Dangerous goods such as flammable liquids, organic peroxides, corrosive chemicals, toxic substances, oxidizing agents, etc. cannot be stored in ordinary containers for shipping or storage. A dangerous goods container is custom made to protect hazardous good during transit and storage. A range of regulations govern the storage and transport of dangerous goods and using HAZMAT certified dangerous goods containers form an essential provision of these regulations. A dangerous goods container is designed to properly contain the hazardous material stored in it and ensure full proof safety of the surroundings against contamination by the hazardous material.
Essential Features ofa Dangerous Goods Container
- Spill Containment: A dangerous goods container must have a spill containment sump. Spill containment sump is required to minimise the harmful effects on the environment caused by spill of the hazardous material stored in the container. The spill containment capacity of a dangerous goods container must be in accordance with the class of dangerous goods contained in it. Thus, a spill containment sump of the correct spill containment capacity is an important requirement for a dangerous goods container.
- Shielding Property: The dangerous goods container must be able to properly shield the surrounding environment and the people against the harmful effects of the hazardous material. The design of the dangerous goods container must be in accordance with the class of hazardous materials to be stored in it. A dangerous goods container for flammable liquids has a different design and specifications for shielding than a container for storing corrosive chemicals. Therefore, the right container must be selected for storing a specific hazardous material.
- Ventilation: Hazardous vapours are given off by oxidizing agents, flammable liquids, organic peroxides and other dangerous materials. Inhalation of these vapours lead to serious health problems. Dangerous good containers must have proper ventilation to prevent accumulation of hazardous vapours. Ventilation is important since inhalation is the most common cause of exposure to hazardous materials.
- Electrical Equipment: Electrical equipment must not be present in dangerous goods containers used to store combustible or flammable chemicals. This is because electrical equipment can cause ignition in the chemical leading to devastating fire. If electrical equipment is essential then it must be intrinsically safe. Intrinsically safe means that the electrical and thermal energy of the electrical equipment must be below the levels required to cause ignition of the hazardous material.
- Internal Opening Mechanism: The doors of a dangerous goods container must have a mechanism which enables them to be opened from inside. This is essential because such a mechanism ensures that a worker does not get trapped inside the container accidentally. Getting trapped inside a dangerous goods container often proves to be fatal.
- Painted Passage: A yellow painted passage must be present inside the container. This passage must run from one end of the container to other and must be about 800mm in width. The passage enables workers to get out of the container easily in emergency situations. The yellow colour of the passage makes it clearly visible to the workers.
- Signage: The dangerous good container must display the correct signage according to the class of dangerous goods contained in it. The signage enables workers to be aware of the type of dangerous goods present in the container and the hazards associated with it. It is imperative for every dangerous goods container to have the correct signage on it. Containers without signage are considered illegal.
Characteristics of Modern Dangerous Goods Containers
Many companies are involved in designing and constructing high quality dangerous goods containers. The main characteristics of such containers are as follows.
- Welded steel flooring and steel walls.
- Double opening doors.
- Industrial mesh floor
- Internal safety handle
- Range of sizes and capacities.