Dangerous Goods: Chemical Leak and Boral Plant Fire In One Week

Hazardous ChemicalsA Caltex oil refinery in Brisbane was evacuated following a chemical leak which left four workers injured.

Emergency services rushed to the scene upon receiving reports of spilled chemical and vapour cloud emanating from the area. Queensland Fire and Rescue Spokesman said paramedics were on the site helping and treating the four individuals who were injured in the leak.

Reports indicated that the four workers weren’t seriously hurt but they are seeking treatment.

A Hazmat crew and scientific officer also joined the fire services at the scene. The leak is said to be under control and it is still undetermined how the leak was caused.

This incident follows the Boral Asphalt factory explosion.  The massive factory explosion rocked Narangba  and caused black smoke to be visible from a significant distance away.  Reports on how the factory explosion were also sketchy but fortunately all workers were accounted for. Boral is currently investigating an explosion that caused a fire at one of their plants in Queensland.

Six workers for the Boral plant were given the all clear by paramedics . The Company’s general manager said the explosion occurred when a holding tank suddenly released pressure.

The resulting blaze took up to eight fire crews to control.

Mr McGuire said there was no clear cause  for the explosion.

“We are working closely with the appropriate authorities and undertaking a comprehensive investigation into the cause of the accident,” he said in a statement.

More info on Dangerous Goods

Source: http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/national/workers-injured-after-chemical-leak-at-the-caltex-oil-refinery-in-east-brisbane/story-fndo1yus-1226481339549 

 

 

Classifying Dangerous Goods

Previously, the storage, handling and use of hazardous chemicals in the workplace were regulated separately in each jurisdiction under a different framework for hazardous substances and for dangerous goods. Now with the implementation of the new work health and safety (WHS) harmonised scheme, the WHS regulations cover hazardous substances and dangerous goods under a single scheme. This single scheme, “hazardous chemicals” includes a new process in which hazards are classified. This classifying system is based on the United Nations’ Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).

What is a “hazardous chemical”?

It is easy to get confused as to what actually classifies as a “hazardous chemical” but basically, it includes any substance that, following employee exposure, can have a harmful effect on health. Side effects of exposure can include (but are not limited to); burns, skin/eye irritation and even fatal diseases such as cancer.

 “But isn’t that the same thing as “Dangerous Goods”?

Dangerous Goods can include substances, mixtures or articles that are hazardous to people, property or the environment. These types of substances can come in chemical or physicochemical form.  It is the properties of these substances that typically cause harm. Some “Dangerous Goods” are explosives, flammable liquids/gases, corrosive substances, and chemically reactive or highly toxic substances. Other examples of dangerous goods include petrol, LP gas, chlorine, explosives and fireworks.

The characteristics used to determine if a substance is a ‘Dangerous Good’ falls under the Australian Code for the Transport of Dangerous Goods (ADG Code) 7th Edition. This code presents a list of substances considered to be ‘Dangerous Goods’.

However, to answer the initial question: In many cases, dangerous goods are also considered to be hazardous substances.

One can speculate that the system was harmonised in order to avoid confusion on whether or not a substance was a hazardous chemical or dangerous good. However, now they both simply fall under the same scheme.

Whose Job is it to classify materials as ‘Hazardous’?

The model WHS Regulations (harmonised law) made it the manufacturer and importer’s responsibility to correctly classify the hazardous chemical prior the chemicals delivery to a workplace.

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According to a 2009 International Labour Conference report, over 650,000 deaths worldwide were caused in 2003 due to hazardous chemicals.

Dangerous Goods Transportation by sea falls under the IMDG Code. Since 2010 every marine worker who transports Dangerous Goods has been required to receive the proper training under AMSA regulations.  

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Dangerous Goods: As Fiskville Cancer Toll Hits 15, WorkSafe Investigates.

Dangerous goods trainingCFA’s Fiskville training college has recently been inspected by WorkSafe following a Herald Sun investigation that links 15 deaths to the site.The inspection by WorkSafe comes after CFA initiated its own investigation into Dangerous Goods usage at the site in the 1970s and 1980s.Former Environmental Protection Authority ( EPA) deputy chairman will now serve as chair in the CFA case regarding chemical usage at Fiskville.

CFA has pledged their cooperation with WorkSafe investigations.Families who would like to report of any health problems concerning the training college, can do so by accessing the email account that was set up for that purpose.

Heads of CFA have indicated their dedication to resolving the allegations and reassuring workers that the site is now safe.

Many who have worked at Fiskville are reportedly concerned, according to an opinion piece  written by CFA executive Mick Bourke.  Bourke attributes the use of the toxic chemicals to a “ different time” when “attitudes, understanding and work practices were different”.

He stated that since then the work practices of the CFA have changed dramatically and positively.A former CFA volunteer by the name of Rick Jakob, has developed a cancerous tumour on his spine . He claims that volunteers regularly set fire to gasoline on creek beds during his time at Fiskville.

Jakob has expressed concerns that until the late 1990s water could have been contaminated as there was no treatment, and thus, it could have entered waterways.

A State spokesperson has stated that regular briefings are being received regarding the CFA investigation

Source: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/more-news/worksafe-acts-as-toll-hits-15/story-fn7x8me2-1226216677916

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