Dangerous When Wet: Understanding the Risks of Water-Reactive Substances

Dangerous When Wet: Understanding the Risks of Water-Reactive Substances

Dangerous When Wet: Understanding the Risks of Water-Reactive Substances

Posted on the 7th of May 2024 by Westlab

There's a hidden hazard that’s closer than you might think. We’re talking about substances that are classified as ‘Dangerous When Wet’. These materials, often found in industries such as mining and manufacturing, can react violently with water, causing harm to staff, property, and the surrounding environment.

What are Dangerous When Wet Substances?

‘Dangerous When Wet’ substances are a division of Class 4 Flammable Solids. They include chemicals like aluminum phosphide, calcium, calcium carbide, potassium, sodium, and zinc particles. These substances, when in contact with water, can emit flammable gases that can form explosive mixtures with air. Such mixtures are easily ignited by all ordinary ignition sources, e.g., naked lights, sparking hand tools, or unprotected light bulbs. The resulting blast wave and flames may endanger people and the environment.

The Hazards

If these substances come into contact with water, a violent reaction will occur. The reaction can create a range of hazards due to the flammable gases and toxic vapors that may be emitted. Flammable gases can create dangerous fires and explosions, while toxic gases can cause severe harm to human health, with the potential for fatalities.

Storage and Segregation Techniques

Due to the serious risks associated with Dangerous When Wet substances, compliant Class 4.3 Safety Cabinets are essential for compliant storage. When segregating hazardous chemicals, methods such as using distance or inert materials, cut-off/partitioned storage areas, and detached storage are generally used.
For instance, a minimum separation distance of 3 metres will generally be suitable for most hazardous chemicals that are dangerous goods of packing group III. Where one or more of the incompatible goods are assigned to packing group II, or if they may react dangerously, a minimum segregation distance of 5 metres is recommended.
To explore a range of dangerous goods safety cabinets, you can visit Westlab’s website.

The Bottom Line

The dangers of these substances are real and present in many industries. It’s crucial that we understand these risks and take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of all involved. As we continue to navigate the complexities of our modern world, let’s remember to prioritize safety and vigilance in all that we do.
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2024-05-07 06:11:23
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