On Saturday 4th June, as we celebrated our Queen’s jubilee, on the other side of the world people were fighting for their lives as a large fire and then a huge explosion engulfed a container depot in the port of Chittagong in Bangladesh. Hundreds of firefighters and volunteers arrived to tackle the blaze when a number of shipping containers exploded killing 49 people and injuring many more and several are still missing including a journalist who was reporting on the fire.
The BBC in reporting the disaster stated that “Safety regulations are often ignored or poorly enforced”, which only goes to underline the fact that the procedures, rules and laws are in place for a reason anyone involved in the manufacture, packing, loading, transport, shipment, and delivery of any hazardous cargo should ensure all the rules are understood and followed to the letter.
The rules are clear. If you are involved in the manufacture, load, transport, shipping or delivery of goods that are classed as Hazardous you must:
- Employ or have an appointed Dangerous Goods Safety Adviser.
- Declare the nature of the hazard to all involved in the transportation process.
- Provide fully and correctly completed dangerous goods paperwork.
- Label the packages and transport vehicle with the appropriate Dangerous Goods label.
The penalties for mis-declaring dangerous goods can be expensive. MSC recently announced fines of up to USD 15,000, but ultimately the end result can be more serious with potential prosecution, prison or even a guilty conscious for life in someone ends up paying the ultimate price. (Image source: bbc.co.uk)