What are the Regulations for cleaning IBCs?

It is crucial to adhere to specific regulations governing IBC cleaning practises in both the UK and the US.

Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs) are versatile and durable storage solutions widely used to transport and store a variety of liquids. However, like any container, IBCs can become dirty and contaminated over time, posing potential hazards to workers and the environment.

 

Rotajet ICS IBC standalone washing station with high pressure jet nozzle

UK Regulations: Ensuring Worker Safety and Environmental Protection

In the UK, the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) serves as the primary regulatory framework for IBC cleaning. COSHH places the responsibility on employers to assess the risks associated with exposure to hazardous substances and implement appropriate control measures to safeguard workers.

Key aspects of COSHH regulations pertaining to IBC cleaning include:

  1. Mandatory Training and Supervision: Employers must provide thorough training and supervision to employees involved in IBC cleaning. They must ensure they fully comprehend the risks, safe handling procedures, and emergency response protocols.

  2. Adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Employers must provide employees with appropriate PPE. This includes gloves, goggles, and respirators to minimise their exposure to hazardous substances during IBC cleaning tasks.

  3. Designated Cleaning Area: IBC cleaning must be conducted in a designated and well-ventilated area. This is to prevent the spread of hazardous substances and ensure worker safety.

  4. Responsible Waste Disposal: Contaminated waste generated during IBC cleaning must be disposed of in accordance with hazardous waste regulations. This may involve segregation, labelling, and transport to authorised treatment or disposal facilities.

US Regulations: Adhering to RCRA and OSHA Standards

In the United States, the cleaning of IBCs falls under the jurisdiction of two primary regulatory frameworks:

  1. The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA): RCRA regulates the management of hazardous waste, including the cleaning and disposal of IBCs that have contained hazardous substances. It mandates that IBCs be cleaned to remove all hazardous residues before they can be reused or disposed of.

  2. The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA): OSHA focuses on worker safety and establishes standards for workplace environments, including those involving IBC cleaning. It mandates that employers provide appropriate training, PPE, and ventilation to protect workers from exposure to hazardous substances.

Specific requirements under RCRA and OSHA include:

  1. Removal of Hazardous Substances: IBCs that have contained hazardous substances must be cleaned to a level that meets RCRA’s standards for hazardous waste disposal. This may involve multiple cleaning cycles and the use of specialised cleaning agents.

  2. Employee Protection: Employers must provide employees with adequate training, PPE, and access to decontamination facilities. This is to minimise their exposure to hazardous substances during IBC cleaning activities.

  3. Safe Cleaning Environment: IBC cleaning must be conducted in a designated, well-ventilated area. By doing so they will prevent the release of hazardous substances into the workplace.

  4. Proper Waste Disposal: Contaminated waste generated during IBC cleaning must be disposed of in accordance with RCRA’s hazardous waste regulations. This involves proper labelling, segregation, and transport to authorised treatment or disposal facilities.

 

Conclusion: Prioritising Safety and Environmental Responsibility

Both UK and US regulations emphasise the importance of proper IBC cleaning procedures to protect workers, the environment, and public health.

Therefore, employers must ensure they comply with all applicable regulations and implement appropriate safety measures to minimise the risks associated with IBC cleaning activities. By adhering to these regulations, businesses can create a safe working environment and contribute to the responsible management of hazardous substances.

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