Containers from Asia and South America are typically fumigated to prevent cargo damage by insects. Stickers on the container and messages on the cargo list that the container has been fumigated are however often lacking. In addition evaporation of a product or chemical processes in the cargo are more frequently taking place. The result is that your employees open and/or unload containers leading to possible exposure to hazardous substances. In some cases this has led to serious health problems.
Arbo Unie participates in developing normative documents
Already since 2003 Arbo Unie is involved in the issues related to fumigated imported containers. Discussions with the Labor Inspectorate and transport sectors have led to the development of the ABC protocol by Arbo Unie. This protocol gives companies the opportunity to perform the risk assessment in an early stage and to deal with the issue in a practical way. Since then the issue has become increasingly complex, because not only are the containers fumigated, but in addition also substances are evaporating from the cargo.
Early 2010, the Platform on gases and vapors in Shipping Containers (PGIS) was set up. The Platform is an initiative of employers and employees and is funded by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment. The members of the Platform represent the relevant sector organizations within the field of fumigated containers.
The main objective of the Platform is a healthy and safe way of working with imported containers. One of the objectives are clear and unambiguous procedures for the unloading of containers. Also much more attention is required for the instruction of employees regarding work related risks. These procedures and work instructions must all lead to ensure that all employees working with imported containers are adequately protected and can continue their work in a safe and healthy manner. To this end, the various parties will need to work together.
In cooperation with the NEN the Platform proposed to develop a series of Dutch Technical Agreements (NTA's). The following topics are proposed to be captured in a NTA:
- Reception of containers;
- Own gas measurements, degassing and training of gas measurement experts;
- Gas measurement equipment;
- The safe life cycle chain;
Arbo Unie participates in several NEN working groups in order to share our expertise and practical experience related to fumigated containers.
For more information please contact: Andrea Hiddinga, +31 652 501 039 (Andrea.email@example.com) or Ank Nordemann, +31 652 500 321 (Ank.Nordemann@arbounie.nl).