Truckers who handle chemicals and other hazardous materials need to have the appropriate skills and training. Also, when handling dangerous materials, it’s important to use common sense and keep the potential risks and dangers in mind at all times. When transporting chemicals, it is the truck driver’s job to protect themselves, the environment and other people who are present along their route. Here are seven safety tips that all truckers should know.
1. Follow safety regulations
Keeping people safe takes more than just memorizing safety guidelines, but it is a good start. Policies, regulations and rules of handling dangerous chemicals are put in place to keep everyone safe. Everyone who is involved in the chemical transport process should familiarize themselves with these rules.
2. Use safety systems
Written procedures have been developed by agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). These procedures might seem tedious at times, but they are thorough because the potential risks are disastrous if people are lazy or careless in handling them. Understand the labels and pictograms that are developed by the Global Harmonization System to know the proper handling of chemicals.
3. Numbers to memorize
Know the simple numbering system for the types of hazardous materials. Class 1 materials are explosives, class 2 are gases and so on. If there are any spills or accidents that could present a danger, know the 24-hour hotline telephone number to report the situation.
4. Take the job seriously
Chemicals are never more vulnerable to hazards than when they are being transported, so this is the time to exercise the highest level of vigilance. The trucker is usually the only person present who is aware of what’s happening with the chemical load. Driving a vehicle presents many distractions, especially in an urban environment. Making fewer stops and using the proper locking procedures for cargo reduces risks.
5. Don’t be reluctant to learn more
There are many different types of chemical cargo, so it’s unlikely that a trucker will know every detail about handling every load of cargo. In situations where a driver is handling an unfamiliar substance, it’s vital that the driver find out the correct procedures for handling the cargo. Speak with a person who is experienced with handling the chemical to learn how to handle it safely.
6. Safe driving
Many people today are distracted with entertainment systems and cell phones while they drive, so the risk of accidents is a real threat. Drivers must proactively anticipate the human errors that could occur in various road situations and use defensive driving strategies to minimize the margin of error. Use the correct driving procedures in bad weather to avoid losing control of the vehicle.
7. Know spill procedures
Prevention is the most important aspect of chemical transport, but accidents happen even when the proper precautions are taken. Don’t take unnecessary risks with chemical spills if you are unsure how to handle them. Seek assistance from the proper agencies in such situations.
Accidents involving chemicals can have severe consequences. Drivers need to remain aware of all risks to avoid potential dangers. The first step is to know all the procedures and regulations to minimize risks as much as possible. Drivers must use common sense and acknowledge the dangers of transporting hazardous cargo.