January 30, 2014
Physical hazards
What is it?

The factsheet provides information and tips on the safe handling of fumigated containers. It gives advice on how to open them without being at risk from dangerous gases.

Freight containers may be treated with pesticides to protect goods from damage and to prevent the spread of disease and unwanted pests. The most commonly used fumigants are highly toxic, even in small quantities. Their presence may be undeclared and undocumented, with no external warning signs. The cargo itself may also cause hazardous fumes.

Who is it for?

Workers opening or entering freight containers and their supervisors, workers performing loading and unloading, inspectors, and custom officers.

What is the benefit?

Workers are protected from exposure to harmful substances.

Safe handling of fumigated containers

Getting Started

The factsheet contains steps to prevent exposure to toxic gases.

  • Employers have a responsibility for the safety and health of their workers and must carry out a risk assessment before opening a container.
  • Employers must act on the results to ensure that all workers dealing with the opening of containers are adequately protected and can carry out their work in a safe and healthy manner.