ICAO
ICAO Issues Updated State Variation Addendum for 2017

Cargo loading on aircraft

Updated State Variations

International shippers of dangerous goods by air have one advantage over shippers by other modes. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) includes in its Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air a list of “state variations”. These indicate which countries have additional restrictions and requirements placed upon dangerous goods traveling to, from, or through those countries. Being aware of such variations can save shippers significant time and money – if your goods must travel through, say, Norway, your shipment might be stopped or even seized if Norwegian regulations don’t allow it.

Of course, as regulations and related information develop over time, these variations will change, sometimes faster than the actual Technical Instructions themselves. On May 19th, ICAO published an addendum to the state variations that were published in the 2017-2018 edition of the Technical Instructions. While there have not been a lot of changes, some of these are significant for shippers who must obtain permits or exemptions from state authorities, and one eases the requirements for shipping engines by aircraft in the United States.

The changed variations in the Addendum include the following:

Belgium – Variations BE1 specifies the regulation in which to find the Belgian definition of “explosive.” BE2 gives new contact numbers for the government department responsible for prior authorization for shipments of explosives, while BE4 gives new contact numbers for authorization of radioactive substances. Finally, variation BE5, regarding approvals for dangerous goods carriers, has been deleted

Germany – DE4 gives new contact information for applications for exemptions.

Italy – IT5 updates requirements for obtaining authorization for shipping explosives, weapons, and ammunition to, from, or through Italy.

Saudi Arabia – SA4 gives new contact details when applying for prior permission for shipping explosives and munitions of war through that country.

United States – UN3258 (Engine, internal combustion, flammable liquid powered or Engine, fuel cell, flammable liquid powered or Machinery, internal combustion, flammable liquid powered or Machinery, fuel cell, flammable liquid powered) and UN3259 (Engine, internal combustion, flammable gas powered or Engine, fuel cell, flammable gas powered or Machinery, internal combustion, flammable gas powered or Machinery, fuel cell, flammable gas powered) are no longer considered subject to the loading restrictions in the variation US13(d). This will make load planning easier for airlines.

The full list of ICAO state variations (including the updates) can be found at:
https://www.icao.int/safety/DangerousGoods/Pages/StateVariationPage.aspx

If you have questions about the worldwide transport of dangerous goods by air, please contact our regulatory staff at ICC Compliance Center at 1.888.977.4834 (Canada) or 1.888.442.9628 (USA).

Lithium
IATA Issues Guidance for “Smart Luggage”

luggage at an airport

The Problem with Smart Luggage

Some of you may remember the old credit card commercial that featured the epic journey of a self-propelled suitcase seeking its lost owner. Well, it turns out this wasn’t so entirely fantastic. There’s a new generation of “smart luggage” hitting the market that can tell airlines electronically who it belongs to and where it’s going, trail after you down airport hallways without a handle, and charge your cellphone if you can’t make it to one of those electrical outlets airports seem to hide on purpose. Some will even double as transport devices themselves, allowing travelers to zip around terminals on their own electric suitcase-scooters.

But these modern technologies come with a problem that’s often overlooked. The energy sources for all these seemingly-magical functions are usually lithium batteries. Lithium batteries are one of the main causes of fires related to dangerous goods on aircraft. So travelling with the newest piece of high tech luggage can bring headaches both for the traveller and the airline he or she flies on.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has for many years established rules for equipment containing lithium batteries carried by passengers or crew, but dangerous luggage is a new area. To help, they’ve published a guidance document that covers the dangers associated with such luggage, and instructions on how it can be carried safely.

The document lists various types of “smart luggage” that may include lithium batteries, including:

  • Lithium ion battery and motor allowing it to be used as a personal transportation device, either as a stand-up scooter, or sit on vehicle. These devices do not meet the criteria of a mobility device.
  • Lithium ion battery power bank that allows charging of other electronic devices such as mobile phones, tablets and laptops.
  • GPS tracking devices with or without GSM capability.
  • Bluetooth, RFID and Wi-Fi capability.
  • Electronic baggage tags.
  • Electronic locks.
  • Lithium ion battery, motor and tracking device (GPS) allowing the bag to self-propel and “follow” the owner.

Such items are classified by IATA as “portable electronic devices” (PEDs). While PEDs have been covered by the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations section 2.3 when carried by passengers or crew, the new devices present some extra problems.

The Guidance Document covers topics such as:

  • When do PEDs require pre-approval by airlines?
  • What special requirements apply for devices such as luggage trackers, which must be kept active during transport?
  • Can powered luggage be carried as “lithium batteries contained in equipment”
  • How should airline staff handle lithium battery-powered luggage at the gate and during loading?
  • How should flight crew handle on-board fires involving PEDs?

Owners of PED luggage should be aware that travelling with them may be more difficult than, say, carrying a cellphone on an airplane. IATA has declared that, “no lithium battery contained in a bag may be considered as ‘installed in equipment.'” This means that the battery would not be permitted as checked baggage. Instead, you would have to remove the battery and take it a carry-on item. (Spare batteries and power banks are only permitted as carry-on luggage.)

IATA says:

Any PED equipped with a power bank offered as checked baggage must have the power bank removed prior to being checked-in. The power bank must then be carried in the passenger’s carry-on baggage where permitted by security regulations… Where a bag intended to be carried in the cabin is surrendered at the boarding gate or on the aircraft to be loaded in the cargo compartment the passenger should be asked if the bag contains any spare lithium batteries, including power banks. Where it is identified that there are spare lithium batteries or power banks, the passenger must remove them from the bag before it can be loaded into the cargo compartment. The spare battery / power bank must then be carried in the cabin, where permitted by security regulations.

Expect to see airlines start to promote awareness of the hazards of battery-powered luggage, and to inquire at check-in if your luggage contains lithium batteries.

Despite their inherent dangers, we can’t help but think self-powered luggage is has an undeniable “cool factor”. IATA has included links to several manufacturers in the guidance document as examples of equipment the airlines may expect to see over the next few years, and you might want to check them out. Is it time to reinvent the suitcase?

If you have questions about shipping lithium batteries or battery-powered equipment, call us here at ICC Compliance Center 1.888.977.4834 (Canada) or 1.888.442.9628 (USA).

railroad crossing
AAR Publishes New Edition of “Field Guide to Tank Cars”

Field guide to tank cars

AAR’s Field Guide to Tank Cars Download

Are you a birdwatcher who’s spotted every owl and thrush, and wants to move on to a new field of study? Are you a model train hobbyist who wants to make sure your HO scale equipment accurately reflects modern regulations? Or are you a safety professional who deals with bulk dangerous goods in tank cars? If your answer to any of those questions is “yes,” the American Association of Railways (AAR) has published something that will make identifying a TC-111A100W5 or DOT-117R100W as easy as telling a Mourning Warbler from a Laughing Gull.

AAR’s Field Guide to Tank Cars, by Andy Elkins, is a resource for rail workers and particularly for emergency responders. Tank cars come in many varieties, and handling them safely or responding to spills means that you must know what type of car is involved. The Field Guide has been updated for its third edition to reflect current regulations and standards, which have changed over the past decade due to incidents such as the Lac-Mégantic explosion in Quebec.

Types of Tank Cars

The Field Guide starts with a discussion of the basic types of tank cars – non-pressurized tank cars (also known as “general service” or “low-pressure” cars), pressure tank cars for products such as liquid propane and cryogenic liquid tank cars, used for gases that are liquefied at low temperature, such as liquid oxygen. After explaining the DOT (U.S. Department of Transportation), TC (Transport Canada), and AAR tank car classes and specifications, author Andy Elkins goes on to discuss how to interpret specification markings, assisted with a helpful diagram of a typical mark.

Safety Systems

Next, the guide covers the safety systems found in tank cars, such as Pressure Relief Devices (PRDs), and the markings that must be displayed on tank cars to identify qualification specifics, such as the Thickness Test. Further sections deal with additional details about the various car types, illustrated with clear technical diagrams and photographs. This arrangement makes it an excellent resource for non-experts who want a quick summary of tank car marking and safety, as well as a good in-depth guide for those who need to know details of the fittings and safety devices for specific commodities such as chlorine or crude oil.

The guide includes an Annex covering recent changes relating to tank cars in North America, such as Transport Canada’s Protective Directions #34 and 38, and the “FAST Act” amendments to 49 CFR.

Use of This Guide

This guide would be a useful introduction for anyone who ships dangerous goods (or even non-dangerous commodities) in tank cars. While the “Hazardous Materials Regulations” of 49 CFR (in the U.S.) and the “Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations” (in Canada) are the controlling regulations, their tendency to cross-reference standards often makes it hard to pull together a full picture of requirements for selection and marking. The guide arranges information in a clear, logical flow, and the illustrations prove that pictures are really worth a thousand words.

The best part? The Field Guide to Tank Cars is available as a free PDF download from the AAR site.

Have questions about shipping hazardous materials by rail, or by any other mode? Contact our regulatory staff here at ICC Compliance Center 1.888.977.4834 (Canada) or 1.888.442.9628 (USA).

ICC Trade Shows and Events
ICC Speakers Present at Dangerous Goods Conference

Trade Shows and Events

2nd Dangerous Goods Conference

On April 28, 2017, IDC Technologies held their second Dangerous Goods Conference in Mississauga, Ontario. Two of our regulatory staff from ICC were among the presenters during a day of informative sessions that covered transportation, environmental, and safety aspects of the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (TDG).

ICC Regulatory Consultant Clifton Brown presented his study of the effect the current lithium battery regulations are having on air safety, with a look over the history of accidents involving these batteries since they were first introduced in the early 1990s. Clifton did a lot of sifting through reports from government and industry sources to conclude that the regulations on lithium batteries have a way to go to make them a negligible hazard. Perhaps by the time they are, we’ll have invented safer methods of energy storage.

Clifton Brown and Barbara Foster at DGC 2017
Clifton Brown and Barbara Foster at DGC 2017

I presented an overview of the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) changes to health and safety regulations, and whether the GHS Purple Book has achieved worthwhile harmonization in the same way as the UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (the Orange Book). Unfortunately, we’ll have to deal with a lot of disharmonization remaining in the short term (such as the differences on dealing with environmental hazards between North America and Europe). However, the Orange Book has, slowly but surely, led regulators to remove many of these impediments to international transportation. Let’s hope the Purple Book serves as a good signpost to true harmonization.

Other Speakers Present:

  • Dale Gration, Manager of Transportation of Dangerous Goods Ontario Region, Transport Canada, gave an interesting summary of current and upcoming Transport Canada amendments to the Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) Regulations.
  • Pierre Boies, President of Gestion Sécure P. Boies Inc. spoke on the effects of the Air Cargo Security Program. Pierre discussed general requirements as well as security aspects for dangerous goods.
  • Mark Roehler, Principle, LEHDER Environmental Services Ltd, gave his perspective on the similarities, as well as considerable differences, in classification of hazardous waste under the environmental regulations as compared to TDG. He gave special attention to classification under Ontario’s Regulation 347, but stressed that each province has its unique features.
  • Michel Hachey, Chief Technical Communicator, MG Chemicals, took a chemist’s look at the environmental effects of toxic metals in the environment. Many metals may be marine pollutants for transportation, but the classification can depend on multiple factors such as the size of the metal particles. As a chemistry major, I found this session particularly interesting.
  • Amber Rushton, National Manager, Emergency Management Lead of the Ontario Association of Emergency Managers, OAEM, took us through the role of the professional emergency manager. The emergency manager, she stressed, is an essential part of a coordinated emergency response effort, helping all parts of the system function effectively together.
  • Finally, Greg Fulford of Nordion addressed the unique requirements for transporting Class 7 radioactives, which involves combining TDG with other regulations such as the “Packaging and Transportation of Radioactive Substances Regulations.” When it comes to regulatory oversight, it appears some classes of dangerous goods are more equal than others, and Class 7 is the most equal of them all.

A Fun and Useful Experience

There were a couple of aspects that made this conference more fun and useful than many others. First, IDC not only provided copies of the presenters’ programs, but requested presenters to put their findings into a written paper. Both the papers and the PowerPoint presentations were assembled into a handy softbound book, rather than the standard binder. Even better, presenters were encouraged to make their presentations interactive by including activities for the audience. I was called upon by Greg Fulford to help assemble a box of mock radioactives, only to flub the security tape part. Hint for those using it – get someone to help you by holding the box flaps down. Once the tape is on, it will tell if you try to reposition it – no second chances allowed.

We’re grateful to IDC for inviting us to participate in this conference. If you’re looking for information on upcoming trends in the transportation of dangerous goods, you might want to consider attending next time it’s offered. For a one-day session, the selection of topics was excellent and the speakers were all well-informed as well as skilled at presentation.

If you have questions about dangerous goods, please contact ICC Compliance Center at 1-888-977-4834 (Canada) or 1-888-442-9628 (USA).

Lithium
What Does the Laptop Ban Mean for Travelers?

Cargo loading on aircraft

Recent Airline Laptop Ban

On March 25, 2017, the United States government implemented a ban on passengers bringing carry-on electronic devices such as laptops on board certain airlines. This ban will affect electronics that exceed the size of a cellphone—typical products that will be banned include laptop computers, tablets such as the iPad and Android versions, gaming devices larger than a cellphone, DVD players, and portable printers and scanners. These devices may still be carried by travelers, but must be stowed in checked luggage during the flight. Medical devices will be exempted from the restrictions.

The ban affects flights leaving from ten airports in eight Middle Eastern countries.

Airports Involved in the Ban:

  • Abu Dhabi International Airport, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
  • Ataturk International Airport, Istanbul, Turkey
  • Cairo International Airport, Cairo, Egypt
  • Dubai International Airport, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  • Hamad International Airport, Doha, Qatar
  • King Abdulaziz International Airport, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  • King Khalid International Airport, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • Kuwait International Airport, Kuwait City, Kuwait
  • Mohammed V Airport, Casablanca, Morocco
  • Queen Alia International Airport, Amman, Jordan

The ban affects flights of the following airlines leaving from any airports listed above:

  • EgyptAir
  • Emirates
  • Etihad Airways
  • Kuwait Airways
  • Qatar Airways
  • Royal Air Maroc
  • Royal Jordanian Airlines
  • Saudia
  • Turkish Airlines

The ban is intended to only apply to direct flights from these locations to the U.S., which would total just about 50 flights a day. If a traveler were to make a connection, say, in Frankfurt or Paris, the ban would not apply. (One imagines some very jealous passengers watching others enjoying their electronic entertainment simply because they boarded at a different airport.)

Why a Ban?

The exact concerns that triggered the ban is not clear. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has cited a “sophisticated” laptop bomb involved in an incident on board a Daallo Airlines flight in 2016. This new development in explosive devices could, it’s feared, be smuggled past security in countries with laxer procedures for inspecting carry-on baggage. If a powerful bomb could be hidden in a relatively small device, it would make detection difficult.

But why permit these potentially lethal devices in checked baggage? It appears that intelligence believes that such devices would require direct triggering, rather than a timer or remote control. In the cargo compartment these devices would be electronically isolated from commands by Bluetooth or similar means, and they would probably be too small to include an effective timer. In addition, such devices would, due to their small size, have a relatively small explosive radius. By requiring them to be checked, terrorists may be prevented from positioning the bombs in an effective manner. Other experts claim that the ban would do little to prevent a bomb from being detonated in an aircraft hold.

To add to the confusion, the United Kingdom (UK) has created its own list of fourteen restricted airlines, only four of which are on the U.S. list. Canada is also contemplating implementing a similar ban. Canadian Minister of Transport Marc Garneau has discussed the ban with Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, but no restrictions affecting Canada have yet been announced.

Does the Ban Introduce New Dangers to Aircraft?

Protecting air travel against terrorism and protecting against hazardous materials sometimes are clashing goals. After the “shoe bombing” incident, DHS started to ban matches and lighters in carry-on baggage. They advised travellers that they should put these goods in their checked luggage, apparently unaware that this would put the travellers in violation of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules banning such articles.

The problem with electronic devices is that they generally contain lithium batteries. Such batteries have caused multiple incidents on aircraft due to their tendency to overheat and catch fire if damaged or improperly handled. Travellers can consult the Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR), published by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for guidance on carrying electronic devices that contain lithium batteries.

According to Table 2.3.A, Provisions for Dangerous Goods Carried by Passengers or Crew, “[p]ortable electronic devices containing lithium metal or lithium ion cells or batteries, including medical devices such as portable oxygen concentrators (POC) and consumer electronics such as cameras, mobile phones, laptops and tablets, when carried by passengers or crew for personal use (see 2.3.5.9)” are allowed as carry-on or as checked baggage. However, the provision goes on to note “[f]or lithium metal batteries the lithium metal content must not exceed 2 g and for lithium ion batteries the Watt-hour rating must not exceed 100 Wh.” These levels are usually met by consumer electronics, but it is a good idea to check the manufacturer’s specifications to be sure.

A further requirement is that when such devices are put in checked baggage passenger must take measures to prevent unintentional activation. While most such devices protect the on/off switch by their design, some (such as the iPad) could be turned on during flight by bumping the power button, and must therefore be cushioned in some manner to prevent this.

In the past, airlines have recommended that portable electronics be kept in the passenger compartment. Lithium battery fires can get out of control in the hold of an aircraft, while in the passenger compartment trained flight crews can quickly access the device and extinguish it. Placing more consumer electronics in inaccessible holds will, ironically, increase the risk from lithium fires.

Spending hours on overseas flights without our digital assistants for work and play would be much different from the experience most travellers have come to take for granted. The U.S. ban on portable electronics is currently temporary, due to expire in October, but much will depend on what happens over the next few months. If a legitimate threat is found, the ban could well become permanent or spread to other airlines and departure points. Additionally, the risk of terrorist attack must be balanced against the threat of lithium battery fires in aircraft holds.

As always, the airlines may have their own standards or ways of implementing these rules. If you have an electronic device that you wish to fly with, and you’re planning a trip that would be affected by the ban, consult with the airline in advance. They can confirm if, say, the new Nintendo Switch handheld console is an acceptable size.

Are you planning on travelling with portable electronic devices, and need to know how to do it safely? Our regulatory staff at ICC Compliance Center will be happy to help. Just contact us at 1.888.442-.628 (USA) or 1.888.977.4834 (Canada).

Deer Crossing Sign
Are Highway Warning Signs Effective?

How Well Do Driving Safety Signs Work?

A few years ago, someone wrote an irate letter to his local newspaper about the deer warning signs put up on a local highway. He couldn’t understand why they were always on busy highways. Wouldn’t it reduce accidents if the deer were told to cross smaller roads instead?

We may laugh, but the story does bring up an interesting point. Just how effective are traffic warning signs? They can be found wherever we travel, from the common “sharp curve ahead” to the more esoteric, such as the “moose warning” signs in Newfoundland. Highway safety departments consider them an important part of improving driving safety. But how well do they work?

Apparently, the answer is somewhere between “not great” and “we’re not sure.” There’s little research on the effectiveness of highway traffic signs and what there is shows that a surprising lack of effectiveness. For example, the Minnesota Department of Transportation has admitted:

“Signs that alert drivers to infrequent encounters or possible situations–such as deer crossing or children playing—do not have a consistent impact on driver behavior. Widespread use or misuse of warning signs reduces their overall effectiveness.”

Traffic and Why We Drive The Way We Drive

Tom Vanderbilt, author of Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), says:

“[D]rivers routinely see signs warning of deer crossings (in the United States) or elephant crossings (in Sri Lanka) or camel signs (in Tunisia). It is difficult to say what is going on in the mind of a driver whenever he or she sees a deer or elephant or camel crossing sign, but studies have shown that most drivers do not change their speed at all.”

Surprisingly little work has been put into studying the effectiveness of traffic signs, considering how they can be seen on every highway or busy city street. What studies have been done have not shown signage has a strong effect on reducing accidents in dangerous areas. In fact, many experts believe that the main purpose of traffic warning signs is not to reduce accidents but to provide liability protection for the government that posts them.

Why Aren’t They Successful?

So, why don’t traffic signs work like they should? Many reasons are likely at play. Marc Green, in his article The Psychology of Warnings says compliance with warning signs involves the driver making a cost-benefit analysis, where he or she balances the following factors:

  1. Cost of compliance – most traffic signs, in their most basic message, say “slow down, because something ahead is dangerous.” The driver will (consciously or not) factor in the inconvenience of being late, or their dislike of being slow, as part of the cost of compliance. Green notes this is a similar problem with product warning labels. “Increased time reading” can be seen as a “cost of compliance”. Who’s going to read an entire product label when there’s a rush job to be done?
  2. Danger perception – this is the old risk versus hazard issue. Most drivers will stop at stop signs, because they understand that if they don’t, they significantly increase their risk of getting hit. But if you drive a road for years and never see a deer, you may come to feel that even if the consequences of hitting a deer are high, the risk of that ever happening is low. Paradoxically, people who feel confident in their driving skills more likely to ignore such signs. Green points out “[o]ne of the ironies of warnings is that the more experienced and skilled the viewer, the stronger the familiarization effect and the more likely that the warning will be ignored. For example, diving team members are the most likely people to ignore “no diving” signs.” Further, herd behavior can be a factor; if everyone speeds, it appears to be safer than if everyone slows down.

Each driver will evaluate these two factors and make a (perhaps unconscious) decision to obey the sign or to ignore it and risk something nasty happening down the road.

Complying & Understanding

There are many ways safety experts are now working to determine what psychological factors make people decide to obey traffic signs. For example, the effectiveness of signs can be diluted if they appear everywhere, so signs may be posted only where significant hazards truly exist. Green mentions

“People have unconsciously learned the general rule that signs and signals grow in size and vividness with their importance, presumably so that they will be more readily seen. Viewers will then likely interpret warnings that are small, faint, or located peripherally as signaling lower risk.”

These factors apply to all drivers, but they also are an important issue for workplace and consumer safety labels. Designers of OSHA or WHMIS labels must, of course, comply with the regulations, but understanding the psychology of safety warnings is also important when trying to create an effective label design. The label must be able to persuade the reader that compliance is really the most cost-beneficial response. By studying what we’ve learned about highway signs, we can learn what psychological nuances improve the likelihood that users will comply with the label.

Fortunately, OSHA and WHMIS labels include precautionary phrases that specifically instruct the user in what to do to ensure safety, a feature sometimes lacking in traffic signs. For example, when confronted by a “falling rocks” sign, what should a driver do? Avoid the area? Wear a hard hat when going through the zone? And I was always perplexed on how drivers transversing a typical single-lane Scottish highway were expected to respond to the ominous warning on blind curves – “Oncoming traffic may be in centre of road” – that gave drivers no suggestion for how to negotiate the curve safely.

Have you seen any particularly effective or ineffective traffic signs? If so, let us know in the comment section. And if you have questions about labelling for workplace or transportation safety, contact ICC Compliance Center at 1.888.442.9628 (USA) or 1.888.977.4834 (Canada).

PHMSA Update
U.S. Final Rule HM-215N on International Harmonization Delayed

Regulatory Freeze Delays Final Rule HM-215N

The Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) of the Department of Transportation (DOT) has withdrawn a Final Rule that was intended to be published in the Federal Register on January 26.

The Final Rule, HM-215N, would have updated the U.S. “Hazardous Materials Regulations” to reflect international standards, improving U.S. abilities to import and export hazardous materials as well as reflecting improved safety standards. However, due to the new administration’s Regulatory Freeze executive memorandum, regulatory changes that had been sent to the Federal Register but not already approved must be immediately withdrawn for “review and approval” before being reissued. While the text of the Final Rule had already been published on PHMSA’s website on January 18th, it had not yet appeared in the Federal Register. The Regulatory Freeze took effect as of January 20.

Since this update is relatively non-controversial for stakeholders in the transportation industry, and will improve the ability of the United States to compete internationally, it is hoped that the review and approval time will be short. However, until the Final Rule can be published, the hazmat community must wait for the anticipated harmonization of U.S. regulations with international standards. These include proposed changes such as:

  • the adoption of the latest versions of the UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, the ICAO Technical Instruction’s on the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods, the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code and Canadian “Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations”;
  • the extension of Transport Canada equivalency certificates to the U.S. portions of transborder shipments;
  • a set of new shipping descriptions for products such as polymerizable substances;
  • a new special provision for substances that require stabilization during transport, enabling the use of temperature controls when chemical stabilization becomes ineffective;
  • change in the classification and hazard communication for uranium hexafluoride; and
  • the harmonization of lithium battery transport provisions, including the new Class 9 label and Lithium Battery Handling Mark. Fortunately, these new marks have a transition period in the ICAO Technical Instructions until 2019.

Right now PHMSA is unable to confirm when they can resubmit the Final Rule. It will, it’s hoped, be soon, so U.S. companies can establish a unified set of procedures for national and international shipments.

If you have questions about these proposed changes and how they can affect your operations, please contact ICC Compliance Center at 1.888.442.9628 (USA) or 1.888.977.44834 (Canada).

IMDG
Changes for IMDG Code 38th Edition

Next year signals the start of a new biennium for transportation of dangerous goods. Ocean shippers should take a look at what’s in store in the new International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG) which has been updated to reflect the most recent revisions of the UN Recommendation for the Transport of Dangerous Goods.

Compared to other regulations, the IMDG Code has a rather complex method of implementing changes. The IMDG Code 38th Edition was published in November of this year, so it will be referred to as the 2016 edition. However, the changes will not go into effect for 2016. Instead, shippers and carriers may start to use the new edition as of January 1, 2017. But a transition period of one year is given, so the changes are not mandatory until January 1, 2018. A new edition of the Code will be published near the end of 2018, but there will be another transition period of a year during which the 38th edition can still be used.

IMDG Transition Timeline
IMDG Transition Timeline

Think of it this way – during odd-numbered years you can use the current edition of the code, or the previous one. During even-numbered years, you must use the latest code published.

So, what changes can we expect for ocean shipment? It turns out that this biennium will not be one of massive changes, but will reflect adjustments and tweaks, as well as the introduction of a few new shipping descriptions. Here’s a list of the most significant changes for the 38th Edition.

  1. The classification sections for gases, flammable liquids, toxic substances and corrosives will now include definitions of materials prohibited from transport. These will be materials that can polymerize or decompose violently under the normal conditions of ocean transport.
  2. A new section 2.0.0.2, addresses when the shipper believes a named substance has hazards beyond those assigned by the regulations.
  3. In section 2.3.2.2, an alternate measurement of viscosity (using kinematic viscosity) can now be used in adjusting the packing group of viscous flammable liquids.
  4. A new type of flammable solid, called polymerizing substance, has been added to the classification criteria for Division 4.1.
  5. New shipping names have been added to the Dangerous Goods List in Volume 2. These include names for the new polymerizable substances (UN3531 to UN3534); new names for engines of various types, which have been split from vehicles (UN3528 to UN3550); and a new entry for polyester resin kits which have a solid, rather than liquid, base (UN3527).
  6. The new entries on the Dangerous Goods List have required the creation of new packing instructions for them.
  7. For UN1950, AEROSOLS, there is a new packing instruction, LP200, which will allow spray cans to be shipped in “large packagings” (combination packagings exceeding 450 Litres capacity per outer packaging.)
  8. New ISO standards have been incorporated into the packaging instructions for Class 2 gases.
  9. The “OVERPACK” marking has now been assigned a minimum letter height of 12 mm.
  10. Lithium batteries have changed in several ways to reflect new UN standards. First, the Code has introduced the new lithium battery handling mark, and the new lithium battery class 9 label. Both of these have a transition period of two years, and become mandatory in 2019. These are addressed in the revised Special Provision SP188 and the new SP384.
  11. Lithium batteries that are prototypes or low production samples have a new packing instruction, P910.

While shippers of dangerous goods by ocean have slightly longer to adapt to the new regulations than do air shippers, it’s important to remember that ocean shipments are usually longer as well. Don’t get caught out when your shipment suddenly becomes non-compliant mid-ocean.


If you have questions about the coming requirements for shipping dangerous goods by ocean, contact us here at ICC Compliance Center at 1-888-442-9628 (USA) or 1-888-977-44834 (Canada).

Lithium
FedEx Grants Extension on Lithium Battery Mark for Air Transport

New Lithium Battery Marks

The 58th Edition of the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations has introduced new package markings for air transport of lithium batteries. For fully-regulated (Section I) batteries the UN has introduced the dedicated lithium battery Class 9 label, showing a battery graphic in the lower half. For low-powered batteries that are exempted under Section II, IATA has introduced a new version of the Lithium Battery Handling label (the one marked “CAUTION”).

The new Lithium Battery Handling mark (no longer classified by IATA as a “label”) was designed to eliminate the text portion, making the mark no longer dependent on a specific language. Instead of using text to indicate type of battery, this mark will use the UN number, making it easy to identify the batteries no matter what language the handlers speak.

New Lithium Battery Mark and Pictogram

ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) and IATA (International Air Transport Association) intend this new handling mark and the new lithium battery Class 9 label to be phased in over the next two years, to become mandatory on January 1, 2019. This will allow people to use up old stocks, and train their staff to recognize the new symbols while still using the old ones.

FedEx Implementation

However, FedEx introduced a variation (FX-05 in the IATA DGR) that requires shippers to mark the UN number on Section II batteries as of January 1, 2017, two years before ICAO and IATA make it mandatory. This has caused concern among shippers who were not planning on changing to the text-free version so soon.

Therefore, FedEx has decided to extend the deadline for implementing the UN number requirement until July 1, 2017. At that point, the shipper must either change to the new handling mark, or start marking the UN number beside the old handling label (“CAUTION”). Of course, shippers have the option to comply immediately if they prefer.

FedEx notes that this would only be an issue for Section II batteries. Batteries shipped under section IB would require both the handling label (or mark), as well as the Class 9 label, shipping name and UN number as regular dangerous goods.


If you have questions about the coming requirements for shipping lithium batteries by air, contact us here at ICC Compliance Center at 1-888-442-9628 (USA) or 1-888-977-44834 (Canada).

PHMSA Update
U.S. Publishes Proposed Rule HM-215N on International Harmonization

It’s autumn — we’re surrounded by orange leaves and orange pumpkins, and children are thinking about Halloween. Regulators, on the other hand, are thinking about something else orange. A new edition of the Orange Book (the UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods) is out.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), under the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), has made a commitment that U.S. transportation will stay well-harmonized with international regulations. So, now that the 19th Edition of the Orange Book is upon us, we must prepare for changes to the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (49 CFR).

DOT’s rules on international harmonization can be identified by their HM-215 docket numbers. On September 7, 2016, PHMSA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking, HM-215N. This rulemaking is intended to harmonize the HMR with the latest regulations on hazardous materials, including:

  • 2017-2018 Edition of the International Civil Aviation Organization Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air (ICAO TI),
  • Amendment 38-16 to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG),
  • Canada’s “Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations” (TDG) up to an amendment incorporated on May 20, 2015,
  • 6th Revised Edition of the UN Manual of Test and Criteria, and
  • 6th Revised Edition of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).

What changes can we expect?

As always, PHMSA does not simply cut and paste from the latest Orange Book. Instead, it reviews how international changes will interact with current U.S. regulations, and attempts to balance harmonization with international requirements against specific U.S. safety concerns. Some of the major changes proposed will include:

Provisions for polymerizing substances – PHMSA will add to the Hazardous Materials Table (HMR), section 172.101, four entries for a new type of hazard called polymerizing substances in Division 4.1. They will also establish classification criteria defining what are polymerizing substances, specific packaging authorizations and safety requirements for these unstable materials. These requirements will include stabilization methods and operational controls.

Polymeric beads – PHMSA proposes to add a procedure for declassifying polymeric beads if they don’t give off dangerous amounts of flammable gas, based on the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria.

Modification of the marine pollutant list – The list of marine pollutants in Appendix B to the HMT is a remnant of an earlier system under which aquatic hazards were determined by environmental authorities such as MARPOL. The Orange Book has for some time used a system of classification criteria instead of the list. In other words, a marine pollutant in the Orange Book and the IMDG Code is any chemical that tests positive as an environmental hazard. PHMSA will maintain the old list as a starting point for classification, although it will allow the use of the IMDG criteria for chemicals not listed, and this amendment will update the list to reflect current knowledge of marine hazards.

Hazard communication for lithium batteries – Lithium batteries have remained a thorn in the side of hazmat shippers as well as regulators, as the international community still scrambles to establish a fool-proof method of transporting these items. Under the 19th Edition of the Orange Book and the ICAO TI for 2017-2018, a new Class 9 label specific for batteries has been introduced, as well as a new simplified Lithium Battery Handling mark for low-powered batteries. PHMSA plans to incorporate these to match. Also, the Lithium Battery Handling mark will made mandatory.

Engine, internal combustion/Machinery, internal combustion – Under this proposal, the entries existing for “Engine, internal combustion” would be assigned their own UN numbers and hazard class based on the type of fuel – for example, a gasoline engine would be put in Class 3, UN3528, while a propane-powered engine would be put in Division 2.1, UN3529. The entries for UN3166 will be eliminated.

Harmonization with Canadian regulations – PHMSA proposes to eliminate several costly and annoying areas of non-harmonization with Canadian TDG regulations that have been addressed by the U.S.-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC). PHMSA proposes to recognize cylinders approved under Transport Canada. Also, Canadian equivalency certificates (the Canadian term for permits for equivalent level of safety) may be used for shipments coming into the U.S., until the first destination. These changes will be made along with Transport Canada, who will amend TDG to give similar reciprocity for cylinders and permits regarding shipments coming into Canada.

PHMSA has already moved forward on some issues that the UN is only now addressing. For example, the proposal notes that while the Orange Book has created an exemption for ping-pong balls under the entry for UN 2000, Celluloid, PHMSA has already declared in a letter of interpretation that the U.S. does not consider such articles to “pose an unreasonable risk to health, safety or property during transportation.” This comes as a significant relief to those who enjoy a rousing game of table tennis.

You can view the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking at PHMSA’s rulemaking archive. Comments on the proposed changes may be received by November 7, 2016, by mail, fax, hand-delivery or the Federal Rulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov.


If you have any questions about these proposed changes and how they can affect your operations, please contact us here at ICC Compliance Center at 1-888-442-9628 (USA) or 1-888-977-4834 (Canada).