Safety Han­dling dan­ger­ous goods

The WA Gov­ern­ment’s Depart­ment of Mines and Petroleum has put to­gether some handy tips on the safe stor­age and han­dling of dan­ger­ous goods on farms

Farms & Farm Machinery - - Contents -

Dan­ger­ous goods are sub­stances with prop­er­ties that can be haz­ardous to safety or health if not stored and han­dled safely. Most farms use some form of dan­ger­ous goods ei­ther to op­er­ate ma­chin­ery (fuel, oil) or con­trol weeds and pests (fu­mi­gants).


These goods can be recog­nised from the mark­ing and la­belling with the pres­ence of a class di­a­mond and a United Na­tions (UN) num­ber on the pack­ag­ing. The class di­a­mond in­di­cates which acute in­her­ent haz­ard the item has. On re­ceiv­ing a de­liv­ery of dan­ger­ous goods, check that the pack­ages are in sound con­di­tion and are la­belled cor­rectly. If the pack­ag­ing or la­belling is de­fec­tive, con­tact the sup­plier to rec­tify.


A num­ber of dan­ger­ous goods can re­act dan­ger­ously when mixed, and have the po­ten­tial to start a fire or re­lease toxic gases. Be safe and store these goods apart (Ta­ble 1).


Se­cu­rity mea­sures need to be in place to pre­vent unau­tho­rised ac­cess to dan­ger­ous goods. This is par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant for highly toxic dan­ger­ous goods such as 1080 baits and alu­minium phos­phide pes­ti­cides, as well as other her­bi­cides and pes­ti­cides.

Pro­tect stor­age ar­eas from im­pact

On a farm, there is usu­ally enough space to place dan­ger­ous goods stor­age fa­cil­i­ties (such as a shed) out of harm’s way. How­ever, this is some­times not prac­ti­cal – for ex­am­ple, if there is a fuel dis­penser on, or ad­ja­cent to, an above-ground fuel tank.

In these sit­u­a­tions, you need to pro­tect the tank and/or dis­penser from ve­hi­cle im­pact. You can do this by in­stalling bol­lards (con­crete-filled steel pipes) or plac­ing clean 200-litre or 110-litre drums filled with con­crete or sand around the area.

Un­der­ground tank stor­age or han­dling sys­tems

Though un­com­mon, some prop­er­ties have un­der­ground fuel stor­age tanks. These tanks need to be de­signed, in­stalled, op­er­ated and main­tained so that they do not leak. Guid­ance is avail­able in Aus­tralian Stan­dard AS 4897 on how to store fuel in un­der­ground tanks safely (


When han­dling flammable liq­uids such as petrol, or flammable gases such as LP or acety­lene gas, ig­ni­tion sources need to be kept away. These sources in­clude naked flames, mo­bile phones, or ac­tiv­i­ties such as smok­ing, weld­ing, cut­ting and grind­ing.

Safety in­for­ma­tion and equip­ment

Ma­te­rial safety data sheets (MSDSs), also known as safety data sheets (SDSs), are good sources of safety and health in­for­ma­tion for the dan­ger­ous goods you have. You should have all the MSDSs for the dan­ger­ous goods stored and han­dled at the farm read­ily ac­ces­si­ble in case of spills, poi­son­ing or emer­gen­cies.

MSDSs are avail­able from the sup­plier or man­u­fac­turer of dan­ger­ous goods, or can be found on the in­ter­net. These sheets also pro­vide guid­ance on the types of per­sonal pro­tec­tive equip­ment (PPE) that should be used when han­dling cer­tain dan­ger­ous goods. This equip­ment should be kept and main­tained ‘fit for pur­pose’. In par­tic­u­lar, check that res­pi­ra­tor car­tridges are rated to the type of chem­i­cal be­ing used.

Work­ers and su­per­vi­sors

In­duc­tion, in­for­ma­tion, train­ing and su­per­vi­sion need to be pro­vided to those who work with dan­ger­ous goods. There should be safe sys­tems of work and work prac­tices that en­able peo­ple to do their job safely. Rel­e­vant train­ing needs to be con­sid­ered for: • Work­ers who carry out spe­cific tasks, i.e han­dling her­bi­cides • Man­agers and su­per­vi­sors who should have train­ing rel­e­vant to the dan­ger­ous goods in ar­eas they su­per­vise.

This may be pro­vided in-house or take the form of in-ser­vices by agri­cul­tural in­dus­try train­ers or chem­i­cal sup­pli­ers, in­clud­ing pro­vid­ing MSDSs and proper use of PPE and safety equip­ment.

DIS­POSAL Clean up spills or leaks

Dan­ger­ous goods stored on the farm some­times spill or leak. Make sure that the spill or leak is cleaned up as soon as pos­si­ble us­ing a spill kit. Check that you have a spill kit handy. The kit could in­clude a bucket of clean dry sand, ‘kitty lit­ter’, clean empty con­tain­ers with lids or caps for spill re­cov­ery, broom, and shovel.

Empty con­tain­ers

Empty dan­ger­ous goods con­tain­ers such as plas­tic drums need to be made safe through in­dus­try re­cy­cling ini­tia­tives like AgSafe’s DrumMuster col­lec­tion (, or con­tain­ers prop­erly dis­posed of. Re-use of dan­ger­ous goods con­tain­ers should only hap­pen af­ter ap­pro­pri­ate de­con­tam­i­na­tion mea­sures (such as scrub­bing, rins­ing and steam clean­ing) have been taken to ef­fec­tively re­move chem­i­cal residue.

Un­wanted chem­i­cals

Keep­ing old or un­wanted chem­i­cals in your shed presents an un­nec­es­sary risk to peo­ple, an­i­mals and the en­vi­ron­ment. AgSafe’s ChemClear pro­gram is run pe­ri­od­i­cally to as­sist in the dis­posal of un­wanted chem­i­cals.


Farms can be de­fined as a ru­ral dan­ger­ous goods lo­ca­tion un­der the Dan­ger­ous Goods Safety (Stor­age and Han­dling of Non-ex­plo­sives) Reg­u­la­tions 2007 and are re­quired to meet safe stor­age and han­dling re­quire­ments. Find more safety, leg­is­la­tion and com­pli­ance in­for­ma­tion at the WA DMP web­site:

“Check that the pack­ages are in sound con­di­tion and are la­belled cor­rectly”

* Ex­cept when in use

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