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Hauling hazardous chemicals can be life-threatening

On Behalf of | Jan 10, 2019 | Workplace Injuries |

Logistics companies in Nebraska that manage the transportation of hazardous chemicals have a significant responsibility to protect the environment, the general public and the drivers who have to move the dangerous cargo to destinations across the country. You and other big rig operators who haul such dangerous cargo might not realize that you put your lives on the line every time.

Your employer is responsible for your health and safety, and providing specialized training to deal with the unique dangers of hazardous chemicals is crucial. Appropriate storage in the warehouse and the truck must meet the specifications for the products that could be flammable, corrosive or one of a list of other hazard classes.

Storage safety

Chemical reactions will always be potential risks because they react in different ways to different factors. For that reason, you should receive adequate information about the containers, the labeling and the conditions of chemical storage. For example, some chemicals’ corrosive qualities can be issues on long-distance trips. Other unique hazards involve the density and viscosity. If you have to bring your truck to a sudden stop, a load of dense chemicals can jostle in a way that might cause you to lose control of the vehicle.

Hazards you might face

Along with the typical hazards of long-haul cargo transport, you can expect your employer to provide protection and training to mitigate the following hazards:

  • Labeling: Mislabeling can put you and the recipient of the chemicals at risk because delivering the wrong chemical in inappropriate containers or with incorrect labeling can be life-threatening.
  • Equipment failure: Your truck must be in perfect order before you depart on a trip, carting hazardous chemicals. Mechanical malfunctions or leaks in the tank can leave you stranded with a deadly load that could threaten not only your safety but also the safety of the public and environment.
  • Fatigue: You need sufficient rest between trips, and your employer must schedule loads with that in mind. Fatigue increases the chances of road accidents, and the risk is even more significant if you haul dangerous chemicals.
  • Security: This might be the most significant risk because you will likely be hauling controlled substances, making it desirable for certain sectors. Although tight restrictions exist, if your load could be useful in the manufacture of chemical weapons, you might risk your life while attempting to keep it out of the wrong hands.

Along with these, you will have to use special care when dealing with potholes and other road damage, considering the volatility of your cargo.

If you receive an injury

The workers’ compensation insurance program will cover any injuries you suffer while transporting hazardous chemicals from Nebraska to other states. However, it might become challenging if your injuries occur while you are in another state. This is where the skills of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney come in. A lawyer can provide the necessary support and guidance in pursuit of benefits to cover your medical expenses and lost wages.