As we continue to move into the summer months, the nice weather entices many homeowners to take to the great outdoors to work on projects that have been neglected during the winter months. This phenomenon goes hand in hand with an increase of hazardous materials shipments in our transportation system and hazmat employees must have current hazardous material training.
Some of the projects that will involve the use of hazardous materials may include painting or staining the backyard deck or fence, refinishing some patio furniture, landscaping projects around the yard and garden as well as maintaining a swimming pool. While these activities seem harmless enough, the materials used in these activities can present the homeowner with some serious consequences if they are unaware of the dangers presented by some common everyday products.
Those of us who work in hazardous material related shipping industries, receive hazardous material training which allows us to be familiar with Class 3 Flammable Liquids and Division 4.2 Spontaneously Combustible Materials as defined in 49 CFR. Unless you have received hazardous material training, it would be difficult for a homeowner to know this.
Most homeowners do not receive hazardous material training and are not in the business of shipping hazardous materials and are not aware of the potential dangers normal everyday products can provide. An average of 1,700 home fires per year are caused by instances of spontaneous combustion or chemical reaction of common household products.
Let’s take a look at a few of the most common culprits when it comes to these combustions that are offered for transportation and declared as hazardous materials.
Oil Based Paints And Stains
Oils and stains are designed to “oxidize” (interact with the oxygen in air) in order to dry properly. A substance will begin to release heat as it oxidizes and when the material is spread out on a board, the heat build-up is miniscule and does not present an issue. But, if this heat has no way to escape, as is the case inside a balled up or pile of rags, the temperature will rise high enough to ignite the oil as well as the cloth. Once a fire actually catches it can obviously spread quickly to any other combustibles in the area and can cause great damage to your home or property not to mention the safety and wellbeing of the people who live there.
Linseed oil, an oil used for treating, staining furniture as well as tool cleaning, is the most common type of combustible material left unattended. There have been far too many instances of homeowners and even contractors, who just throw the rags into a pile or into a bucket and then walk away. That pile or bucketful of rags can ignite in as little as 2-3 hours.
Fires started by spontaneous combustion are also known to have occurred in oil contaminated fabrics that have been laundered and dried like kitchen or tea towels that have been used in cooking with natural oils of various types, like peanut or canola oil, towels from hairdressers and bath towels used in massage type industries/home massage where the fabric is contaminated with natural blended oils
Always read and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when using oil or petroleum based products for any project at work or at home.
Pool Cleaning Chemicals
If you’re fortunate enough to own a pool, you know that it is a wonderful way to beat the summer heat but keeping the water clean and hygienic takes work and the use of powerful chemicals. But pool chlorine doesn’t even need a flame for it to ignite – it can happen with the addition of just a small amount of water. So always store your pool cleaning products in a safe, dry environment.
Prevention of spontaneous combustion fires begins with education about the risk. Fully understanding the potential risk is the key step in eliminating these preventable fires.
Hazardous Materials Training With Hazmat University
If you’re interested in learning more about the aforementioned hazardous materials, and the requirements for classification, identification, packing, marking, labeling, documentation, handling and shipping to name a few of the functions covered in the hazardous material training, we have a course for you. Hazardous material training is not an option, federal and international regulations require all hazmat employees to go through proper training if involved in handling and shipping hazardous materials.
At Hazmat University, our staff is composed of professionals who have a combined experience of 45+ years in the industry. Through our expert work, you can best believe that you’re receiving the best education when it comes to learning about hazardous materials and/or dangerous goods.
If interested, you may call us at (844) 329-5618 or visit our contact page.