The Safe Storage of Dangerous Goods

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Dangerous goods and substances are widely used throughout a broad range of industries and institutions.It is critical in the workplace environment for occupiers of premises where dangerous goods are being stored and handled to be aware they will have to meet a range of legal and regularity requirements.

The Legislative framework, includes the Dangerous Goods Act 1985 (DG Act) which sets out the general duties/requirements covering the manufacture, storage, transport and use of dangerous goods. The (DG Act) also allows for provision of codes of practice and regulations to be made in relation to dangerous goods.

The Dangerous Goods (storage and Handling) Regulations 2012 (DG(S&H)Reg) provide specific requirements in relation to the storage and handling of dangerous goods.Section 45(1) of this Act says that failure to abide by these regulations, made under the (DG Act) is an offence.

The Code of Practice (Code) for the storage and handling of dangerous goods gives practical guidance on how employers and employees can comply with the (DG(S&H)Reg) This code can be accessed at http://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/118436/Code-of-Practice-for-the-Storage-and-Handling-of-Dangerous-Goods.pdf and should be read along with the (DG Act) and the (DG(S&H)Reg) The (Code) not only applies to manufacturers and suppliers of dangerous goods but also to occupiers of businesses or premises where these goods may be stored and handled.

Other Legislation may apply and should be referred to. This includes the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (OHS Act) and Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2007 (OHS Reg) These are both important as they deal with hazardous substances. As many dangerous goods are also included as hazardous goods this Act and Regulations may apply in addition to all the above.

What are Dangerous Goods? Dangerous goods are materials and substances which are capable of causing injury, illness or harm to human health and safety, through their hazardous properties. The distinction between dangerous goods and hazardous substances is important. Generally dangerous goods are classified with regards to the immediate or potential danger (eg, corrosion, fire, explosion and poisoning) where hazardous substances are rated more on the basis of potential adverse health effects (this could be immediate/acute or chronic harm caused to a person’s health)

Classification of Dangerous Goods, Dangerous goods are defined in the (DG Act) and are also classified in the Australian Code for the Transport of Dangerous goods. This code can be accessed on the National Transport Commission’s website, see; http://www.ntc.gov.au/heavy-vehicles/safety/australian-dangerous-goods-code/
The following table sets out the various dangerous goods codes specified under the (DG(S&H)Reg) In Australia these are also defined by the Australian Dangerous Goods Code (ADG) Importantly these are all closely aligned with UN, international standards.

Class 2 Gases: Compressed, Liquified or Dissolved under pressure

Class 2 is subdivided into the following 3 divisions:

Type of Dangerous Goods ADG Code Examples
2.1 Flammable gases FLAMMABLE_GAS Hydrogen, Acetylene and most Aerosols.
2.2 Non-flammable, non-toxic gas non_flammable Helium, Oxygen
2.3 Toxic/Poisonous gases toxic Chlorine, Ammonia

 

Class 3 Flammable Liquids

Liquids which can burn and have a flash point below 60 degree celsius e.g. Acetone, Kerosine

 

Class 4 Flammable Solids

Class 4 is subdivided into the following 3 divisions

Type of Dangerous Goods ADG Code Examples
4.1 Flammable solids class-4.1 Phosphorous (red)
4.2 Substances liable to spontaneous combustion 4.22 Phosphorous (white)
4.3 Substances which in contact with water emit flammable gases Substances which in contact with water emit flammable gases Sodium

 

Class 5 Oxidising Agents and Organic Peroxides

Class 5 is subdivided into the following 2 divisions

Type of Dangerous Goods ADG Code Examples
5.1 Oxidising substances 5.1 Oxidising substances Ammonium Dichromate, Sodium Peroxide
5.2 Organic Peroxides 5.2 Organic Peroxides Methyl Ethyl Ketone Peroxide

 

Class 6.1 Toxic Substances

Type of Dangerous Goods ADG Code Examples
Toxic substances Toxic substances Sodium Cyanide, Arsenic Compounds

 

Class 8 Corrosive Substances

This class includes both acids and bases/alkalis e.g. Hydrochloric Acid Sodium Hydroxide

Class 9 Miscellaneous Dangerous Goods

Substances that don’t fit into above classifications e.g. Dry Ice, Asbestos

Duties and Responsibilities of Occupiers, Under the (Code) occupiers include owners of premises, persons who exercises control at premises under lease or contract and business owners and proprietors. Occupiers have significant responsibilities to manage risks in the work environment safely by identifying risks and hazards and putting in place suitable measures to control and manage such risks. Duties also include training, consultation and provision of information. The (Code) also refers to various Australian and New Zealand Standards. These are intended to provide guidelines regarding risk controls associated with the safe storage of dangerous goods. The (Code) recommends these risk controls outlined in the applicable Standards be followed. Guidance in relation to storage, safe separation distances, engineering controls, spill containment and safety barriers can be found in the following:

AS 1940:2004 The storage and handling of flammable and combustible liquids

AS 3780:2008 The storage and handling of corrosive substances

AS/NZS 3833:2007 The storage and handling of mixed classes of dangerous goods, in packages and intermediate bulk containers

AS 4332:2004 The storage and handling of gases in cylinders

To purchase copy of these or any other standard, contact Standards Australia on 1300 654 646 or visit www.standards.org.au

Sitecraft supplies a range of products and equipment to assist in the safe storage and handling of dangerous goods. This includes flammable storage cabinets, safety cabinets,spill containment systems, spill kits, drum and IBC bunding.

 

 

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