Beware Hazmat Spills

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Every day trucks pass us on the road and we are unaware of what they are carrying. But when one overturns, we get a peek into what is being carried around right under our noses. Sometimes, it’s just a common item that we’re not accustomed to seeing spilled on the road.

A recent truck accident in Melbourne has highlighted the issue of toxic and non-toxic spills. 800 liters of iron oxide dye spilled when the truck crashed. Although non-toxic the spill may have implications for wildlife and plant life in the region. Had the material being carried have been toxic, it would have been a much more serious situation.

Here is a post from that has more information:

Source :

  • A truck accident north of Melbourne earlier this week has spilt 800 liters of “non toxic” iron oxide dye into the Campbell field Creek basin.
  •  The Environmental Protection Authority said it had the potential to impact local plants and wildlife.
  •  According to Melbourne Water, around 17 million liters of water had been contaminated, and most of it was still inside the wetland.
  •  Melbourne Water was working around the clock on the spill but could not say how long the clean-up would take.
  •  Officials said while barriers had been set up to contain the red dye, contaminated water had started to flow into Merri Creek and crews.

Truck spills can be extremely costly and hazardous to the environment and possibly to people if the material is toxic. In order to avoid spills occurring in the first place, drivers should be in compliance with all regulations and be well rested because fatigue is one of the biggest issues of truck safety.

Of course prevention is always better than cure, so lessening the likelihood of a spill is the best defense.

  • Inspect containers regularly for leaks, corrosion or any worn seals.
  • Handle containers with care, removing only as much of their contents as you need at a time.
  • Close containers after using them.
  • Find out how to dispose of chemicals you no longer need correctly.

Unfortunately accidents do occur and not all of them are preventable so if a spill is inevitable, follow these steps:

  • Be familiar with your company’s emergency response plan, evacuation routes for your area and your assigned role in a spill situation.
  • Make sure you have the number of the emergency coordinator to whom you must report a spill.
  • Check labels and MSDS’ of chemicals you use. You should know the potential hazards-fire, explosion, re-activity  toxicity-that might be present in a spill.

If a spill occurs, try to avoid touching it, walking in it,or breathing it, whether it has an odor or not. Report a spill or leak immediately. Be prepared to inform emergency response personnel what it is that leaked or spilled.

For all but the smallest spills, the spill response team will step in with procedures and equipment for containing the spill and protecting workers and the environment from exposure to the substance. Team members must wear protective clothing and perhaps respirators. If the spill is flammable, avoid using tools that spark. Corrosion-resistant tools must be used with corrosive substances.

Following clean-up of a spill, clothing and equipment involved in the clean-up must be decontaminated. Drivers of hazmat trucks should be extra cautious because any crashes may have implications for the wider environment and not just themselves.

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