Commercial drivers in Georgia travel nationwide to ensure the availability of merchandise and other products wherever necessary. While multiple occupational hazards threaten the safety of all big-rig operators, you might be particularly vulnerable if you haul hazardous chemicals. Chemical logistics pose unique challenges, and compliance with strict safety regulations can ensure safe transport.
Improper shipping threatens not only your safety but also that of other road users and the environment. If you are aware of the unique dangers and potential risks you will encounter, you can be proactive and take the necessary precautions.
Proper storage during transport is crucial
Chemicals react in different ways to a variety of factors, and along with their reactions to other chemicals, proper storage during a long haul is vital. The following issues exist, but each chemical substance is unique:
- Suitability of the container: Improper containers can allow chemical reactions that cause corrosion during the trip.
- Viscosity and density: The movement of a dense liquid in a tanker can compromise the control you have while driving. The jostling of such a liquid during a sudden stop might cause you to lose control altogether.
- Compartmental storage: Fluids with high viscosity and density must be in smaller compartments to avoid mass movement.
Other significant challenges
Many of the risks you will face are similar to those that other truckers experience; only exacerbated multiple times by the nature of your cargo. You might be wise to pay particular attention to the following:
- Dangerous road conditions: While potholes and other surface damage pose risks to all vehicles, conditions that cause mere fishtailing to another transport truck might cause a catastrophe if struck by a rig hauling hazardous chemicals.
- Labeling errors: Considering the volatility of some substances, especially concerning their reactions with others, proper labeling is crucial -- not only to avoid such reactions or delivering the wrong chemical to clients on the route, but also with regard to the storage requirements mentioned above.
- Equipment malfunctions: All the equipment on the vehicle you use for hauling hazardous chemicals must be in perfect working order, including the rig's engine.
- Driver malfunctions: As the driver of the truck, you are responsible for bringing it to the final destination safely. For that reason, you and your employer must work together to devise a delivery schedule that will avoid driver fatigue, which is the cause of most big rig crashes.
- Security: One of the most significant hazards during transportation of chemicals is the risk of highjacking or other means that might put the chemicals in the wrong hands. All chemicals are controlled substances and subject to tight restrictions by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to avoid their use as weapons.
Despite your most carefully planned precautions, accidents happen and you might suffer work-related injuries. Fortunately, the Georgia workers' compensation insurance system will provide financial assistance to cover your medical expenses and lost wages.
You are free to seek the support and guidance of an experienced workers' compensation attorney to help you navigate the claims process in pursuit of maximum applicable benefits.