The Impact of Climate Change on Toronto’s Hazmat Technicians
Rising temperatures, higher water levels, more severe weather and natural disasters have all been seen and noted by scientists, but the impact of these changes on hazmat technicians in Toronto and their work could be more significant than people realize. IUPAT explain why in this blog.
Rising Water Levels
Nuclear waste disposal sites are generally safe when the conditions around them are stable, but the locations of some sites may no longer be safe due to rising water levels. Nuclear waste entering rivers and marine waters can have a devastating effect on the environment, as well as the drinking water and food supply of locals. The Environmental Protection Agency began looking into the relocation of hazardous waste sites in 2013, and many sites in Canada and the United States continue to monitor a number of sites to ensure stability.
Climate change is leading to an increase in extreme weather, including hurricanes and typhoons, as evidenced by the terrible devastation caused by hurricanes Irma, Jose, Maria and Nate this fall. As these storms get worse, there comes an increased “potential for hazardous chemicals to spread due to facility damage, storm surge, and flooding” according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Disaster response has always been a part of the Toronto hazmat technician’s role, but it is likely that these calls will increase.
While hazardous materials are often stored or processed away from highly populated areas to improve public safety, in many cases hazardous waste and materials must be transported from place to place. Climate change leads to unpredictability when it comes to major infrastructure elements, including roads and electrical grids. While scheduling and logistics can help to mitigate many transit issues, with less predictable weather and changing water levels causing progressive damage to roads, electrical towers, and train tracks, a spill or leak of a hazardous material could happen in a location where response time could be higher and more people could be affected.
How Toronto Hazmat Technicians Can Help
Hazmat technicians in Toronto can play an important role in responding to climate change. Stay up to date on the effect of climate change on your local area, whether that is a city like Toronto, or a smaller town. Being aware of these issues can help you to work with your team to train and prepare for different scenarios or do additional proactive work. Work with the local government and businesses to ensure that scheduled maintenance is keeping flooding and high winds in mind to ensure that storage facilities and vehicles for transporting hazardous materials are prepared for changing weather patterns where possible. If you are interested in being a part of addressing these issues connected to climate change, and want to be part of working to ensure the safety of hazmat technicians while they perform this critical work, contact IUPAT. You can also review this post to learn more about what it takes to be a successful hazmat technician in Toronto.