This page has been archived.
Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.
Testing and Ventilation of Marine Containers
Chemical fumigants are widely used in the shipping industry to kill invasive alien species in cargo loads. Historically, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) relied on a risk-management approach to minimize the risk of exposing its employees to these fumigants. In support of this approach, the CBSA undertook a study to determine the level of risk to its employees. The study confirmed that CBSA employees were at risk of exposure to solvents, in addition to the various fumigants commonly used within marine containers.
As a result, prior to CBSA employees entering marine containers for examination, procedures have been developed to test the containers for the presence of fumigants. This marks a significant change in operations.
Specifically, the following procedures have been put in place to protect CBSA employees:
- If a container tests positive for a fumigant, it is considered to be hazardous and must only be opened by persons outfitted with respiratory protection.
- The container must be ventilated for a minimum of 6 hours with the use of a ventilation fan, or for a minimum of 12 hours without the use of a ventilation fan. Once ventilation is complete, the container doors must be closed for a minimum of 15 minutes before re-testing takes place. It is necessary to re-test containers for all fumigants/solvents that previously showed positive results.
- If testing shows negative results, the container is safe to be examined and CBSA employees can safely enter the container.
- If a positive result shows after ventilation, the CBSA is responsible for the continued ventilation of the container and for making the container safe to enter. These ventilation and re-testing procedures will be repeated until the container is deemed safe to enter.
The CBSA is aware that the testing and ventilation of marine containers affect the movement and release of containers. Accordingly, the Agency has introduced measures to alleviate extensive delays, including the following:
- New detection technology is being purchased to expedite the testing process. The deployment of the new units is expected to be completed by fall 2008.
- The CBSA is researching new ventilation equipment to expedite the ventilation process. Ventilation systems are presently undergoing testing at sites across Canada.
- The CBSA has moved to 24-hour operations at all major marine operations to expedite the testing/ventilation processes.
- The CBSA is consulting with Health Canada and Human Resources and Social Development Canada (Labour Program) to help streamline the testing/ventilation processes.
- CBSA scientists will continue to test and refine technical procedures as the Agency learns more about this evolving health and safety situation.
For more information