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Truck and Track

March/April 2018








Dangerous Goods, for the professional

operator - 99% of the time everything is

‘fine and dandy’

but when it goes wrong,

it can have very serious consequences

unless the operator is prepared, has

planned ahead and has well trained staff.

Inmy > 30-year career in themanufacture

and logistics of Dangerous Goods, I have

seen many things, including some very

troubling incidents, so my mantra has

evolved into

“Pray for the Best, but Plan for

the Worst”.

The late Jim Scanlan and I,

in concert

with our shareholders, and help from our colleagues at Harwell’s

National Chemical Emergency Centre, our staff and our Network

of Depots - set up Hazchem Network in 2004 to augment the UK’s

logistics infrastructure for the carriage of Packaged Dangerous

Goods under ADR [for road] and IMDG [for sea].

I still get perturbed by


hauliers and consignors who either

plead ignorance when consigning freight and not declaring

goods under ADR legislation or, in some rare cases, knowingly

flout the law by what we term


dangerous goods

[masking the ADR Diamonds and Hazard information with opaque

wrapping]. Neither of these activities can be morally defended,

as this article will indicate – for when a serious incident involving

dangerous goods occurs, only the professionals will do - leaving it

to the amateur may exacerbate the situation, making a drama into

a full blown crisis.

It took HazchemNetwork over two years to find a suitable location

in the Midlands to set-up a Transhipment Hub dedicated to

hazardous goods. We needed an industrial location near a main

motorway intersection that could manage a 24 hour operation

that had high activity at night. It had to be away from centres

of population/housing, have a hub floor sealed and drainage

protected against spillage and contamination of the waterways,

access to fearless and intelligent staff who could be trained in the

management of hazardous goods, as well as a myriad other factors

such as risk assessments, safe systems of work [SSoW], regulatory

issues, legal, property, insurance, documentation and training as

well as software and PPE. In addition to setting up the hub up for

emergency situations – one of which included consideration about

ventilation; and the deployment of high deluge fans capable of

creating convection currents within the hub to clear problematical

vapour fast.

So let me detail the circumstances of this serious incident at


I had a day’s leave on Wednesday 2nd August to take my elderly

father to hospital as he had suffered heart failure. I didn’t get back

to my mid-week home [which is 30 minutes from Hazchem’s hub

in Rugby] until 2300 hrs, and went straight to bed, exhausted. At

3.00am, I awoke with a start. I rubbed my eyes, and looked at the

clock wondering what had woken me. I heard nothing so I checked

my cell-phone, and noticed that I had a missed call a minute

previously, and it had been from Operations Supervisor, Graham

Smith at Hazchem Rugby. I quickly dialled him realising that his

call had been what had awoken me. As the phone rang, I grew

progressively more anxious as there is rarely any good news at


Graham advised me that they had just evacuated the hub, as upon

loading out a Trunk Vehicle, a Hub Operator had ruptured a 1,000

litre Intermediate Bulk Container [IBC] of Formaldehyde solution

onto the hub floor. He had the Data Sheet from our NCEC licensed

ChemData, and had evacuated the hub. I asked him if he managed

When the phone rings at 3.00am


Ali Karim

In this issue, our Dangerous Goods Columnist, Ali Karim FRSC FCILT, Managing Director of Hazchem

Network Ltd, provides our readers with an insight into a serious incident at HazchemNetwork’s Hub

in Rugby that occurred in the early hours of August 3rd 2017. As a case study, this article is useful for

our fellow logistics colleagues in examining a real-life serious incident to indicate what can go wrong

when involved in the carriage of dangerous goods under ADR regulations.

Ali Karim



01543 420 121

www. deker

Continued overleaf . . .