Behind Closed Doors: Morrows' Segregation Rooms

Behind Closed Doors: Morrows' Segregation Rooms

Morrows Logistics is a leader in the storage and transport of hazardous materials. Through state-of-the-art segregation rooms, they provide meticulous handling processes and stringent safety measures to ensure safe and compliant storage of hazardous materials for their customers.

The Purpose of Chemical Segregation Rooms

These specialised rooms are designed to prevent potentially dangerous interactions between different classes of chemicals. By isolating substances with incompatible properties, such as reactivity or flammability, segregation rooms significantly reduce the risk of accidents, spills, fires, or explosions that could have catastrophic consequences. They serve as a critical safeguard for protecting personnel and the environment but also maintain regulatory compliance in handling and storing hazardous chemicals.

The Anatomy of Segregation Rooms

Segregation rooms are not your average storage units; they are fortified with safety features to ensure that hazardous chemicals remain contained even in the worst-case scenarios. These bunker-style rooms feature concrete walls and facilitate spill containment. Each room has a downhill slope to prevent spills from escaping, making them individually bunded. In the event of a fire, the smoke or thermal detectors trigger a foam deluge fire system, while hatches in the roof act as pressure relief mechanisms in case of an explosion. The hatches also provide critical access for fire fighting. The fire alarm system is also connected to the Dandenong Fire Brigade, so if the alarm is triggered, they are on their way.

Pallet racking in these rooms is earthed to prevent sparks from static electricity, and mechanical air circulation systems are employed to minimise the buildup of flammable vapours. All wiring and lights are spark-proof (EX-rated). Each bunker has fire-rated sliding doors that automatically close when thermal or smoke alarms are triggered, ensuring a minimum of 4 hours of containment.

Morrows Chemical Class Storage Capabilities

Morrows Logistics stores the following chemical class under the Dangerous Goods Act 1985.

Class 2.1 - Flammable Gases:
Flammable in the presence of air or have flammable range concentrations in air. E.g. propane, butane, and hydrogen.

Class 2.3 - Toxic Gases:
Toxic or corrosive gases that pose health risks when inhaled or come into contact with the skin. E.g. ammonia.

Class 3 - Flammable Liquids:
Liquids with a flash point of not more than 60°C can easily catch fire when exposed to an open flame or heat source. E.g. gasoline and ethanol.

Class 4.1 - Flammable Solids:
Solid materials that can ignite and burn under certain conditions. Examples include powdered metals like magnesium.

Class 4.3 - Dangerous When Wet:
React with water and release flammable gases, presenting a fire hazard. E.g. sodium and lithium metal.

Class 5.1 - Oxidising Agents:
Substances that provide oxygen to support combustion when they react with other materials. They can intensify fires and explosions. E.g. hydrogen peroxide and potassium permanganate.

Class 5.2 - Organic Peroxides:
Chemicals that can undergo spontaneous combustion pose a significant fire and explosion hazard. E.g. benzoyl peroxide and cumene hydroperoxide.

Class 6 - Toxic Substances:
Chemicals toxic or harmful to human health, causing acute or chronic health effects. E.g. pesticides and certain industrial chemicals.

Class 8 - Corrosive Substances:
Chemicals that can corrode or destroy living tissues or materials upon contact. E.g. strong acids and bases.

Steve Lewis, our Logistics Manager for Morrows Noble Park site, explains, "Each chemical requires specified safety distances, some up to 5 metres away from others. Because these classes can react violently when exposed to one another, storing them in one big room would be ineffective (and dangerous)."

"An important note is that out of these nine classes, it's only Class 5.2, which must be in a segregation room due to their extreme reactivity," said Steve.

Strict Safety Measures in Segregation Areas

Surrounding areas of the segregation rooms at Morrows are rigorously controlled. Special spark-proof forklifts are mandatory within this zone as a preventative measure from electric motors igniting flammable substances. Mobile phones, radios, car keys, or any electrical devices that could create a spark are strictly prohibited.

"We leave no room for error when it comes to safety," Steve said. "We store highly flammable liquids with lower flashpoints, and even the smallest oversight could lead to catastrophic consequences. It's why our facilities are meticulously designed, managed and monitored."

With dedicated personnel like Steve at the helm, companies can trust in the secure and responsible management of these potentially volatile substances.