There is increasing global awareness of toxic gas residuals found in shipping containers.
WorkSafe Victoria in Australia has recently released an advisory to employers and employees alerting them to this little known hazard. The advisory was necessary due to the large amount of container unpackers who are unknowingly entering containers that contain unsafe levels of toxic gas.
The most common gases found include methyl bromide (MB) and other toxic industrial chemicals. MB is a toxic fumigant injected into the container to kill invasive pests and diseases. Most importers use a "clearance certificate" as a means of determining if any gas is present.
Experience shows this is almost meaningless as MB continues to desorb from the cargo even after the container has been vented after fumigation. Containers should be checked and vented just prior to unpacking.
Depending on the cargo, non fumigant gases such as formaldehyde can often also be present Formaldehyde is a recognised carcinogen. The guidelines are comprehensive in describing the problem, the risks and the solution. No employer who carries out container unpacking on their premises can afford not to read these guidelines.
A copy of the WorkSafe guidelines can be down loaded from the Nordiko website or from www.worksafe.vic.gov.au
Nordiko Quarantine Systems provide solutions for ventilating containers to ensure there are no unsafe gases remaining inside the container for more information please call or use the IndustrySearch email for a direct reply.