You are an EH&S professional returning home from your plant on a summer Friday afternoon at about 4 p.m. You have just picked up some materials from a nearby building supply store for a weekend backyard project (cement, sand, wood, concrete blocks, lumber, etc.). You are about one mile outside of the main population zone of your small town, and you come upon an accident scene in which a placarded tanker truck is turned on its side in a ditch about 20-25 feet off the two-lane road. There is no sign of fire and no sign of the driver from your vantage point inside your truck. The only sign you can see from your vantage point is a Dangerous When Wet placard with a Class 8 label code and a UN 1836 on an orange panel. What might this chemical be? You think you can make out an NFPA diamond with a 0 at 12 o’clock; a 2 at 3 o’clock; a 4 at 9 o’clock; and a slashed W at 6 o’clock. You take out the small binoculars from your truck and scan the scene. There seems to be a thin, small volume of dripping liquid (red to yellow color) coming from a valve on the tanker.
There is an agricultural field directly next to the incident site. A large irrigation unit is spraying the fields, but the extent of the spray seems to end 20-25 yards away from the overturned truck. Slight, but steady winds are blowing about 5-8 mph across the scene towards town.
Your small community has a fire department, but it does not have a hazardous material squad attached to it. Your chemical plant (3 shift operation, bleach, pool chemicals, and household products, 15 miles away) does have a hazardous material team that you trained and is under your direction. You do have your cell phone and an emergency response guidebook.
1. How should you proceed? Discuss the actions you should take.
2. What, if any, restraints should you exercise?
3. What advice would you give to any other individuals or drivers coming upon the scene?
4. What would you say to the next responders coming on the scene?