Certain types of cargo require a lot more care than others – case in point, dangerous goods.
For businesses in the manufacturing, transport and logistics sectors, it’s important that your depots and warehouses have appropriate plans in place for safely handling and transporting dangerous goods such as:
- Flammables (petrol, kerosene, LP gas)
- Corrosives (acids)
- Asbestos (which is also a hazardous good)
Protecting your staff and premises from dangerous goods is crucial. It starts with common-sense features such as transport signs, warning labels and the like, and needs to also include careful consideration of the relevant standards and relevant statutes.
Make no mistake, a lot of work goes into preparing your business for handling and transporting dangerous goods.
If you have your first shipment coming in soon, you’ll want to read through this essential list of considerations first!
Storing and handling dangerous goods: your essential checklist
Induction, training and supervision
As we’re sure you know, there’s a “right” way and a “wrong” way to handle dangerous goods. As part of your OHS obligations, you need to ensure that everyone involved in the handling of dangerous goods is trained on how to do so safely.
In particular, you need to include information about:
- The nature of the substance
- Safe handling procedures for dangerous goods
- Training on emergency equipment and response
- Oversight and reporting
- Proper use of PPE
Whenever reasonably practical, visitors should also be informed about these dangers, and provided with PPE. Ensure proper procedure is followed by visitors with mandatory signs from Signsmart.
How much are you allowed to store?
If you’re about to take in your first shipment of dangerous goods every, we recommend contacting WorkSafe first.
WorkSafe mandates that businesses are only allowed to store certain quantities of dangerous goods without notification. If your incoming shipment exceeds this amount, you are legally obliged to contact WorkSafe and inform them.
In addition to your first shipment, you’ll also have to perform regular stock takes of your inventory of dangerous goods and inform WorkSafe of the quantities if this isn’t a one-off purchase.
Do you have a license to transport dangerous goods?
This one goes out to all the transport and logistics companies out there!
If part of your business operations includes transporting dangerous goods, each of your drivers will need a special license to transport quantities above certain limits – 500 litres in the case of liquids such as petrol, and 500kg for other dangerous goods.
Transport of dangerous goods licences certify that your drivers know how to:
- Identify and label explosives and dangerous goods
- Prepare for transport of dangerous goods
- Carry out basic workplace calculations
- Prepare and process transport documentation for dangerous goods
The role of workplace safety signs
When it comes to handling and storing dangerous goods, safety signs are the first line of defence, serving to identify storage areas for dangerous goods, inform visitors of the potential hazards, and mandate PPE and safety procedures.
Needless to say, businesses that deal with dangerous goods need dangerous goods signs as part of the safety equation.
Danger and quarantine signs
Danger signs can be used to identify many sorts of dagners: high voltage equipment, tripping hazards, forklift operation areas… and of course, storage areas for dangerous goods.
Signsmart stocks a wide range of pre-made danger signs for dangerous goods such as flammable materials, corrosive liquids and acids. We also sell quarantine signs that mark areas used to store dangerous goods, and which can be applied to a wide range of goods.
This allows us to dispatch and ship danger signs with minimal downtime.
If you want danger signs that identify specific substances, we can do that too – call our team about getting custom danger signs printed for your business.
Dangerous goods signs and class diamond labels
If you have dangerous goods on-site, naturally you’ll need dangerous goods signs and labels to identify them.
Coming in rolls of 500, Signsmart’s class diamond labels come in a range of sizes, allowing you to apply them all over your facility. Using internationally-recognised symbols, these labels identify the type of hazard presented by specific dangerous goods.
Site safety panels
Quickly identify the types of dangerous goods on-site, as well as potential hazards and mandatory PPE with Signsmart’s site safety panels.
With site safety panels, you decide what goes on them. Tell us what types of dangerous goods you stock at your business – we’ll do the rest for you, creating comprehensive signs that visually communicate the hazards present at your site.
When you work with dangerous goods, you need to prepare for the worst. That means devising an emergency procedure and training each of your staff in what to do should the worst happens.
Say you work with acid, and there’s been a spill. Unfortunately, some of it has gotten onto one of your employees.
According to the manufacturer, the appropriate response is to immediately wash as much of the acid off as possible. Emergency signs like this emergency shower sign can help those who aren’t as familiar with your facility find their way to the emergency shower.
Other things you’ll need to think about
Check the law first!
It’s important to remember that while the laws are extremely similar across all of Australia’s states and territories, they aren’t 100% matches. There are a handful of areas where they may differ.
Since Signsmart is based in Melbourne, we’ll be operating based off Victorian laws and codes of practice – if you’re based outside of Victoria, you may have to work with slightly different requirements.
If you’re confused, don’t worry. We ship workplace safety signs all around the country, and have worked with businesses interstate to devise safe handling and storage procedures that adhere to the laws in their state or territory.
If you’re confused about legal requirements in your state or territory (and what signs need to go with them), we can help!
Determine whether your products are dangerous
We’ve talked before about the distinction between dangerous and hazardous goods (if you missed it, click here to get caught up).
Why does this distinction matter? Simple: both types of goods are covered by different laws, which mandate different precautions. In some cases, certain substances fall into both categories.
This influences the policies and systems you’ll need to implement, as well as the types of dangerous goods signs and labels you’ll need to order!
Prepare safety information
As a manufacturer, you need to determine whether the goods are dangerous. Once you do, you’re legally obligated to assign an either an ADG (Australia only) or GHS (global) code, depending on whether you’re shipping domestic or international.
Additionally, you’re also required to prepare a safety data sheet for everyone who may have to handle your substances further down the line (with the exception of C1 combustible liquids, as defined by AS1940-2017).
This safety sheet includes (but isn’t limited to):
- Information about the substance
- First-aid procedures
- Firefighting measures (if applicable)
- Disposal requirements
To ensure all your bases are covered, much of this information can also be printed on emergency information panels (EIPs) on your site – you can never be too safe!
Obtain safety data sheets
We mentioned above that manufacturers are obliged to create safety data sheets outlining essential information about dangerous goods.
And as a customer, you have a duty to obtain one of these sheets!
Using this information, determine whether the substances you store or transport are dangerous, and can craft your emergency response plan, thereby keeping your staff safe.
While some common substances have publicly-available sheets, we recommend going straight to the manufacturer anyway to accommodate for any rarer substances or unique formulations.
Need smarter signage?
Staying safe when handling and transporting dangerous goods starts with good signage.
Do you need…
- Safety signage for your facility?
- Fast printing and delivery, with minimal delay?
- Custom signs tailored for your business and the dangerous goods you handle?
If so, you need Signsmart.
Transport signs, quarantine signs, general workplace safety signs… we do it all.
What’s more, we also custom-make signs, tailored to your unique requirements. Simply tell us what you need, and we’ll get to work on your custom signs.
We can produce signs from a standard template, allowing us to accommodate for rarer substances and cargo.
If need be, we can even come up with a clean-sheet design, completely unique to your business and its needs!
Alternatively, click here shop safety signs.