ABC Chemicals is a medium-sized chemical distributor located at the rear of a large metropolitan shopping precinct. ABC Chemicals purchase large quantities of cleaning chemicals. These are delivered in 205 litre drums and include solvents, acids and other corrosives, and detergents. These products are decanted by ABC Chemicals’ staff into retail size containers (not exceeding 30 litres/ kilograms), re-labelled and shipped in company badged delivery vehicles to retail outlets throughout the metropolitan area. There is, within 25 metres of ABC Chemicals, a local nursing home that cares for elderly residents with age-related conditions including dementia. Across the road from the nursing home is a child care centre that provides day care for children under 5. ABC Chemicals employs some 50 people whose duties include the day-to-day running of the business and decanting of the chemicals into smaller containers. Small spills during the decanting procedures are cleaned up with rags, which are disposed of at the end of the day into the general waste dumpster in the rear yard of the premises. The dumpster is collected by a waste contractor on a weekly basis.
The ABC Chemicals building was constructed in 2000 and has been fitted with limited emergency equipment. None of the staff has received any training in safe handling of chemicals or how to cope with emergencies and there is no emergency plan displayed in the workplace.
ABC Chemicals is situated on a busy intersection and there have been several significant vehicle accidents in front of the premises.
All empty chemical drums are stored in the rear yard against the back cyclone fence. These drums are collected on a monthly basis and as many as 250 drums can be stored there awaiting collection.
Behind the cyclone fence is a large open, overgrown paddock with dry grass, which is owned by the local council. The council has advised ABC Chemicals that they wish to build a...