further information, or to obtain copies of the Guide please call (02) 8272 2611, email or visit


Truck explodes in West Australia

A coronial investigation is underway to determine the circumstances of a fatal truck explosion in remote Western Australia. A truck filled with explosives burst into flames near Mount Magnet while travelling on the Sandstone-Menzies road between Sandstone and Menzies en route to a licensed blast site at Bulga Downs station.

The driver, Tony Hickey, had initially been reported as missing. According to reports, forensic officers were not able to fully assess the scene at the time due to potential undetonated explosives left in the wreckage. However, a later search led to the discovery of human remains.

Hickey was managing director of BD Explosives, a Baldivis-based explosives manufacturer and transporter.



Port Pirie Smelter shuts down

SafeWork SA is investigating an incident at Nyrstar in which molten material and gas escaped from a large furnace. The MFS also attended the scene. The furnace and materials are cooling and our investigation is ongoing. SafeWork SA will continue to attend the site for compliance and further investigation purposes.

Source: ABC News


Queensland Worker seriously burnt in Vehicle Gas Tank Fire

In April 2019, a worker was seriously burned while attempting to decommission a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) tank from a motor vehicle at a workplace. It appears he was removing screws on the LPG tank using a battery-operated screwdriver which created an ignition source and started a fire.

Gas systems are commonly installed in vehicles, trailers or boats. They are also used in gas cookers and fridges in caravans, mobile homes and food vans.

Gases in LPG tanks are stored as liquids under significant pressure and LPG vapour is highly flammable. Some potential dangers of gases in cylinders or tanks are listed below:

  • Damage to a valve or regulator may cause a failure and rapid release of the gas.
  • Heating of the cylinder from heat source including fire or an impact to the pressure vessel may lead to a catastrophic rupture resulting in a rapid and large release of gas and flying shrapnel.
  • An uncontrolled release of a flammable gas may lead to a fire or explosion, particularly in a confined area where potential ignition sources are present.
  • Some gases, including LPG and carbon dioxide, are denser than air. On release, these gases will tend to collect in low lying areas such as pits, depressions and basements. People working in low lying areas may then be exposed to the risk of fire or explosion, asphyxiation, or poisoning or corrosive burns.

Source: WorkCover QLD


CASA: Public Consultation on DG Rules

CASA has opened public consultation in order to update and amend our dangerous goods (DG) rules. Among the topics up for consultation is whether passengers should be fined for bringing forbidden dangerous goods onto an aircraft and whether freight shippers should be fined for lodging undeclared or mis-declared dangerous goods for transport by air. Operators and CASA inspectors are finding that passengers are carrying dangerous goods ranging from fireworks (regularly detected on return flights from Asia) to gas-fuelled camping stoves and industrial chemicals, with spare batteries and power banks carried in checked baggage continuing to be the most problematic issue. Spare batteries and power banks, must be individually protected from short circuit and carried as part of carry-on luggage only. These items, if carried incorrectly, have the potential to generate heat and start an in-flight fire in the aircraft’s cargo hold. Passengers should note there are watt hour limitations for lithium batteries, which must be discussed with the airline, preferably ahead of time, or at check-in. The key message for all passengers is ‘If in doubt ask.’ CASA has a free Can I pack that? app available from the Apple App Store or Google Play. Or you can launch the website version from our dangerous goods web page on

CASA dangerous goods/ground operations specialist, Sam Bitossi, says ‘The intent of the proposed changes is not to issue fines to every passenger who makes an innocent mistake, but to address a gap in the current enforcement system.’ ‘Right now, we can either issue a warning letter or take legal action, there’s no middle ground,’ she says. ‘The proposed offences being added into Part 92 would enable the issuance of Aviation Infringement Notices, meaning CASA would be able to fine passengers or shippers for doing the wrong thing, rather than wasting time, money and resources on court proceedings,’ Bitossi says.

The consultation also includes proposals for changing provisions where interpretation has caused difficulties, are difficult to implement/enforce or overly complex. Specific changes include a proposed new subpart on the reporting of dangerous goods occurrences and options for smaller commercial operators to conduct their own case-by-case risk assessments for certain dangerous goods without seeking CASA permission. The Part 92 amendments also aim to address issues with the handling of dangerous goods closer to the potential root cause of the problem. This includes the creation of a new class of training for people who complete the closure of packing.

‘The proposed training for the new Group G employee category doesn’t require CASA approval,’ Bitossi says, ‘It’s about having documented processes and procedures for packing and shipping dangerous goods defined as “not restricted” in the regulations or which require training in the form of “adequate instruction,” which we know compliant organisations have anyway.’

Source: flight safety


W.A. Diesel Emissions Research available

Diesel engine exhaust (DEE) is a known hazard for mining operations, especially in underground mines where widespread use of diesel vehicles and equipment means control at source, and providing appropriate ventilation is critical to ensure worker health and safety.

The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) and the Mineral Research Institute of Western Australia (MRIWA) co-funded the first research project which focussed on evaluating the physical-chemical aspects of DEE. The project comprised two parts:

Part A: A Study of Nano Diesel Particulate Matter (nDPM) Behaviour and Physico-chemical changes in Underground Hard Rock Mines of Western Australia

Part B: Personal and Stationary Monitoring, Ventilation Modelling and Deeper Mines Study

The final consolidated report for Part A and Part B of the first research project is available below.

DMIRS also funded a second project, which evaluated the possible health impacts of DEE exposures. 20 above-ground and 80 underground miners underwent a series of health screening tests and were fitted with personal exposure monitoring equipment to investigate whether their work exposures had an effect on their health status. The findings from this research are undergoing peer review prior to publication in academic journals.

Also available is a literature review to consolidate recent research findings relevant to worker exposure to DEE, with a specific focus on newer engine and after-treatment technologies. Curtin University, the Chemistry Centre and the University of Western Australian conducted the research in collaboration with DMIRS and MRIWA. 

A Study of Nano Diesel Particulate Matter (nDPM) Behaviour and Physico-chemical Changes in Underground Hard Rock Mines of Western Australia. 

Critical review of recent diesel exhaust exposure health impact research relevant to the underground hardrock mining industry.


Petrol and Oxygen blaze at W.A. Naval Shipyard

Authorities extinguished a blaze in Henderson engulfing several oil drums underneath the HMAS Darwin. Career firefighters from Fremantle identified several liquefied petroleum gas and oxygen cylinders near the vessel, which is currently propped up on hard stands. The crew issued a red alert to incoming crews and set up an exclusion zone at the entrance to the Australian Marine Complex along Quill Way. Pieces of machinery, which includes a forklift, were also located nearby and were flagged as a concern by authorities. A hazmat warning was issued for people in the City of Cockburn due to the amount of smoke billowing from the fire.



Spot Checks on NZ Ferries for Dangerous Goods

Maritime NZ, partner regulatory agencies and the shipping industry worked together this month in a joint compliance and information-gathering operation on the carriage of dangerous goods (DG). Checks were specifically targeted to ensure that goods being carried on Cook Strait ferries were declared and compliant with safety regulations.

Spot checks were undertaken in Wellington, Picton and Blenheim on vehicles and cargoes being loaded onto the Cook Strait ferries. The checks were done to determine whether dangerous goods are being loaded, transported and documented in accordance with road and maritime transport rules and regulations. There was good compliance from those inspected.

Dangerous goods can be carried on ferries provided they are declared and classified. The amounts and categories of dangerous goods that can be carried are limited on passenger ferry sailings in line with international and New Zealand regulations. Inspections were undertaken on 88 vehicles stopped at five locations in Wellington, Picton and Blenheim and 83 of the vehicles inspected were commercial trucks. Of the vehicles inspected, 48 of them intended to travel on a Cook Strait ferry. Of the 88 vehicles stopped 67 vehicles were carrying dangerous goods.

Police undertook inspections of vehicles and were supported by inspectors from Maritime NZ, WorkSafe , Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and NZ Transport Agency (NZTA). Interislander and Strait NZ Bluebridge Cook Strait ferries operational staff provided cargo manifests, cargo declarations and relevant documents.

Source: Mirage News


Podcast: Building a Culture of Safety

Stereo Chemistry examines how organizations are making safety a priority to prevent and prepare for accidents rather than react to them. In our last episode of Stereo Chemistry, we talked to chemists who survived accidents at the bench and learned what went wrong and what lessons they could share to improve lab safety.

Part 1 - Lessons learnt in Lab safety

In this episode, we’re looking at what it takes to build a culture of safety. That is, what can organizations do to let researchers know that their safety is not only valued but expected? Hosts Jyllian Kemsley and Matt Davenport talk to experts about the importance of leadership, commitment, and education to transform lab safety from an exercise in compliance to a core element of the central science.

Part 2 – What happens who you take Risks?


And from around the world

N.Z. EPA: Upcoming Public Consultations

This link provides information about upcoming public consultations on proposed changes to the laws and regulations we administer.


Chemical Companies use Drones

Here’s a job any worker would be happy to pass off to a drone: Imagine crawling down a ladder into the vast darkness of a 20-story-high storage tank filled with toxic chemical fumes to spend hours searching for corrosion.

More than a thousand U.S. labourers’ have been killed working in confined spaces like that in the past decade. One of them was an AkzoNobel NV employee who passed out after entering a tank to retrieve a piece of trash at a North Carolina chemical plant last year. Oxygen levels were found to be just 11% inside the structure, according to a federal incident report.

Enter the ever-more capable drone. Companies including Dow Inc., AT&T Inc., BASF SE and Royal Dutch Shell Plc have begun assembling fleets of the flying automatons to take over their most dangerous jobs. Ascending several hundred feet in the air to inspect tanks and towers, squeezing through claustrophobic tunnels to replace a faulty part, or peering into the maw of a flame-belching smokestack—all are jobs that robots are being designed to do, companies say.

Inspections of gas flares at Shell’s refineries used to take days, said Randy Burow, Shell’s health and safety manager. To get workers close enough to the flame-spewing stacks to check the pilot light, the system had to be taken offline, then workers were hoisted in a basket several hundred feet high to the top of the stack. Now drones can complete the inspection of still-burning flares in a few hours without a worker ever leaving the ground.

Even with precautions including safety gear, air monitoring and rescue workers on standby, things can still go wrong with so-called confined-space entries by people. The scale of some of the tanks is massive, comparable to a 2-inch-tall person crawling into a household water heater unit, said Billy Bardin, Dow’s global technology director.

Dow, one of the world’s largest chemical makers, said it used robots for more than 1,000 confined-space entries in 2018, and for another 1,000 external inspections that involved high elevations, significantly cutting down on the risks to its workers.

“That kind of entry is one of the most potentially hazardous activities that we do,” said Bardin. The company’s goal is to reduce the number of human entries into such confined spaces to zero by 2025. That would require developing drones that can conduct repairs and other tasks, rather than just broadcast video, according to Bardin.

Source: Bloomberg


Concerns about Sodium Hydride

A recent report is bringing chemists’ attention to a longstanding but frequently forgotten hazard in chemistry. Sodium hydride (NaH), when used with certain solvents, can unexpectedly generate heat and gas, leading to a runaway reaction or even an explosion (Org. Process Res. Dev. 2019, DOI: 10.1021/acs.oprd.9b00276).



UK: Explosive Chemical Storage Facility

Further details about the storage site have been submitted to Harrogate Borough Council by Yorkshire explosives company Brexco, who plan to build near the former Tockwith Airfield.
Up to 35 tonnes of explosive and 50 tonnes of ammonium nitrate would be stored at the site if the firm's application for hazardous substances consent, lodged in July, is approved.

It comes two months after the company applied for permission to create the infrastructure of their storage business at the airfield, which include storage units, a communication cabin and a re-packing shed.

On their website, Brexco state that they specialise in providing supplies and equipment for mining operations. "Whilst there have been many great achievements in mechanical technology over the years, explosives remain an important resource to our future way of life," their website states.

Ammonium nitrate is commonly used both in the manufacture of explosives, as well as the production of agricultural fertilizers.

Source: Harrogate Advertiser


Shippers to face Fines on mis-declared Hazardous Cargo

Following a rise in maritime incidents this year – many relating to mis-declaration of dangerous goods - shipping lines are stepping up measures to prevent this in future and make shippers more accountable. 

German-owned Hapag-Lloyd revealed in a statement it would implement a US$15 000 per container fine for mis-declared or undeclared hazardous cargoes “in the overall interest of safe operation on-board”. This is effective from September 15 this year. This move follows a fire onboard the company’s 7 510-TEU vessel Yantian Express some 650 nautical miles off the Canadian coast in January.
The Hong Kong-based Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) – now a unit of China-based Cosco – said in a notice to shippers yesterday (Monday) that it would strengthen its Dangerous Cargo Acceptance and Container Inspection policy by imposing additional verification before loading through selective or random inspections on dangerous goods and potentially dangerous goods cargo.

“We are aware that there has been an increasing number of marine incidents being reported in 2019. Many vessels are suspected to be carrying undeclared and/or misdeclared hazardous cargo,” read part of the notice. Global maritime insurance companies have been warning about increased risks to ships.

“The large size and capacity of container ships today increases the risk of cargo misdeclaration and therefore of something going wrong,” said Régis Broudin, global head of Marine Claims at AGCS, adding that misdeclared cargo could happen on mega container ships by virtue of their sheer volume.

“The greater the number of containers stowed, the more chance there is of a mistake, such as storing dangerous cargo close to a hot spot like the engine. Meanwhile, the size of the vessel can make it harder to access a fire and impede attempts to extinguish,” he highlighted.

The International Cargo Handling Coordination Association (ICHCA) has estimated that some six million containers contain dangerous goods, and nearly 1.3 million of those boxes are not properly packed or are incorrectly identified.

Source: FTWOnline


Lessons and Challenges in Major Hazards Leadership: a personal perspective

Jo Nettleton is Deputy Director and Head of Radioactive Substances and Installations Regulation at the UK Environment Agency. In this article, based on her presentation at the Hazardex 2019 Conference, she looks at some of the high hazard incidents that have occurred during her wide-ranging career and reflects on the importance of leadership and collaboration in preventing these incidents. Jo also considers some of the main challenges for the future.

Source: Hazardex


VIDEO - Top 10 Chemical Companies in the World 2019

An annual list of the world's largest chemical producers by sales, excluding formulated products such as pharmaceutical drugs and coatings. In 2019, sales of the top fifty companies amounted to US$851,000,000,000, an increase of 14.3% compared to the top fifty producers of 2018.

The American Chemistry Council estimated that global chemical sales in 2017 rose by 3.7% to US$5,389,000,000,000

First World Peoples


US 7 Eleven settles over Hazmat handling

Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton announced a $1.525 million civil settlement with Texas-based 7-Eleven, Inc., to resolve allegations the company violated state laws requiring training of store personnel in hazardous-materials handling.

Becton joined the district attorneys of Alameda, Monterey, San Mateo, San Francisco, San Joaquin, Solano, Ventura and Yolo counties in prosecuting this case.

7-Eleven is an operator or franchisor of over 1,700 convenience stores in California. The stores use carbon dioxide for their carbonated fountain beverage systems. Carbon dioxide, typically stored in tanks onsite, is widely used by fast food and convenience stores and is safe if handled properly. If not, carbon dioxide can leak unnoticed, displacing oxygen from the air, resulting in serious health effects or even death.

California businesses that use carbon dioxide are required by law to train employees on safe handling practices and how to detect leaks from tanks and supply lines, and must file certified, complete, and accurate reports with local authorities at least annually confirming such training.



Chemical Fire in New Jersey

The event occurred at the Diamond Chemical Company, a manufacturer of industrial cleaning products, prompting a response from fire, police and hazmat officials. At least one of the chemical compounds involved in the fire was chlorine, authorities said. East Rutherford Fireplace Chief David Alberta said that two fires had damaged out in the facility, one caused by a chemical reaction and another caused by an overheated machine. Tom Longo, the officer of environmental health for Bergen County, said that the chemicals used in the building were water-reactive.” When they’re exposed to water they will create heat, that heat left unchecked precipitated the fibreboard containers to catch fire,” he said. 
Source: NBC News


Michigan, Chlorine Gas release

In the 12 years or so that KMI has operated in a residential area of Belding, the company has had at least seven trichloroisocyanuric acid fires that resulted in toxic chlorine gas releases, according to the Ionia County Health Department. KMI is currently temporarily banned from using the chemical, with county health department officials saying in their order earlier this month that current conditions and practices at the facility pose an imminent danger to the public.

Among those conditions are holes in the roof that let rainwater in. Tarps placed under the holes redirected rainwater into containers, according to the city manager. Although it wasn’t stored near the roof holes, trichloroisocyanuric acid catches fire and releases chlorine gas when exposed to small amounts of water. Until KMI can demonstrate to state and county officials that workers can properly handle, process and dispose of trichloroisocyanuric acid, KMI is barred from using it. Pool tablet production accounted for about a quarter of business KMI did last year, a company official previously said.

Belding city leaders are looking for legal measures to permanently keep a company from using a volatile chemical it has repeatedly mishandled. City Manager John Niemela directed the city’s attorney this week to research ways the city could compel Kassouni Manufacturing Inc. to stop using trichloroisocyanuric acid, a chemical used in the production of chlorinated pool tablets.



Brewery recalls Beer 'Risk of Explosion'

but…….it's still safe to drink

Lakefront Brewery says their newest brew, "My Turn Junk," is at risk of exploding. The beer contains small amounts of wild yeast from the brewed cherries which continue to ferment. The wild yeast continues to eat the sugars and continues to output CO2 and alcohol and that builds pressure in the bottles." potentially leading to an explosion. Lakefront issued a voluntary recall after 3 bottles exploded, no one has been hurt or formally complained. Lakefront Brewery is offering a refund to those who dispose of their My Turn Junk.



US Transport Company fined by OSHA

Transdev, an international transportation company, has 210 employees at its Norcross facility including mechanics, customer service representatives and bus drivers. Transdev has been cited for repeat violations, according to OSHA. They include chemical hazards, lack of proper employee training and a lack of preventative safety measures. Employees were regularly handling corrosive chemicals — three kinds of industrial cleaning liquids typically used for buses and other large vehicles, according to the OSHA report. Employees at the Norcross worksite did not have easy access to emergency showers in case of chemical burns, and chemicals were not properly labelled, an OSHA report says. The company was also cited for the same violations in October 2018. Source: Channel 2 Action News.



US Refinery sues Chemical Manufacturers over PFAS

An Oklahoma petroleum refinery has sued several chemical manufacturers and fire suppression equipment companies for damages it expects to incur because of a type of chemical that was used in the fire-extinguishing foam stored and used at the refinery.

Valero Refining Company-Oklahoma, the Michigan-based company that owns and operates the Valero Refinery in Ardmore, is suing 3M Company, E.I. Dupont De Nemours and Co., Chemours Co., National Foam Inc., Buckeye Fire Equipment Co., Kidde-Fenwal Inc., and other unnamed defendants for an unspecified amount to pay for costs the company has and expects to incur because of the chemicals in aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) purchased by the refinery.

The suit accuses the companies of product liability for defective design, product liability for failure to warn, negligence, gross negligence, fraud and deceit, breach of warranties, unjust enrichment and violation of the Oklahoma Consumer Protection Act. It also accuses E.I. DuPont and Chemours of fraudulent transfer. AFFF is used to extinguish fires that cannot be put out with water alone, and Valero stated in its lawsuit that the foam was applied to fires and on spilled fuel in an effort to prevent fires at its refinery and associated facilities in Carter and Murray counties, the suit states.

However, the foam contained or had chemicals that broke down into a family of synthetic compounds containing bonded fluorine and carbon known as long-chain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, often referred to as “PFAS.”

Source: Enid News


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