CAIA says safe transporting of hazardous materials is crucial

A picture of CAIA’s executive director, Deidré PenfoldThe transporting of hazardous materials poses specific risks that make it essential for hauliers and logistics service providers to have management systems in place to identify and control risks. Failure to do so and the event of an accident can cause harm to people, animals, property and the environment.

In 1994, the Chemical and Allied Industries’ Association (CAIA) launched the Responsible Care programme in South Africa. Responsible Care is the global chemical industry’s unique initiative to improve health, safety and environmental performance and to communicate with stakeholders about products and processes.

In addition to the Responsible Care programme, CAIA provides linkages to:

  • Sustainability in the chemical industries’ value chain through advocacy
  • Training
  • Support of educational drives in maths
  • The science and the advancement of these concepts into sub-Saharan Africa

‘The Responsible Care Safety and Quality Assessment System Southern Africa (SQAS-SA) is designed to evaluate the quality, safety and environmental performance of hauliers and logistics service providers and chemical distributors by means of standardised assessments,’ says Deidré Penfold, executive director of CAIA.

Committed to quality and safety for all

All CAIA members voluntarily sign the CAIA Responsible Care public commitment, pledging to conduct all operations, including the transport of hazardous materials, in a safe and environmentally sustainable manner. They also pledge to incorporate Responsible Care ethics and requirements into their business strategy, management system and daily operations.

The Safety and Quality Assessment System was established by CEFIC, the European Chemical Industry Council. A number of years ago some local chemical companies, together with CAIA, set up SQAS-SA, a similar system modified by industry to suit conditions and needs in South Africa.

Richard Durrant, owner of Transheq and an independent consultant to CAIA on transport safety, explains that SQAS-SA is similar to the ISO quality management system.

‘SQAS-SA covers many elements of the ISO standards and more. It looks at things like:

  • Legal compliance
  • Driver employment
  • Driver training
  • Driver wellness
  • Emergency procedures
  • Risk assessments
  • Vehicle maintenance
  • Tyre maintenance
  • Operational controls
  • Security
  • On-road behaviour of drivers
  • Quality of the vehicle itself

The principle behind it is that a company will implement the management system and an independent auditor will conduct an audit of the system every two years to ensure quality and safety for all.’

Warehouse auditing is increasing

The SQAS-SA auditing process covers three sectors:

  1. Road transportation
  2. Warehousing operations
  3. Tanker washing facilities

The owner of Transheq, Richard Durrant‘Currently the majority of SQAS-SA auditing is road transport-related, but the number of warehouses storing hazardous materials in South Africa is increasing and local warehouse auditing is beginning to take off. It must also be stressed that SQAS-SA audits are not only applicable to hazardous materials but can also be applied to low hazard operations,’ Durrant adds.

‘South Africa has two groups of auditors. Sasol, a CAIA member, has its own auditors who ensure the companies that Sasol contracts for its transport requirements comply with SQAS-SA guidelines, and then there are a number of independent auditors,’ says Penfold.

The independent auditors normally audit the hauliers, which are collecting procured products at various refineries, plants and warehouses.

In August 2017, representatives from CEFIC, in collaboration with CAIA, will conduct the training of more than 20 local auditors. These auditors will then expand their audit territories to the rest of Africa where they will assess, every two years, the compliance of hauliers’ and logistics service providers’ SQAS-SA management programmes for the transport of hazardous and low hazard materials. 

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