Australia & NZ

Australian Ammonia Emergency Training Wins Commissioner’s Award

The Refrigerated Warehouse and Transport Association of Australia (RWTA)’s ammonia training program has won the “Highly Commended Achievement” gong at the Commissioner’s Awards for Excellence 2019 for “putting the community first through a commitment to excellence in customer focus and service.”

RWTA’s Ammonia Emergency Management Training Program is the only nationally accredited ammonia training program in the country and this three-day safety program was created in 2018 to educate the country’s cold chain industry. It addresses the risks associated with the use of anhydrous ammonia in the refrigerated warehouse and transport industry and was created in conjunction with Australia’s temperature-controlled industry and the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES). 

“Our ammonia training was launched in the second half of last year as a direct response to a request from the cold chain,” explained Marianne Kintzel, Executive Officer of RWTA. There was a requirement for training that covered emergency response to ammonia spills prior to the fire service arriving on site. In Australia, there is legislation that requires chemical suits if there is more than 900kg of ammonia on site, in case of emergency. There is, however, no legislation in place covering that one needs to know how to use them. 

The association has since held four successful training sessions with a fifth planned for October 16-18. “We have had people fly in from overseas to attend as the high-quality outcomes have impressed cold storage companies internationally,” said Kintzel. 

The training covers:

  • Prevention of spills and preparation on site.
  • Dealing with ammonia in a confined space.
  • Covering flammability, toxic content, hazards.
  • Donning and doffing of the chem suits.
  • Specific training, emergency response and delivery through consultation and industry engagement.

The RWTA is an international partner of the Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA) and represents both the warehousing and transport sectors involved in the storage, distribution and transportation of temperature-controlled products in what is known as the Australian cold chain.