Dangerous goods storage

Dangerous goods come in many shapes and sizes: from those that require hazmat suits, like radioactive and infectious materials, to seemingly innocuous items like medicines and cleaning products.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a business that doesn’t handle some sort of dangerous goods. But too many businesses underestimate the dangers associated with storing and transporting these goods and other hazardous materials.

In fact, up to 40 per cent of shippers are unaware of regulations governing the transportation of dangerous goods, a recent survey has found. And that has big ramifications for your business’ supply chain and liabilities. Here we take a look at best practice when dealing with dangerous goods, and how you can prepare yourself for a worst-case scenario.

The nine classes of dangerous goods

You get ready for work in the morning – spray on some deodorant, add a touch of perfume or cologne, grab your mobile phone, leave the house, unlock your car and open the garage door. You’ve just come into contact with a bunch of dangerous goods – aerosols, alcohol, lithium batteries. How many more will you use, buy or sell throughout your working day? Of course, that depends largely on your line of work, but there are nine classes of dangerous goods that you, and those in your supply chain, may come into contact with:

• Explosives

• Gases

• Flammable liquids

• Flammable solids

• Oxidising substances and organic peroxides

• Toxic and infectious substances

• Radioactive material

• Corrosive substances

• Dangerous substances and articles.

These all have to be handled and stored with care.

Dangerous goods handling and storage – best practice

The rules and regulations governing the safe transport, storage and use of dangerous goods in Australia are rather complicated. In terms of road and rail transport, there’s been some recent rationalisation, with the National Transport Commission introducing the Australian Dangerous Goods Code, which came into full force in July 2019. The code outlines best practice in regards to classification, packaging and performance testing, use of bulk containers, marking and placarding, vehicle requirements, segregation and stowage, documentation, safety equipment and emergency procedures.

That said, it remains up to state and territory departments to authoritatively advise on operational issues related to the code. Beyond road and rail transport, the rules around dangerous goods become as complex and hazardous as the materials themselves. Dangerous goods are dealt with at various levels of Australian government and across various departments – including transport, health, environment, and workplace health and safety.

Here’s a guide to the regulations and authorities you can consult:

• State and territory workplace health and safety authorities

• Safe Work Australia guide to hazardous chemicals – how to handle them

• Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s dangerous goods resources

• State and territory environmental management departments

• International Air Transport Association’s Dangerous Goods Regulations

• International Maritime Organisation’s Dangerous Goods Code.

Protecting yourself, your employees and your business

Mistakes in handling dangerous goods can be costly, and you can’t always rely on other businesses to do the right thing.

So given the high stakes and complicated nature of handling dangerous goods, it’s wise to call in the experts and implement additional safeguards. For example, one small mishap can disrupt your whole supply and distribution chains, so it’s definitely important to look into being adequately protected against your business’ unique risks with appropriate business insurance cover.

To further explore the risks and liabilities your business carries, reach out to your own insurance broker or Fitzpatrick & Co. They can help you invest in an insurance solution that will come to your aid in the unfortunate event of a dangerous goods incident – be it business insurance, management liability or workers’ compensation, depending on your needs.

For more information or questions on Business insurance or your own policy, please contact Fitzpatrick & Co. Insurance Brokers on (03) 8544 1600 or email: insure@fitzpatrick.com.au or visit the website at www.fitzpatrick.com.au

Important note

This article provides information rather than financial product or other advice. The content of this article, including any information contained in it, has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Fitzpatrick & Co have specialised in the horticulture and arboriculture industry for over 30 years providing assistance and financial support to companies, associations and events. They are there when your industry needs you. AA

Send this to a friend