Fatal Pile-Up & Toxic Spill on 401
By OTN Staff
On Tuesday March 14 motorists on the 401 were faced with yet another tragic reminder of risks to road safety as one man died and toxic materials leaked onto the highway as a result of multiple big rig pileups.
The accidents, which involved 15 transport trucks and several cars, occurred on the 401 East between Reynolds Road and Mallorytown Road. The driver of the truck carrying the toxic material, 45 year old Ian Melville of Hamilton, died of injuries.
Twenty nine others, including first responders, were hospitalized for injuries and exposure from the 10,000 litres of fluorosilicic acid that spilled from the vehicle onto the highway.
Experts in hazardous materials along with MOE officials were brought in to manage the spill. The Kingston General Hospital said the chemical could cause irritation to the nose, throat, respiratory system, irritation, eye irritation and swelling of the skin. Worse still, if the chemical was exposed to heat it could turn into hydroflouric acid, a dangerous and poisonous compound.
Thanks to stricter controls, dangerous substances are clearly labelled on trucks to inform emergency crews of the nature of the materials in the event of an emergency. Still, experts admit, and experience shows, there is no perfect way to eliminate risk of hazardous waste during transport. In Canada, drivers receive hazardous waste transport training from their carriers, a better method, experts say, than training in the US which is provided by a centralized authority. Thirty percent of the 28,000 vehicles passing through that section of the 401 every day are trucks.
Though trucking continues to become safer through regulations, safety technologies and driver training, experience demonstrates that motorists are always at risk.☚