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…
Part 1 – The Importance of Training for Regulatory Compliance
Training is an eternal problem that has been going on for so many years. I started my career in 1999, and at that time the regulations did not help us to define our needs for training requirements regarding the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (TDGR). It is fair to state that in many ways, we are not that much further ahead today.
It is essential to understand which sections of the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations apply to your business to define whether or not your company should have a training program, and determine who in the company should receive training, what needs to be covered, the frequency of training, and how long the training needs to be for maximum effectiveness.
This blog is one of a series that will try to make it as clear as possible and help your process to establish the training needs for your employees.
We start by asking ourselves relevant questions that we will answer with regulatory sections and afterward, I will attempt to explain accurately and guide you to the best solution for your business.
Before I begin, I would like to clarify the term ”Transportation”. When Transport Canada uses the term transportation it is to include any activity that relates to the request for transportation by all modes of transport (contacting a carrier Continue Reading…
The main part of my job is to train companies, workers, handlers, and the like on how to manage hazardous materials or hazardous chemicals safely. This can be done under the umbrella of the transport regulations of 49CFR, IATA, and IMDG, or under the OSHA HazCom standard. However, not everyone is going to take one of my courses. Sad, but true.
Granted all of those folks do their jobs well and use marks, labels, placards, and safety data sheets to convey information about their products to other users. But it begs the question, how is the general public made aware of the “other” dangers or poisons out there? Think about the laundry pod scare recently to make my point.
Back in 1962, the first-ever National Poison Prevention Week was announced. In 2019, the week will be from March 17-23. Supported directly by the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC), the goal is to promote safety tips and the emergency services provided by the Poison Control Centers in the US.
To emphasize just how important Poison Control Centers are, take a look at some numbers from 2016 taken directly from the AAPCC website at www.aapcc.org.
There were 2,700,000 cases managed by the centers.
Someone called the centers every 14 minutes.
Over $1,800,000,000 saved in medicals costs.
For this year’s event, people are encouraged to use the hashtags #NPPW19, #PreventPoison, and #PoisonHelp. Continue Reading…
Every year at this time training is busy at ICC. It happens for various reasons. The one that causes it most often is companies are due. As we know each transport regulation has a training requirement to it. Many decide to do all transport training at one time which is great.
Here’s the rub though. To me, 49CFR is always just a few steps behind all of the other transport regulations. I get the whole rulemaking process but it is frustrating to constantly have to explain or mention times when the US ground regulations don’t align with other international ones. When you add lithium batteries to the mix, it just complicates things even more.
For once, efforts are being made to catch up with all of the other regulations. On Wednesday, February 27, the Department of Transportation published HM-224I which is an Interim Final Rule (IFR) centered around transporting lithium batteries. Take note, this is a final rule with no advanced notice and was not open to comment. Comments will still be accepted and reviewed which could cause amendments later on but for now, this is what is required. DOT believes this IFR was “necessary to address an immediate safety hazard” presented when shipping lithium batteries.
So, what changes did this IFR bring in to the regulations? Let’s take a look.
HM-224I: Enhanced Safety Provisions for Lithium Batteries
One of the most frustrating issues with shipping dangerous goods is finding a carrier that will transport the goods. When a client contacts us for repackaging services, besides the DG information, I always ask if they have arranged a carrier to transport their goods. Most of the time it’s a “no”. Then I get started with what their options are; ground or air.
For shipments going from Canada to the US, believe it or not, it is easier to ship by air than ground. Of course, it does depend on the quantity being shipped and whether the DG is allowed for air transport. It is definitely more cost-effective to send anything via ground than air; however, that is not always true especially for small DG shipments. I have been told that sending a small, e.g., 20 lbs, DG package by air will cost about the same as sending it via ground.
Carriers such as FedEx and Purolator do not haul DG packages from Canada to the US via ground service. They do offer air but not ground. UPS which offers both air and ground does transport certain dangerous goods (just check for limitations on the UN# being shipped on UPS’s website under “UPS Dangerous Goods Acceptance Tool” prior to shipping) from Canada to the US but you must have a DG account set up with them.
Sometimes no matter how many precautions you take, there is no way to stop the inevitable. Football players with helmets designed to protect their brains still get concussions. You cross every “t” and dot every “i” on your federal income tax return and you still get audited. And sometimes even if you follow all of the safety tips for lithium ion batteries in my previous blog, they still can explode. http://blog.thecompliancecenter.com/safety-tips-for-lithium-ion-batteries/
However, by not taking the proper preventative measures in all of the cases listed above, the chances of a negative outcome can be greatly increased. With the travel season looking to pick-up in the coming months and many of us looking to hop on a plane and head out to our idea of paradise, I think it is safe to say that none of us want to end up in a situation like the story below.
Just like any other domestic flight, passengers on a Delta flight in New York City were stowing their carry on items in the overhead storage bins and preparing for take-off for a scheduled departure to Houston, Texas. Suddenly, passengers started to smell something burning, similar to the smell of a camp-fire. It was at that point that passengers started to see smoke in the cabin and begin panicking. The panic was caused by a vape pen that started smoldering Continue Reading…
Welcome back to the Regulatory Helpdesk where we answer your dangerous goods & hazmat questions. We’re here to help you become independent with – and understand the whys and hows of – the regulations.
Q. Customer called and asked if their company name was required to be printed on the new lithium battery mark when shipping by ground within the U.S.
A. No, that is not a requirement. Per 173.185 (c) (3) (i), it states the following must be printed on the label: The “*” must be replaced by the appropriate UN number(s) and the “**” must be replaced by a telephone number for additional information.
Q. Regarding Canadian address/phone number, do you know how a wholesaler company can market in Canada without a Canadian address? For obvious reasons, there will be multiple suppliers that could be selling our products.
A. This situation could be covered by the Hazardous Products Regulation (HPR) s. 5.9(2) or 5.15(1).
The requirement for having a label with the (Canadian) initial supplier identifier is invoked by the Act (HPA) s. 14b).
HPR s. 5.9(2) allows an employer to import with only the foreign supplier identifier on an otherwise compliant label if it’s for use in their own workplace.
HPR s. 5.15(1) exempts importers from having a compliant label as long as they can prove (5.15(2)) that they will ensure it’s labeled legally before it’s Continue Reading…
In an effort to continuously improve the quality
and performance of our UN packaging, we occasionally must make changes to the
specifications and usage instructions. This notice is to inform you that the
following changes have been made to BX-24DU
The clear tape required for closure of this packaging has changed from 2 strips of 3M #305 48mm wide clear tape to 1 strip of 3M #375 48mm wide clear tape. This change to a stronger tape caused the box to perform better in drop tests, resulting in a more secure packaging.
If you have any questions or concerns, please
contact our customer relations center in the US at 888-442-9628 or in Canada at
With another government shutdown possibly looming again in the United States in mid-February, many are wondering how this affects the hazardous materials world, specifically those looking to ship domestically or shipments that are entering the U.S. Whether or not you agree or disagree with the shutdown, I think it is safe to say we can all agree on the importance of the continuing enforcement of the hazardous materials regulations. So the million dollar question here is, will the government shutdown have an effect on PHMSA? The short answer here, for the time being, is yes, but not in all cases. While activities like program developments, research, and HMR permits have generally been suspended, enforcement of the regulations and investigations have continued. Below is a list of continuing operations and suspended activities while this government shutdown continues to take place.
Summary of Continuing Operations
• Investigations of pipeline accidents to determine the causes and circumstances of failure, the need for corrective action, and any non-compliance that might have contributed to the accident.
• Inspections of pipeline operators and systems to detect and remediate safety concerns and determine compliance with the pipeline safety regulations.
• Enforcement of the pipeline safety regulations through corrective action orders, notices of probable violations, letters of warning and other authorized enforcement activities.
• Investigations of hazardous materials accidents to determine the causes and circumstances of failure, the need Continue Reading…
If your business is like most, you don’t usually deal with shipping explosives in Class 1. However, this class sometimes shows up in places you’d least expect it. While it’s expected to deal with explosives in construction, mining, and the military, you can also find explosives in unexpected products such as toys (caps for cap guns), pyrotechnics for stage and movie productions, and animal tracking collars (some use explosive bolts to free the animal so it doesn’t have to make a permanent fashion statement).
Shipping explosives can be more complex than many other classes of dangerous goods. They are subject to other regulations, such as the Explosives Act, and may require special licensing depending on what type they are. In addition, they are often excluded from some of the common exemptions found in Canada’s Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (TDGR). For example, explosives can’t use the Limited Quantity exemption of section 1.17, or the Excepted Quantity exception found in section 1.17.1. Some low-level explosives may qualify for the 150 Kilogram Gross Mass Exemption in section 1.15 and the 500 Kilogram Gross Mass Exemption in section 1.16, but only if they fall into certain divisions, compatibility groups or UN numbers. You’ll need to read each exemption closely to ensure that your particular explosive will qualify.
To balance things out, TDGR does contain some provisions for shipping small amounts of low-level Continue Reading…