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The Evolution of Transporting Dangerous Goods in Canada

Safety advancements in the Canadian work environment in the last 100 years have led to safer working conditions and improved methods of production, transportation and manufacturing of goods.

The transportation of dangerous goods across Canada has seen hundreds, if not thousands of changes to how work is done, and the safety of that work.

To ring in the 2020’s, Danatec by Yardstick Training is re-capping changes made to varying industries across the country and looking at how workplaces have adapted to keep their workers safe.

The Evolution of Transporting Dangerous Goods

The transportation of dangerous goods across Canada has come a long way since the beginning of the 20th century. Horse drawn carriages and steam locomotives have been replaced by pipelines and semi-trucks, and thousands of safety standards have been implemented to protect Canadian workers.

Explosives, chemicals and large scale equipment/machinery were the most commonly transported dangerous goods, most of which still remain abundant on Canadian roadways to this day.

No lawful TDG regulations existed in Canada until 1980, with the first complete set of regulations coming into force in 1985. The TDG Act, 1992,  received Royal Assent on June 23, 1992.  It replaced the old TDG Act which was passed by Parliament in 1980.

When the TDG Act, 1992 was passed, a commitment was made to review its application after a period of ten years.  In early 2002, the review began and in the summer of 2003 it became possible to extend the review to the entire act.

Until the introduction of TDG regulations, dangerous goods were transported across the country with no government mandated regulations or safety recommendations.

How Are Dangerous Goods Transported?

Along with the introduction of government mandated regulations, technology has also played an important role in the increase in safety in the transportation of dangerous goods.

Modern transportation vehicles such as semi-trucks are equipped with technology designed to protect not only the goods being transported but also the workers transporting them and the general public who may be near the goods during transport.

Pipelines are also utilized across the country to transport materials such as natural gas, eliminating the need for human workers to be involved in the transportation process and increasing overall safety.

More than 840,000 km of pipelines run across Canada, part of a larger oil and gas sector that employs between 100,000 and 200,000 Canadians. According to Natural Resources Canada, the sector earns the government an average of $19 billion in royalties, fees and taxes each year. It also contributes nearly 8 per cent of Canada’s gross domestic product.

Pipelines operate 24 hours per day, every day of the year. Computerized operation allows pressure, flow and energy consumption throughout the line to be continuously monitored. Computers can perform leak detection calculations quickly and initiate remedial actions in case of emergency, such as closing emergency valves, shutting off pumps and alerting repair crews.

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