Hazardous materials are all around us and are used in our daily and professional lives. According to the Australian Dangerous Goods Code there are 9 classifications of dangerous goods, each of them has different chemical and physical characteristics as well as different risks they might bring.
These 9 classifications in General are:
Class 1: Explosives
Class 2: Gases
Class 3: Flammable Liquids
Class 4: Flammable Solids
Class 5: Oxidising substances and organic peroxides
Class 6: Toxic and Infectious substances
Class 7: Radioactive Materials
Class 8: Corrosive Substances
Class 9: Miscellaneous Dangerous Substances.
With this article, we would like to go deeper and discuss Class 2 Dangerous goods and how to safely store them.
Class 2 Dangerous Goods Primer
As defined by Section 18.104.22.168 of the Australian Dangerous Goods Code. “A gas is a substance which:
At 50C has a vapour pressure greater than 300kPa; or is completely gaseous at 20C at a standard pressure of 101.3 kPa”
There are three subclasses in Class 2.
Class 2.1: Flammable Gases: Generally used for torches, welders, cooking, heating, and powering of vehicles like (forklifts and other forms of vehicles). Flammable gases can also be referred to as fuel gases, they can very easily ignite or explode if mixed with air and a spark. Examples of these kinds of gases are Liquid Propane Gas (LPG), acetylene, Hydrogen, Propylene, Methane, Propane, Natural Gas.
Class 2.2: Non-Flammable, Oxidising Gases: These gases by themselves are not flammable. What they can do is assist the combustion process. Remember that fire needs three things to happen, Fuel, Air, and a spark. Oxidizing gases give a fire more air so it can burn more fuel helping the fire get bigger and hotter. IF exposed to oxidising gases, combustible materials (fuels) can ignite easier, burn much hotter and be harder to put out.
Class 2.3: Toxic Gases: These chemicals can be classified as both toxic and corrosive. These gases can pose a very significant risk to the health and safety of people and the environment.
With Toxic gases any exposure IS harmful and depending on the toxicity of the chemical, the length of exposure, and the degree of exposure as well can lead to minor injuries like irritated skin, temporary blindness, all the way to chronic issues like asthma and cancer.
If ingested and the chemical enters your bloodstream then it can quickly ravage your internal organs and can be fatal.
The contents of these are just half of the potential danger they can pose. Remember these goods are stored in pressurized vessels. Even if the contents inside are non-toxic a risk comes from the vessels being pressurized. This extreme pressure if suddenly released either through a catastrophic failure of the valve block, a breach in the cylinder itself, or from the uncontrolled increase in pressure from within, can turn a simple cylinder into either a projectile or a bomb. Either of those can cause damage to people and property at worst it can also result in death.
In Australia, the storage and handling of Gas Cylinders are regulated to minimize the risks they can subject people and property in the workplace.
Because of the severe effects on human health, and the potentially devastating damage it could do to the environment not to mention the impact it can do on your wallet with the financial liability coming to your business, it is of the utmost importance that you and the people around you know how to properly handle and store any Gas Cylinders you might be used to minimize the risk they can bring. The Australian standard (AS 4332-2004) outlines the standard on handling Gas Cylinders, as for safety storage here are some of the requirements that need to be complied with.
- The storage unit must be constructed from Non-combustible materials. Our cabinets are made from heavy-duty zinc anneal steel
- The base of the gas cylinder storage must be level. The floor must be sloped if drainage is required for the storage but it must be sloped in a way that doesn’t compromise the stability of the cylinders inside.
- Any and all of the spaces in between the base of the gas cylinder storage and the ground must be filled with a solid non-combustible material.
- If the spaces in between the base of the gas cylinders and the ground cannot be closed off then it should have at least 2 ends completely open to the air.
- If you have any gas cylinder storage that is located within a building it must be separated from the rest of the interior of the building by one or preferably, more walls. Each of the walls must have a fire-resistance level (FRL) of 240/240/240 to prevent any potential fire from spreading out.
- The floor above the location of any gas cylinder storage in a multistory building must be made of a fire-resistant material with a level (FRL) of 180/180/180.
- The walls and roof of gas cylinder stores must be constructed of a non-combustible material. Where practical the superstructure of the storage cabinet must also be of non-combustible material.
- If you have installed your storage cabinet in an area where it is exposed to vehicles and there is even a minimal risk of being damaged by a vehicle, then bollards and crash barriers must be installed to protect the storage cabinet.
- There should be no sources of Ignition inside gas cylinder storage, especially ones that contain flammable materials.
- Outward opening doors are required for gas cylinder storage cabinets. If the cabinet has a roller door then it should be ventilated and capable of being opened from the inside of the storage.
- If there is electrical equipment installed inside a gas cylinder storage cabinet then it must be compliant with AS/NZS 3000. Electrical fittings are required to be installed in a way that prevents them from being damaged or if possible from being reached by gas cylinders.
- To prevent Gas Cylinders and bottles from falling over restraint bars and restraint chains should be installed.
- Gas cylinder storage can possibly be located either indoors or outdoors. However, the storage of compressed gases indoors must be seriously avoided just to avoid any untoward incident from happening.
For businesses that handle any Class 2 Dangerous Goods, knowing what it is and how to handle them properly is a matter of utmost importance. It can be considered as the first line of defense in case of any accidents. To learn more regarding the different kinds of Storage options we have suitable for Class 2 Dangerous good. Check out our website.