The Department of Transportation uses a classification system that organizes hazardous chemicals and materials into different groups, referred to as classes.
Examples of classes include explosives, gases, flammable solids, and radioactive materials. One class of hazardous materials that your business may use is materials which are labeled as hazardous waste class 5 oxidizers.
As their name suggests, oxidizers are compounds that give off oxygen while reacting with other materials. Although oxygen itself isn’t necessarily hazardous, the production of oxygen in high concentrations is extremely dangerous.
In the event of a fire or chemical reaction, the presence of oxidizers can lead to massive combustion of an otherwise small, contained chemical event. This video shows the energetic reaction between an oxidizer and organic compound.
For this reason, oxidizers should only be handled by highly qualified waste disposal specialists.
Some of the most common oxidizers are:
How are oxidizers handled?
Because oxidizers are so hazardous and reactive, they need to be disposed of and transported in a very specific way. Oxidizers need to be disposed of separately from wastes that are flammable or easy to burn, such as paper, gasoline, or wood. They should also always be sealed or tightly closed in a durable, leak-free container.
Here are some additional safety recommendations when handling oxidizers in your facility..
In the event of an accident or emergency involving Class 5 oxidizers, keep the following safety tips in mind.
Skin Contact: Remove contaminated clothing and rinse the affected skin immediately with copious amounts of water for 15 minutes or until pain is relieved. Seek medical attention if the skin is irritated or pain is felt or if the chemical is highly toxic.
Eye Contact: Use the eye wash to rinse the eye thoroughly for at least 15 minutes, occasionally lifting upper and lower eyelids and rolling the eyeballs. Seek medical attention.
Inhalation: Move into fresh air immediately. Seek medical attention.
Ingestion: Do not induce vomiting. Rinse the mouth with water. Seek medical attention.
Provide the medical team with the Safety Data Sheet SDS for the chemical. Always consult with the SDS for emergency procedures specific to the chemical you are using.
Spills: Sweep up spills of solid oxidizers carefully with a broom and dustpan. Collect the material in a container with lid.
Liquid spills can be cleaned up with inert absorbent pads (no organic material). If the liquid oxidizer is an acid, the spill should first be neutralized with sodium bicarbonate.
Find the Right Vendor
Because oxidizers are so hazardous and reactive, they need to be disposed of and transported in a very carefully. Oxidizers need to be disposed of separately from wastes that are flammable or easy to burn, such as paper, gasoline, or wood. They should also always be sealed or tightly closed in a durable, leak-free container.
In addition to knowing how they should be transported, it’s important to work with a hazardous waste disposal company that is properly licensed and trained to handle emergency situations. Waste removal specialists should know exactly what to do in the event of any kind of spill to ensure the safety of your facility, staff, and others around you.