Improved safety during transportation of dangerous goods | Infrastructure news

Responsible Care (RC), an initiative of the global chemical industry, is under the custodianship of the Chemical and Allied Industries’ Association (CAIA) in South Africa.

The high risks associated with transporting dangerous goods on South Africa’s roads, requires the strictest observation of safety, health and environmental practices.

Signatory members with CAIA are assisted in the transport and related sectors to improve their safety, health and environmental performance for the storage, distribution and transportation of dangerous goods.

Through this, RC is able to promote sustainable and safe road and rail transport operations.

Continuous efforts to improve safety during transportation and the associated handling of chemicals are part of the overall objective of both the chemical and transport industry, in accordance with the guiding principles of RC. It achieves this objective by meeting legislative compliance, and by adopting cooperative and voluntary initiatives with government and other stakeholders.

Deidré Penfold, CAIA Executive Director says, “CAIA encourages operators of heavy commercial vehicles and road transportation companies to introduce a meaningful approach that focuses on crucial safe operating management practices. Including but not limited to driver health and wellness programmes, effective transport route risk assessment, behavioural based safety for drivers, effective investigation of transport accidents/incidents and the appropriate use of the learnings from such incidents.”

Companies that are signatories to the Responsible Care initiative are required to ensure that their transport service providers comply with the requirements of the South African Safety and Quality Assessment System (SA SQAS).

The SA SQAS is designed to evaluate the quality, safety and environmental performance of chemical distributors in a uniform manner, by means of a single standardised assessment. Although the SQAS audit does not guarantee the safety and quality of the service provided, the system does provide a mechanism to evaluate performance and promote continuous improvement, and provides useful feedback directly to the service provider on the strengths and weaknesses observed during the assessment.

Amongst other indicators, the SA SQAS audit protocol assesses if the transport company has appropriately investigated road accidents that the company’s vehicles have been involved in, and if the outcomes from the investigation are communicated to drivers and company employees. It also assesses if preventative measures to mitigate the risk of re-occurrence have been implemented successfully.

Over the past 20 years, RC has expanded its influence in South Africa. One hundred and thirty companies are signatories to the RC initiative in South Africa, which shows that the initiative is more than a set of principles and declarations. Through the sharing of information and a rigorous system of checklists, performance indicators and verification procedures, it enables the industry to demonstrate its improvements over the years and to develop policies for further improvement. RC helps the chemical industry gain the trust of the public and to operate safely and sustainably – with due care for safety, health and the environment. Contact Deidré Penfold on +27 83 419 3281 or at for further information.

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