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Cold Weather Safety Tips

Seven tips to safely manage waste in cold weather

Did you know that at low temperatures, drums breathe which draws air into the bung? If stored outside, liquid from rain, ice and melted snow can collect on the tops of the drum’s surface. When the drum breathes, that liquid can be drawn in and contaminate its contents. This can occur even with unopened drums. Drums containing water-based wastes and wastes subject to freezing are particularly susceptible to becoming collapsed, compressed and potentially compromised in cold weather.

In an effort to optimize the management of your waste, here are seven tips to help you and your team stay safe and compliant during the colder months.

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Safety Tips

  1. If you have waste that has the potential to freeze at lower temperatures, notify your ChemCare Account Manager prior to scheduling a shipment so adequate safeguards can be put in place.
  2. When possible, store waste indoors to protect your drums from bung seepage, contamination and unprotected outdoor storage situations. Tarps, drum covers, and sheds can also provide temporary protection for outside containment areas.
  3. Check your containers regularly by visually inspecting each container on a regular basis. You will be more likely to notice changes in appearance. Be sure to perform a critical final inspection of all containers prior to them leaving your facility for disposal. Drums that have become structurally compromised from freezing may go unnoticed until they warm and cause leaks.
  4. Make sure all of your employees handling hazardous waste are properly trained to fill and prepare waste containers for transporting during cold weather.
  5. Allow adequate head space for the waste (3-6 inches minimum). Additional head space should be provided for high vapor pressure wastes. Do not overfill containers, and do not offer containers for shipment that are under pressure, bulging, collapsed, compressed, or in poor condition. Waste transport drivers are instructed not to pick up containers showing signs of pressure or that are otherwise compromised.
  6. Cold weather can make adhering drum labels and markings difficult. Make sure drums are dry and at room temperature before applying drum stickers. Keep adhesive spray on hand if waste drums are stored outside.
  7. Ensure your waste makeup matches its waste profile. If waste is materially different than the original signed profile, contact your Customer Service Representative or ChemCare Account Manager to have the profile revised or a new profile created prior to shipment.

Peace of mind

At Univar Solutions, we strive to provide you with confidence and peace of mind. Working with us, you can be certain that your waste is handled with the utmost care and control. Please make sure that everyone in your organization who is involved with handling your waste receives a copy of this checklist. Together we can ensure that this winter is incident free!



Important reminder

Department of Transportation hazmat shipping regulations state that any waste container that becomes deformed due to excessive pressure may be structurally compromised and is not safe for transport.






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