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Letters  

Dangerous goods transport

Re. Toxic substances disclosed (Castanet, Dec. 2)

Re. Penske rental truck bursts into flames on the Okanagan Connector, the morning of Nov. 17.

My first concern is why were these chemicals being transported without placarding on the vehicle. Looking at the photo of the truck in question from the article, I can only see the front of vehicle-and do not note any placards or any placard holders.

The transportation of dangerous goods (rules) state any vehicle carrying prescribed dangerous goods be it a singular compound or mixed load needs to be identified on all four sides. That includes boxes, drums or any container holding dangerous goods.

4.15 (1) The primary class placard for each of the dangerous goods contained in a large means of containment, other than a vessel or an aircraft, must be displayed on each side and on each end of the large means of containment.

My second concern is it required Castanet filing a Freedom of Information Act request to the Ministry of Environment, which then opted to release the information two weeks after the incident.

The transportation of dangerous goods manifest would have to be in the cab of the truck, which the driver is supposed to take with him in the event of an emergency to deliver to first responders arriving at the scene, so straight away they know what they are dealing with and can react to it as per the transportation of dangerous goods schedule.

How about the CVSE? Maybe its officers arrived on scene. They should for sure have been involved. Any emergency or spill would have to be communicated to CANUTEC. All responders on site knew precisely what they were up against.

CANUTEC acts as advisors if needed, as it employs chemists 24/7/365.

In an emergency involving dangerous goods, call CANUTEC at 1-888-CAN-UTEC (226-8832), 613-996-6666 or *666 on a cellular phone. Incidents can occur while dangerous goods are being transported, while they are handled or during temporary storage waiting for transport.

Dangerous goods are separated into nine classes, according to the type of hazard they represent:

• Class 1: Explosives

• Class 2: Gases

• Class 3: Flammable liquids

• Class 4: Flammable solids

• Class 5: Oxidizers

• Class 6: Poisons

• Class 7: Radioactive materials

• Class 8: Corrosives

• Class 9 Miscellaneous products, substances or organisms

All these substances are listed in the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations, and Schedule 1 of the act.

Aviation regulated liquid is Class 3 UN 1863 flammable liquid. Mercury acetate is Class 6.1 toxic UN 1629. lead acetate is Class 6.1 UN 1616 toxic, mercaptons are Class 3 UN 2347 flammable, ethanol is Class 3 UN 1170 flammable, organic peroxides are Class 5.2 UN 3105 oxidizers, formamide is Class 3 UN 4095 flammable and a reproductive toxin and carcinogen with a “time weighted average” (TWA) of 10 ppm. Calcium chloride is essentially a salt.

If the critical effect on a worker is chronic (long-term) or sub-chronic (medium-term), the substance is given a TWA value. This is an eight- hour time weighted average (a worker's average airborne exposure in any eight-hour work shift.

Faulty dissemination of information, disregard for human safety, or just “passing-the-buck” as in “that’s not my department of responsibility,” is unacceptable.

I would believe the Carrier was held responsible and sited for not identifying the consignment.

Thank you Castanet for digging this one out.

The above information comes directly from Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act. Any safety data sheets can be found by inputting the UN number or by chemical name.

Mark Pawlessa, West Kelowna



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