Safety measures to be followed while transferring Chemical tanks from one place to another

Huge tanker trucks are used to transfer chemical tanks and there of many types of commercial trucks which serve this purpose. There are many dangers associated with such tanker trucks like long distance stoppages, the driver being behind the wheel for long duration and hauling dangerous and hazardous material from one place to another. Special care should be taken to drive and manage such trucks.

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Can tanker trucks be dangerous?

Such trucks are quite dangerous to the drivers, pedestrians as well as to those who are driving other vehicles. They have been responsible for causing hundreds and thousands of accidents with many being fatal costing lives of people. Usually they have been dangerous to those driving other vehicles. In the year 2010, as much as 3,675 people were killed in road accidents caused by tanker trucks with about 76% dead were in other vehicles. They add to the danger as quite often these trucks are carrying hazardous chemicals.

Safety measures to be followed

Most of the tank trucks carrying petroleum products and crude oil are made of carbon steel, plasticized fiberglass material or aluminium and their size may vary from 1900-l wagons to 53,200-I tankers. The capacity of these vehicles is regulated stringently by regulatory agencies according to the movement of these trucks on highway or bridge capacity. The allowed weight per axle or total amount of product is calculated based on the size of the tankers.

Regulations for transporting chemicals

To make these tankers safer, they are also categorized into pressurized and non-pressurized tank trucks. They can be either insulated or non-insulated based on the service they provide and the chemicals or other products they transport. Most of the pressurized trucks have single compartment whereas the non-pressurized ones have single or more compartments. Irrespective of the number of compartments, each one of them is treated individually as well as differently and their loading, uploading and chemical safety measures are evaluated individually.

Based on the chemicals they transport the compartments should be either single or double walled. According to regulatory agencies, flammable, combustible liquids or incompatible products are placed in different compartments of the same vehicle with double walls. The space between the walls should also be evaluated and taken into consideration while loading chemicals.

Every year US Trucking association do give awards to the trucking companies who maintain the chemical loading guidelines and standard operating procedures when driving these chemical trucks on road. Last Year award winning company was Houston based Heavy Haul Company Logistics Group International. They proved well in the industry when maintaining these standard and helped to improve the overall safety standards of the company as well. Check out their Linkedin page for more details.

 Loading

While loading and unloading chemical products, petroleum products and acids required by oil and gas industry, the workers should follow stringent safety rules. They should have an understanding of the product being loaded, their hazard to self as well as others, the repercussions if exposed and the operating procedure to be followed. Quite often, loading and unloading of such products need to be done only after inspection and approval from government agencies and companies.

Once approval is provided, they can be loaded either through open hatches on the top or through different valves and fittings at the top and bottom of each compartment of the tankers. In case of any problem while loading, like the loading systems not getting activated like operation of the vapor recovery system being faulty, then again approvals are needed for by-passing and all hatches should be fastened and securely latched to avoid any kind of leakage.

Measures to be taken if an oil spill occurs

In case of an oil spill, immediate action needs to be taken as it can have both immediate as well as long-term biological impact. While the process of cleaning up of the oil spill can be a prolonged process, there are a lot of actions which need to be considered immediately in order to minimize the risk to people working on the clean-up as well as those in the vicinity. Also, fill the safety sheet at the end of the job to make sure the actual cause of the oil spills. Sometimes its happens due to Chemical truck spills too so root cause is very important.

Techniques to be followed for Oil Spill Response

There are a lot of advanced response techniques and mechanisms available to control oil spills and also to reduce their impact on human health and the environment as a whole. This can be effectively done by using proper equipment and materials based on the kind of oil spilled and also the site of the spill. Most of these equipment are dependent on various factors like wind, sea or water currents. Using proper containment and recovery equipment can reduce the extent of damage and danger to the affected areas.

Oil Spills

Usage of Mechanical containment or recovery equipment

This kind of equipment is the primary requirement for any oil spill in the United States. They comprise of different types of booms, barriers, and skimmers along with both natural and synthetic sorbent materials. With the help of mechanical containment, the spilled oil can be stored till they are disposed or discarded safely.

Apart from using mechanical methods, chemical and biological methods are also used to clean up oil spills. This is done through dispersing agents and gelling agents so that the oil does not get mixed with water. To protect birds and animals, scare tactics are used and devices like floating dummies, propane scare-cans and helium balloons are used to keep birds away from the oil spill area.

Using physical methods to clean up

There are many physical methods which can be deployed to clean up the oil spill like oxidation, evaporation, biodegradation. However, they are too slow to provide the required impact and do not offer the desired environmental recovery. Other physical techniques like wiping with sorbent materials, pressure washing, and raking and bulldozing can also be helpful. It is seen that none of the oil spills are similar to each other and they vary in terms of the oil types, weather conditions and of course the location of the spill.

Isolate source of oil spill

When an oil spill occurs, the immediate source of the spill should be identified and further spill or leakage should be blocked at the earliest. This can be done by plugging the source of the spill, closing the valves or diverting the oil to another or alternative containment. Safety should be the most important aspect when a spill occurs and all measures should be taken to avoid any further damage. Fire department and police should be deployed immediately and presence of any kind of flammable mixture in the atmosphere should be evaluated using explosimeter. People near the spill should be sensitized and if needed evacuated to avoid any kind of health hazards.