Chemical names like Toluene, Xylene, and Butadiene may seem unfamiliar to the average person, but their uses have far-reaching impacts on our daily lives. From pesticides to paint solvents, car fuels and the production of materials like rubber and cement – these chemicals have many uses that we often overlook.
However, another commonality between these compounds is their dangerous nature, especially in large amounts. Highly flammable, these chemicals also cause a host of health problems if inhaled on the regular. This makes transporting and handling these hazardous chemicals, or Hazchem, particularly challenging.
Challenges of transporting Hazchem
The main challenge of transporting Hazchem is to prevent leaks and spillages, which can cause a slew of health and environmental problems. In an optimistic scenario, workers exposed to long-term inhalation will suffer from health issues over time. But in a worst-case scenario, flammable chemicals can expand, catch fire, and cause catastrophic explosions.
To identify the weakest link in the journey of such chemicals from chemical manufacturers to transporters, we can look at the transfer process of chemicals, typically from storage terminals to railcars, or vice versa. The risk is higher whenever a transfer is being made, as minor spills and leakages are not uncommon.
Cumulatively, the effect of these minor spills can become a significant loss to companies, along with damaging impacts on their workers.
Solutions for transporting Hazchem
- Update to an advanced coupling system
The fact is, there is already technology that will help reduce the risk of spills and leakages to virtually zero. Transporters who are still reporting leaks during transfers are most likely using outdated technology, like an open-looped system or traditional poppet-style coupling. Even with secure stainless steel pipe fittings, the limitations of the coupler technology cause residual liquid to be trapped in the crevice during disconnection.
Instead, newer systems use a closed-loop technology that is engineered to be virtually zero-spill. The most advanced dry disconnect couplings in Singapore also feature self-sealing designs, some of which can be controlled independently via multiple safety interlocks on the coupler and adaptor sides. So, these couplings cannot be opened unless there is deliberate human action, and is an effective method of transferring powders, liquids, or gases at high volume.
Besides the safety advantages, these advanced systems can also reduce human error, increase efficiency, and reduce financial losses from loss of product over time.
- Have an emergency clean-up contact ready
Accidents do happen, and it pays to be prepared if anything does happen. As a handler of Hazchem, you will need to be ready to call up a Hazchem waste disposal company in the event of any significant spills. These companies specialise in the removal of hazardous materials to minimise any effects on the environment and surrounding people.
Depending on the country you are in, ensure that the waste disposal company is regulated and well-equipped to deal with the type of chemicals you transport. You will also want to check that they can respond 24/7, as you never know when an emergency situation can strike.
The reality of the current world is that we cannot live without many of these hazardous chemicals. As such, the best we can do is to handle them as safely and responsibly as we can. It is the duty of chemical manufacturers and transport companies to keep up to date with their infrastructure and systems to guard the safety of their staff and the environment.
If your company is still running on outdated chemical transport systems, we highly recommend a thorough check and revamp to upgrade your system. Besides dry disconnect couplings, we also supply and install other parts and systems such as rubber vibration mounts, fabric expansion joints and even various hose materials for a variety of industrial uses. For a customised solution, contact us today!