More chemical and hazardous incidents a cause for concern

global_chemical-process-safety-hazard-symbols-v3087387In the wake of the disastrous Hazelwood Mine fire that burned for forty five days and blanketed the nearby town of Morewell in thick smoke and ash, it’s timey to consider both the health implications experienced by Morewell residents and the ways in which this incident could have been prevented or its effects better controlled.

A recent inquiry into the official action taken during the event highlighted that a voluntary relocation advice for residents of Morewell was issued nearly a month after the fire began.  It was suggested that had there been adequate crisis communication and a suitable crisis strategy plan put into action, the residents of Morewell would have been encouraged to relocate earlier.

There have also been a number of recent chemical spills in Australia that again highlight the need for safety regulations to be closely monitored and enforced.  On the 11th March this year, a fuel delivery pipeline operated by an organisation failed and caused 23,000 litres of diesel fuel to poison the water and surrounding soil at the Cairns Marina area.

 Recently in Central Australia, another oil company caused a spill of 300 litres of the toxic and highly corrosive chemical, hydrogen sulfide.

There is no question that the economic impacts of the oil and mining industry are important to the Australian economy, yet it is equally important to understand and give careful consideration to WHS issues including the preparation of suitable crisis management plans.

Incidents do not only occur outside of densely populated locations as my blog about the chemical fire at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology highlights.  Nor do these chemical-based incidents find themselves strictly the concern of the big industries because safety with chemicals is an integral part of occupational health and safety training.

If you are unsure about what you need to know, what you need to do, how to handle or store chemicals and/or how to train your staff in the use of chemicals, please contact us, Safety Services Australia on +61 9634 5912 or send your query to for more information.