On May 7, 2019, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration announced there will be a public meeting scheduled for June 17, 2019 to solicit input on the development of the 2020 edition of the Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG). During the June 17 meeting, PHMSA will discuss different ways to determine the appropriate response protective distances for poisonous vapors resulting from spills involving dangerous goods considered toxic by inhalation in the “green pages” of the 2016 ERG. PHMSA will also discuss new methodologies and considerations for future editions of the ERG and outcomes of field experiments including ongoing research to better understand environmental effects on airborne toxic gas concentrations and other updates that will be published in the 2020 ERG. The 2020 ERG will be published in English, French, and Spanish and will increase public safety by improving emergency response procedures for hazardous material incidents across North America. For more information on how to be a part of the public meeting visit the link below:
PHMSA first published the ERG Guidebook in 1973 for use by emergency services personnel to provide guidance for first responders during the critical first 30 minutes of hazardous materials transportation incidents. Since 1980, PHMSA’s goal has been to provide free access of the ERG to all public emergency response personnel including fire-fighters, police, and rescue squads. PHMSA has distributed more than 14.5 Continue Reading…
When a train carrying flammable liquids is involved in an incident, first responders are often the first on scene. These types of incidents are not typical for first responders. They require a unique approach. And for that reason, Transport Canada has put out a video on how to respond to rail-car incidents that involve flammable liquids. Below are the factors and steps from the video when dealing with these types of incidents.
A Rail Car is involved in an accident and a fire starts on impact. The rail car is properly placarded with the appropriate class 3 flammable Placard. Below are the factors that can influence the fire as well as steps and tools to utilize during the incident.
Whether it’s Gasoline, Diesel, Ethanol, Crude oil, or bitumen, knowing the properties of each is important to first responders because all can behave differently under spill and fire conditions. This is where the importance of proper placarding will come into play as first responders can detect exactly what type of flammable substances are on the train based on the UN number. Below are important factors of flammable substances that would help first responders determine the proper course of action:
Viscosity- Gives an indication on how fast the fire can spread.
Density- Will determine if substance will sink or float if it is near a body of water.
ERAPs are unique to Canada, and are intended to ensure support for local responders in catastrophic spills, such as the 2013 Lac-Mégantic derailment. Essentially, they require consignor of significant amounts of high-risk dangerous goods to establish a specific protocol, often involving an on-call response team, that can assist local responders in case of a release. Transport Canada must review and approve the plan before the consignor can offer or import affected shipments (although the approval only has to be issued once.)
The amendment has three main goals:
clarify ERAP implementation and reporting;
enhance emergency preparedness and response; and
make housekeeping changes that address smaller issues.
The amendment replaces all the text of Part 7, although unamended requirements will remain the same. Changes also occur in Parts 1, 3 and 8.
Clarifying Implementation of ERAPs
The original requirements of Part 7 didn’t go into any detail as to how an ERAP would be implemented – presumably it would be by emergency responders or by the person with control of the released material, but it’s never been established precisely. The amendment addresses initial notification of an accident requiring ERAP response, and clarifies that the person with the ERAP Continue Reading…
Laurel and Hardy the comedy duo from the 1930’s coined the phrase, “Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into.” Sadly, I believe this is the situation DOT created with HM-224I which is an interim final rule published in March. When this new rule is taken into account along with the general frustration many shippers face when shipping lithium batteries, it is easy to see how the mess was made.
Basically, here’s what happened. The 49 CFR can be used to make air shipments along with going by ground and vessel. In the “old” version of the regulations, you were allowed to put lithium ion batteries on passenger planes as long as the net weight of the batteries was below 5 kg. Well, DOT has finally admitted it is NOT a good idea to put lithium ion batteries on passenger aircraft. They also wanted to be in closer alignment with the IATA which restricted ion batteries to cargo planes just a few years ago. This is where HM-224I comes into play.
One of the biggest changes is the addition of a phrase to section 173.185 for small powered or excepted batteries. It is paragraph (c)(1)(iii) that is causing the most trouble. Keep in mind nothing changed with the existing phrases in this paragraph. It is simply a matter of a new one being added. Also, this paragraph Continue Reading…
The International Labour Organization (ILO) was created in 1919. It is a United Nation’s agency that sets
standards, policies and programs for the work force. Comprised of workers, employers and governments
the main goals are to “promote rights at work, encourage decent employment
opportunities, enhance social protection and strengthen dialogue on
work-related issues.” Each branch, if
you will, has equal footing in regards to what programs and actions are
Starting in 2003, the ILO started “International Worker’s Memorial Day”
as a way to bring awareness to workers and the workplace including accidents,
diseases, safety and health. It has evolved
into the “International World Day for Safety and Health at Work” and is celebrated
every year on April 28. This date also
coincides with the International Commemoration Day for Dead and Injured Workers.
Since the ILO is celebrating 100 years of existence in 2019, they are looking
back at what the past 100 years and using that experience to look at the
current and future workplace. The theme
to this year’s event is “A Safe and Healthy Future of Work: Building on 100 Years
of Experience”. There is a fantastic
video on the ILO site found here
that focuses on this year’s theme. The longer
report covers the changes to the workforce overtime and what are some of the
upcoming changes. The numbers in it are staggering
when viewed from a global perspective.
It is well worth the read and is free to download.
IHU 2019 Proposed Amendment: Pre-Gazette I Consultation
In late March, Transport Canada posted a notice on their public website regarding a pre-Gazette I consultation on proposed amendments to the TDGR. The consultation was distributed to selected stakeholders by email on March 4.
This proposal is the latest in a series of international harmonization updates (“IHU”) to incorporate changes to reflect the current editions of the UN Model Regulations (UN Recommendations), ICAO Technical Instructions for air, and the IMDG Code for ocean shipment. In addition, the Canada-US Regulatory Cooperation Council work planning effort has suggested several items that would facilitate reciprocity in shipping dangerous goods between the two countries.
Updating to 20th edition and preparation for 21st edition.
Incorporate packaging updates by adopting 3rd edition TP14850 (pending repatriation to CGSB as standard CGSB-43.150-xx), normalize EC-allowed practices on batteries; allow UN3175 in FIBC 13H3 & 13H4.
Marking/Labeling: text on labels, banana labels on cylinders, require orientation arrows for liquids, marine pollutant, and Lithium Battery Mark on overpacks.
Language issues under review, include determining the options on the use of either or both English/French and circumstances when a different second language might appear (i.e. foreign sourced material).
Consider adding provisions for optional hazard class text on placards – see also marking/labeling.
Allow US placards for re-shipping road/rail within Canada. In addition to text issues, this would allow re-shipping with US Continue Reading…
Here’s the thing. I am a TV junkie. A huge amount of my time has been dedicated to researching new shows, setting them up on my DVR, and watching said shows. One that has my attention right now is “The Rookie” starring Nathan Fillion. In the show, he is a 40-year old rookie cop in Los Angeles. It has my attention for multiple reasons aside from the obvious. The main REGULATORY one is the fact that every officer on the show wears a body camera. It got me to thinking … surely those body cameras come with rechargeable batteries. If so, what happens when in the course of the show, one of those cameras is damaged? My brain then jumped to what about workers who wear battery powered devices.
Believe it or not, OSHA recently published in their newsletter an article called, “Preventing Fire and/or Explosion Injury from Small and Wearable Lithium Battery Powered Devices”. You can find the article at https://www.osha.gov/dts/shib/shib011819.html.
In this article, they do a good job describing batteries and cells as well as how they work. There is also a lengthy section on lithium battery hazards including what can cause enough damage to create fire and explosion risks. These include such things as physical impacts, usage/storing at temperatures too high or too low and failure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
The US Postal Service is taking a positive step to improve the safety of liquid packaging shipments. This step is significant, as the industry will begin to incorporate some components of UN 4GV combination packaging requirements among a wide variety of changes soon to be implemented. Here at ICC, we help you understand what these changes are and provide the solutions that ensure you meet these new stringent requirements.
The Postal Service has observed that a significant percentage of liquid spills results from mailers misinterpreting the existing packaging requirements for liquids, thinking their non-metal containers are not breakable. However, non-metal containers (i.e., plastic, glass, earthenware, etc.) are often the source of liquid spills in Postal Service networks. As a result, on July 9th of 2018, the US Postal Service proposed a new rulemaking on standards for mail pieces containing liquids. There was a comment period requesting public feedback on the proposed rules until September 18, 2018.
The proposed rule addressed two components:
Clarification of existing language that specified packaging and markings for mail pieces that contain liquids in containers greater than 4 fluid ounces; and
Extending the triple-packaging requirement for breakable primary containers with 4 ounces or less.
What are the Changes and the Compliance Solutions?
Effective on March 28, 2019, the adopted changes published in the final rule include:
Every now and then as a trainer I get a question that appears to come out of nowhere. When those happen, classes become quite lively. These questions can happen before training starts, as it is happening or even after we are done. The human brain is a pretty amazing organ that way.
One case in particular happened after a training occurred last April. Yes, even a year later, we still provide Regulatory Support to our customer via our Customer Service line. To set the stage, this particular company took our 49CFR class. The class goes through all the steps needed to transport a hazardous substance correctly and within compliance of 49CFR. Now, we didn’t spend very much time on classifying materials in that courses simply because by this point you know what you are shipping and just need training on how to do that. Class went along without a hitch.
Fast forward now to last week and I received an email. The gist of the email is as follows:
We have a product that is both flammable and corrosive and are having trouble getting both hazard class labels to fit on the box. Can we use the Precedence Table in 173.2a to label the product as just a class 3 and omit the class 8 label?
What’s odd about this particular question is our standard transport class which this company Continue Reading…
Much like Sheryl Crow sang, “A change, could do you good”, at least one would hope. When it comes to PHMSA, change is aimed at improving an already existing process, or adding a new process we can all benefit from. So in this case, I believe Sheryl Crow is right.
With that being said, The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), recently issued a final rule that requires railroads to create and submit Comprehensive Oil Spill Response Plans for route segments traveled by High Hazard Flammable Trains also called HHFTs. The rule applies to these trains that are transporting petroleum oil in a block of 20 or more loaded tank cars and trains that have a total of 35 loaded petroleum oil tank cars.
Why the Change?
Incidents involving crude oil can have devastating consequences to local communities and the environment. Countering these effects on the environment can take between a few weeks to many years, depending on the damage caused. For this reason, fast and effective response is essential to rail accidents containing oil. The 174-page final rule is designed to improve the response readiness and decrease the effects of rail accidents and incidents involving petroleum oil and a flammable train. The agency said the rule also is needed due to expansion in U.S. energy production having led to “significant challenges for the Continue Reading…