Many have heard the phrase, “Calling all cars” used in an emergency situation. The phrase references back to the old police radio days. It was used to call all patrol cars to help other officers. The phrase was the title for an old radio show back in the 1930’s, but also more recently as an episode of HBO’s “The Sopranos”.
How is that phrase being used here? The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has put out the call for input on ways to improve the Emergency Response Guidebook, or ERG. The new version is due for publication in 2020. To see the full notice go to https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2018-05-23/pdf/2018-11055.pdf
What is the ERG?
It is a booklet that provides technical information and advice for those responding to emergencies involving hazardous materials as defined in 49 CFR. It is used mainly by emergency personnel such as police, fire-fighters, paramedics or other emergency responders. First issued in 1973, PHMSA’s goal is for all emergency response folks to have immediate access to it. As time has progressed there is a free online version and a downloadable app. Other countries may also have their own versions of the ERG. It is updated every 4 years.
It is broken down by the following color-coded sections:
White pages – At the start of the booklet, gives the instructions for how to use it and Continue Reading…
If you have followed my blogs for any length of time you know both my husband and myself are in the safety field. Several of our friends are as well. Inevitably when we are together the talk will come back to work. Of particular interest are the safety issues we notice on a daily basis. It could be people not wearing the appropriate PPE or standing on a stool to reach something in a cabinet. We then get into some of the unsafe things we see outside of work. This includes drivers on cell phones. By the end of the conversation, we are simply bewildered at how unaware people are about safety.
Take heart though, there is a month dedicated to the safety cause. June is National Safety Month. This year’s theme is “No 1 Gets Hurt”.
The National Safety Council (NSC) has outlined topics for each week of the month to be used at work and home. They even provide free downloadable resources in English and Spanish for each topic upon signup. I encourage you to do so as the resources are great. The link to the NSC site can be found here. Right in the middle of the page is a link for you to get your own materials. All you have to do is register. Let’s take a look at each Continue Reading…
Back in the 14th century, sailing ships were a primary means of trading goods. To protect goods on these vessels they were insured against loss or damage. The best news for the insurance companies was to receive word that the ship had returned “safe and sound”. The word “safe” was an indication of all crew members were accounted for without injury. The word “sound” told the company the ship had not suffered any serious damage. Since then we continue to use the phrase in our daily life.
The week of August 13-19 has been designated as Nationwide Safe + Sound Week for 2018. The week is presented by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), National Safety Council, American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) just to name a few. The goal is to “raise awareness and understanding of the value of safety and health programs“. All business and companies are encouraged to participate because “safe workplaces are sound business“.
The Core Elements of Safe + Sound Week
The focus of the week is on three core elements. It covers management leadership, worker participation and find and fix hazards.
Management leadership is a demonstrated commitment at the highest levels of an organization to safety and health. It means that business owners, executives, managers, and supervisors make safety Continue Reading…
Here are three new acronyms for you to keep in mind during the month of May. There is NEC which is for the National Electric Code. Next is ESFI an acronym representing the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI). Finally, there is NESM used for National Electrical Safety Month which just so happens to be in May. Now that we know what they stand for, let’s talk about what they do or mean.
The NEC is a standard used for safely installing wiring and equipment. Many people know it as NFPA 70 – a part of the National Fire Protection Association. While not a legally binding standard it is used by many to set safe practices for those using or working with electricity. The NEC is updated every 3 years and is usually adopted by a state or city.
ESFI is a foundation that was created in 1994 to promote electrical safety in all areas of life including the home and workplace. They work with corporations and the public to prevent electrical fires and injuries. This is done by providing educational tools, materials and resources. They have information on general electrical safety, electric shock drowning and overhead power lines.
Learning a new transport regulation is tough. Even if you are familiar with other modes, learning the intricacies of a new one is difficult. In our courses, we spend a good deal of time going over a basic shipping description (ISHP) and breaking down each part of it.
Time is also spent on UN versus ID numbers, proper shipping names, hazard classes, and packing groups. We also bring in the Dangerous Goods List (DGL) and talk about where to find the ISHP. This leads to a discussion on technical names, aircraft types, and other symbols shown in the DGL. Eventually we land on the topic of Special Provisions in Column M.
We explain these are additional requirements for any given entry or as I like to call it – the curve balls. Some are helpful and relieve parts of the regulation while others complicate it.
Note – If you ship dangerous goods and are having some trouble with the terms used above, you may need training.
New Special Provisions
IATA added some new Special Provisions a few years ago that cause additional stress for new shippers. I am referring to the A800 series. There are 5 special provisions there starting with A801 and going up to A805. So, what is the big deal with these and new shippers? If we take a moment to look at each one, you’ll see why Continue Reading…
Every country has superstitions. Those beliefs or notions that while irrational and not scientific seem to persist in society. They can impact how people respond to situations at home and even at work. In honor of Friday, April 13th, let’s take a look at a few and how they might impact safety.
Superstition #1: Fear of Friday the 13th
People cite multiple reasons for being afraid of this date every year. Some trace it back to the Christian religion and the belief Jesus died on a Friday and there were 13 guests at the Last Supper. Others say this day coincides with the arrest of so many Knights Templar. Those skilled fighters tasked with escorting people to and from the Holy Land. Some still have nightmares from Jason in his hockey mask from the movies around this date.
Regardless of the history, there is nothing in any of the safety or transport regulations that says this date should be avoided. If you need a day off, follow your company policy and do it by the book. For those trivia buffs out there, the fear of the number 13 and/or this date is known as paraskevidekatriaphobia and friggatriskaidekaphobia. One is of Greek derivation the other is Norse.
Superstition #2: Do Not Walk Under Ladders
This one stems from either the Christian religion and the idea of the Holy Trinity or ancient Egyptian and the shape of Continue Reading…
No one wants to talk about their weight. Ever. In the world of transport though, you have no choice. You are required to list on your transport paperwork some sort of weight, mass, or volume. The trick is to know which regulation requires what. Should be the net weight or gross weight? Is it per package or per packaging? Sadly, depending on the regulation, the answers to those questions may differ.
Before getting started, be sure you understand what all of those terms mean. I tend to default to the IATA regulations when it comes to definitions. These are found in Appendix A. Take note that these terms are also defined in the other regulations, too. In 49 CFR check in §171.9. For IMDG they are in 2 places – Volume 1, Chapter 1.2 and Volume 2, Appendix B. TDG defines them Part 1.4.
The complete product of the packing operation consisting of the packaging and the contents prepared for transport.
A receptacle and any other components or materials necessary for the receptacle to perform its containment function in conformance with the minimum packing requirements.
Means of containment
(in TDG) a container or packaging or any part of a means of transport that is or may be used to contain goods.
Means of transport
(in TDG) a road or railway vehicle, aircraft, vessel, pipeline or any other contrivance that is or may be used Continue Reading…
As an avid reader and science nerd, the author Dan Brown is a different type of read. His lead character, Dr. Robert Langdon, is a professor of symbology. This means he studies and understands various symbols found in history and codes. Sometimes in transportation, we must be our own Dr. Langdon to decipher what the regulations are trying to tell us.
■ The square: This symbol tells us new material has been added to the regulation or edition.
▲ The triangle: Here it indicates some part of that section of the regulation changed in some way. It could be as simple as one word, sentence, or entire section that was reworked or clarified.
∅ The crossed-out circle: This one is a space holder showing some part or section has been removed, deleted or cancelled from the current edition. A very useful symbol, because it will keep you from looking for something that you knew was there but now can’t find.
☛ The pointing finger: Here is a symbol found only in IATA. It signifies this section or statement is more Continue Reading…
Occasionally our Regulatory Helpline is asked a question by a customer that stretches our knowledge of the regulations. The most recent one was a call regarding shipping spaceship batteries. Apparently, they were visiting another planet in their system and got stuck due to a dilithium crystal ion battery that would no longer hold a charge. Their home planet of Nibiru wants to send some replacement spaceship batteries and asked if there were any regulations with which they should comply and any areas with which they needed to be concerned.
To show you how great our helpline is, let’s review the process we used to get them the answer they needed.
Step 1: Is the planetary nation a current customer of ICC?
It turns out they actually are a current customer.
This means they have ready access to our helpline anytime they should need it.
Step 2: By which mode of transport will these be transported?
To start, the Area 51 CFR Ground regulations for the home planet must be reviewed. This is necessary as the spaceship batteries would be transported by hovercraft from the home planet’s office to the intergalactic air and space launch facility.
George Carlin will always be a favorite comedian for people of a certain age. One of his best-known bits is on oxymorons. An oxymoron, is basically a set of contradictory terms that work together. While not the greatest of explanations, let’s have George give you some examples to make the point.
This concept came to mind on the heels of the DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and the DOL’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) joint video on labeling. Those two organizations are just that, 2 different organizations, yet they released a joint video? It sounded like a setup to a bad joke. Turns out I was wrong.
The video does a great job of explaining the focus of each organization and goes a long way to clearing the air. There are references to the regulations used by each, but not a lot of time is spent on “regulatory language” or the details of either one.
Comparing PHMSA vs OSHA
Here is my version of the comparisons between the two and how closely the align based on the video.
Regulates hazardous materials in transport
Regulates hazardous chemicals in the workplace
Both want people to be safe.
Uses the Hazardous Materials Regulation
Uses the Hazard Communication Standard
Both have a set of “rules”.
Defines Hazardous Material as those that pose an unreasonable risk to health, safety and property when transported in commerce