ICI's approach to the carriage of
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hazardous loads continued from page 64
to the participants when simulated incidents are contrived, using model vehicles in a typical urban situation, Small teams of driver: instructors must attempt to do the most sensible thing in particular circumstances with the added challenge of some difficult "variables" injected into the hazard game by the instructor in charge.
In one instructional film an artic tanker has overturned and the driver is apparently unconscious. The instinct of observers is to rush to the aid of the driver but the film dialogue stresses the 'danger of a rescue attempt by anyone not properly equipped: self-contained breathing -apparatus or chemically resistant clothing may he vital. In the event, a properly equipped fireman climbs into the cab, kicks out the front screen glass and helps ambulancemen lift the unconscious driver through the windscreen frame.
The emergency rescue vehicles maintained by ICI at all its major plants provide the "sharp end" of a continuous training process. The trailer, with automatic coupling, kept in a constant state of readiness at Wilton, has been equipped without regard for expense as successive incidents over the • years suggested the need for further specialized equipment. Although the emergency trailer may only move two or three times a year "in anger" its provision is a reflection of ICI's public responsibility. Several trained crews provide instant readiness.
The emergency l.and-Rover and trailer operated from Billingham works whence much of the products are rail hauled is considered a more suitable outfit because of the possible need to proceed across fields to a rail crash. Rescue crews, in fact, turn out periodically to simulated "incidents", sometimes held away from the public gaze in a railway siding.
When a major emergency occurs, usually notified by a call to the "hot line" in a specially equipped traffic office, the vast back-up facilities of ICI, and in particular the intimate liaison with the nation's emergency sell ices, begins to function. A team of experts can he called on at short notice to hasten to a major incident using if need -be an air taxi: often, police cars ensure the quickest possible arrival on the .scene. Suitable craneage or recovery vehicles are hired in the area of the incident and if necessary an empty tanker is marshalled at the scene to off-load and
salvage the hazardous product, with minimal damage to the environment.
In one recent incident when 'a submarine caught lire at Barrow-inFurness. an ICI CO2 tanker on a changeover service to Scotland was rerouted from Carlisle to Barrow, with impressive police escort and traffic control measures. The Carlisle/ Barrow run took 55 minutes and the fire was put out in three minutes • to the great relief of the authorities.
Drivers of CO' tankers have, before now. put out vehicle fires on the road. One driver extinguished a fire in a RollsRoyce. and was suitably rewarded by its grateful owner. An ICI transport man remarked: "When a major incident occurs a 3-2-tonner carrying CO2 is a lifesaver, not a juggernaut..." •
The most rigorous safety precautions can be circumvented by anyone determined so to do. Sometimes a careless or incautious act is done by a well-meaning emplOyee. anxious to help a colleague or a department and perhaps with an output bonus in mind.
Although ICI rigorously checks the safety eiquipment and documentation of its own and sub-contractors' vehicles on site, it is sometimes confronted with a collection vehicle sent in by a customer which is not properly marked and whose driver may not have been trained to handle the product collected. I heard of one collection made by a mechanic with no understanding of chemical hazards who seemed to be oblivious of the risk because his depot was close to the ICI plant.
The safety. precautions taken, by ICI may seem a costly luxury measured against one significant accident every 10 million fleet miles -the wonderful record at Billingham, for example. I talked to no one who doubted the need to be prepared by intensive staff training and the rigorous maintenance of safety codes. Space prevents due mention of technical innovations in tanker designs. and ancillary equipment such as mechanical couplings instead of hoses used on ammonia tankers.
No one need doubt that Flixborough . represented a watershed for the chemical. industry. It will have widespread. repercussions in the movement and storage of hazardous materials. The sense of public responsibility shown by ICI transport and distribution managers will need to he emulated in certain quarters. As a start, many safety specialists would like to see all lorries equipped with fire extcnguishers.