Hauling chemicals across Alaska is dangerous, and improper safety protocols can have devastating consequences. The care and expertise required in chemical logistics are at a significantly higher level than the transportation of other goods. An endless list of regulations is in place to mitigate the safety hazards and deal with the unique challenges of this industry.
As a truck operator of a chemical logistics company, you will need the perfect balance of safety training and chemical knowledge to protect yourself and the public from dangerous chemical accidents. Although your safety and health are the responsibilities of your employer, your alertness to potential hazards will play a significant role in your ability to stay out of the hospital.
Special care is necessary when you transport hazardous chemicals. Intricate considerations are crucial at every level, depending on each type of chemical. The following known risk factors exist:
- Road-related dangers: Although damaged roads pose risks to all vehicular traffic, chemical logistics companies must be especially mindful. Striking a nasty pothole can cause fishtailing for any large commercial vehicle; the risk of catastrophe is significantly higher when the load is chemical.
- Security threats: All logistics face security risks, but chemicals are controlled substances with strict regulations and tight transportation restrictions. These regulations became even stricter after 09/11, to prevent the wrong people from taking chemicals used in weapon-making.
- Faulty vehicle equipment: Breakdowns or accidents caused by faulty equipment is unacceptable when hauling hazardous chemicals over long distances. Engine problems or leaking tanks can have severe consequences.
- Improper labeling: Accurate labeling of chemicals is crucial to ensure the contents of each container agrees with the compound indicated on the label. Catastrophic incidents can follow if recipients do not receive what they expect.
- Improper storage of corrosive chemicals: Chemical reactions are obvious hazards, and storage risks are significant. One must store corrosive chemicals in specific containers, and the risk increases the longer the trip.
- Movement risks: Viscosity and density are important issues when it comes to the containers that hold them. The jostling of denser liquids during a sudden stop can cause you to lose control of the vehicle, and storing those chemicals in smaller containers can prevent disastrous accidents.
- Fatigued drivers: Driver shortages cause increased risks of accidents involving hazardous or toxic chemicals that can be not only life-threatening for you but also the general public.
If your employer pushes you to do one more trip instead of resting when you are already dealing with fatigue, remember, it is your life on the line. You may refuse such an order and rest before you proceed on the next trip.
How will you cope with crash injuries?
Even if you and your employer meet all the safety standards, an accident can happen in the blink of an eye. Hauling a load of hazardous chemicals increases the risk of catastrophic injuries, and obtaining maximum compensation could be challenging. The sensible thing to do might be to consult with an attorney who has experience in helping Alaska workers to navigate their workers' compensation benefits claims in pursuit of maximum compensation allowed under applicable laws.