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Over the years I have posted several articles about hazardous materials being unloaded to the wrong tank.  And it seems that each time I do I get several e-mails stating how rare these events are and that I am being an alarmist.  So I thought I would post a section of a PHMSA Investigation Report from an incident where Sulfuric Acid was unloaded into a tank with Hydrochloric Acid.  The host facility knew what was in the tank; however, they did not inform the driver of the tank contents.  The acid tank was NOT labeled and things go downhill from there.  Count the number of failures from this listing of the events leading up to the gas release...

Propane cylinders must be periodically requalified to be safe for use. Do not use cylinders that have not been requalified because you risk property damage, severe injuries, or death.  To see if your cylinder is okay to use, look for these markings:

PHMSA is amending the Hazardous Materials Regulations to maintain alignment with international standards by incorporating various amendments, including changes to proper shipping names, hazard classes, packing groups, special provisions, packaging authorizations, air transport quantity limitations, and vessel stowage requirements. These revisions are necessary to harmonize the Hazardous Materials Regulations with recent changes made to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code, the International Civil Aviation Organization's Technical Instructions (ICAO TI) for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air, the United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (UN Model Regulations) and subsequently address three petitions for rulemaking.  CLICK HERE for details

News reports of disasters often quote witnesses who said they heard some sort of explosion connected to the event. While deaths, injuries and damage resulting from explosions are devastating in every way, there are distinctions in the model fire codes among explosion types.  In general, an explosion is the rapid and violent expansion of gases, which may include a shock wave, that can disrupt materials and enclosures in the vicinity. Explosions can result from chemical changes (such as rapid oxidation), physical changes (such as catastrophic failure of pressure vessels), or atomic changes (nuclear fission or fusion).  The model codes differentiate between two types of explosions based on the shock wave travel speed.

In just about every 24-hour HAZMAT course we teach we find that students getting their first official dose of "chemical safety" are shocked to find out that most gases at their facility are NOT white in color.  Most have seen dozens of videos over their adult lives showing these large white clouds forming during releases of hazardous materials and just figured that what they were seeing was a chemical cloud.  So if ammonia (and propane) is NOT a white gas, then why do we see a white fluffy cloud when ammonia/propane is released to the atmosphere?  Chlorine gas is not white; it is yellowish-green in color.  Why the difference?

 
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