Hazardous Materials: A Concern for both Public and Private Sector
All organizations involved in emergency response have an end goal and that is the protection of life and property. This is the same for a Government Department, Municipal Fire or a Private organization. These organizations will be very similar in some respects and different in others.
"HazMat teams" are personnel specially trained to handle dangerous goods. Dangerous goods include materials that are radioactive, flammable, explosive, corrosive, oxidizing, asphyxiating, biohazards, toxic, pathogenic, or allergenic. Also included are physical conditions such as compressed gases and liquids or hot materials, including all goods containing such materials or chemicals, or may have other characteristics that render them hazardous in specific circumstances.
Emergency responders to a hazardous materials incident face the same problems, be they a Government Department, Municipal Fire or a Private organization. Here are some of the challenges faced:
The members of a HazMat response teams will be aware of their individual roles and responsibilities and trained in all aspects of response. To complement this preparedness it is essential to ensure that the equipment held is relevant and that this equipment has the capacity to provide a sufficient response. The difficulty is ensuring that this specialist equipment is maintained in a state of readiness.
A hazmat responder who receives the necessary training qualifications is better able to perform their role. They become more aware of safety practices and proper procedures for basic tasks. The training may also build the responders confidence because they have a stronger understanding of the industry and the responsibilities of their job.
Airborne contaminants can present a significant threat in a HazMat response. Thus, identification and quantification of these contaminants through air monitoring is an essential component of a health and safety program at a hazardous waste site
One of the major difficulties when it comes to incident reporting on Hazourdous material is the obligations to complete forms with details as specific as UN Number , Spill Amounts , Weather and Injury Types. These details can often be difficult to capture in great detail after an incident has occurred.
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