OSHA Safety
Compliance Language

Current Dangerous Goods Regulations

Terminology in Regulatory Manuals

Language, as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is the formal system of words or signs that people use to express thoughts and feelings. Learning a new language is often a complex undertaking. It is also a time that lends itself to funny stories. While living in Austria for a few years taking German lessons was part of our visa process. We were encouraged to practice often. On one of my first attempts was to buy a certain pretzel. Somehow my request came out as asking for the “slow one” rather than the “long one”. My husband told a co-worker he “believed” he was a pencil. While neither request caused harm, it was confusing to the German speakers who heard us. I mention this because the language of transport regulations can be confusing as well until you have a good handle on the language used in them.

Let’s take a look at two simple words. We will compare their “everyday” usage with how they are used for transporting hazardous materials or dangerous goods. The two words will be “should” and “may”.

Word #1: Should

In normal usage, this word indicates certain obligations or expectations. Take for example the statement, “John should be ready by now.” By using the word “should” in the sentence, the expectation is that John is ready or prepared for whatever situation he finds himself. In transport, this word takes on some slightly different meanings depending on the regulation.

  • 49 CFR – US Ground: Per 171.9, the word “should” is used in a recommendatory sense. Meaning the shipper is not required to do what is listed in the regulation. It is encouraged or recommended, but it is not enforceable.
  • International Air Transport Association (IATA): Per Section 1.3.1.3, the word “should” is a preferred requirement. This means the section is not binding for a shipper, but there is a suggestion to follow whatever is listed.
  • International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG): It is in the Forward that we find this definition. For “should” again the word is used in a recommendatory sense. Items in the Code with this word are not required, only recommended.
  • Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) – Canada Ground: Oddly enough, this term is not defined in Section 1.3 of the regulations.

Word #2: May

This word is used for possibilities or options even permission when used in daily language. An example here is the statement, “John may be ready by now.” In this case, the statement conveys the possibility that John might be ready, but again there is the option that he is not. Again, for transport, there are different meanings.

  • 49 CFR – US Ground: Per 171.9, the word “may” is used in a permissive sense. Meaning the shipper is not required to do what is listed in the regulation.  The item is simply allowed or permitted.
  • International Air Transport Association (IATA): Per Section 1.3.1.3, the word “may” is listed as a preferred requirement and not binding for a shipper. Again, as a preferred requirement there is the suggestion to follow whatever is listed but no requirement to do so.
  • International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG): Again it is in the Forward that we find “may”. Here “may” is used to indicate optional provisions. Items in the Code with this word have no preferred or recommended parts. The shipper can choose to either do what is listed or not.
  • Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) – Canada Ground: In Section 1.3, the word “may” is listed as permissive. This aligns with the US Ground requirements and indicates things that are allowed or permitted.

Be sure to know the language of the regulation you are following before attempting to make a shipment of a dangerous goods or hazardous materials using it. You may be “believing” something that is not actually true or required by the regulation. For all of your transport needs, contact ICC Compliance Center today.

Placarding
Correct Usage of a Dangerous Placard?

Placards on a truck

An Interesting Combination

A recent training class took me to Iowa. Since it is so close to me, I decided to drive there rather than play the airport game. During the drive an old favorite song of mine came on the radio. The song is by Don Henley and called “The Boys of Summer”. In that song is the following lyric: “Out on the road today / I saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac / A little voice inside my head said / “Don’t look back, you can never look back.” Take a listen:

What’s funny is shortly after hearing that song I passed an 18-wheeler truck. On the back and side of the truck was a “Dangerous” placard and a “Class 5.2” placard. A picture of each is shown here. In a very simplistic sense, placards are big hazard labels, roughly 9.84 inches on each side. They are placed on vehicles to warn people about the hazardous materials on or in that vehicle.

Hazard Class 5.2 Placard
Hazard Class 5.2 Placard
Dangerous Placard
Dangerous Placard

The 49 CFR has some unique rules for placarding, but what was on that truck struck me as interesting. I’ve never seen those things together before.  It is usually 1 or the other. Being a safety nerd I checked my regulations when settled in my hotel room. Placarding information is found in Section 172.500 of the 49 CFR. Here are some specifics for placarding vehicles.

Basic Rules of Placarding:

  1. All bulk packagings or vehicles transporting bulk packagings must be placarded on each side and end.
  2. For non-bulk packages, there are two tables to consult. Both can be found in 172.504.
  • If your material is a hazard class listed on Table 1, then it must be placarded following the same rule as bulk packagings.
  • If your package is a hazard class listed on Table 2, the rules are different. You only have to placard for the hazards on Table 2 when the vehicle contains more than 1001 pounds aggregate gross weight of materials on that table.

Table 1

Category of material (Hazard class or division number and additional description as appropriate) Placard name Placard design section reference §
1.1 EXPLOSIVES 1.1 172.522
1.2 EXPLOSIVES 1.2 172.522
1.3 EXPLOSIVES 1.3 172.522
2.3 POISON GAS 172.540
4.3 DANGEROUS WHEN WET 172.548
5.2 (Organic peroxide, Type B, liquid or solid, temperature controlled) ORGANIC PEROXIDE 172.552
6.1 (material poisonous by inhalation (see §171.8 of this subchapter)) POISON INHALATION HAZARD 172.555
7 (Radioactive Yellow III label only) RADIOACTIVE1 172.556

Table 2

Category of material (Hazard class or division number and additional description as appropriate) Placard name Placard design section reference §
1.4 EXPLOSIVE 1.4 172.523
1.5 EXPLOSIVE 1.5 172.524
1.6 EXPLOSIVE 1.6 172.525
2.1 FLAMMABLE GAS 172.532
2.2 NON-FLAMMABLE GAS 172.528
3 FLAMMABLE 172.542
Combustible Liquid COMBUSTIBLE 172.544
4.1 FLAMMABLE SOLID 172.546
4.2 SPONTANEOUSLY COMBUSTIBLE 172.547
5.1 OXIDIZER 172.550
5.2 (Other than organic peroxide, Type B, liquid or solid, temperature controlled) ORGANIC PEROXIDE 172.552
6.1 (other than material poisonous by inhalation) POISON 172.554
6.2 (None)  
8 CORROSIVE 172.558
9 Class 9 (see §172.504(f)(9)) 172.560
ORM-D (None)  

Here is an example of how Table 2 works. A truck has 4.1 Flammable Solids and 4.2 Spontaneously Combustible materials in non-bulk packages on it.  Together those materials add to over 1001 pounds. You would have to use placards on both sides and ends for both Class 4.1 and 4.2.

Using the Dangerous Placard:

In 172.504(b) the Dangerous placard is discussed. A transport vehicle hauling non-bulk packages with two or more categories listed on Table 2 may be placarded with a DANGEROUS placard instead of the separate placarding specified for each of the materials in Table 2. So, using the previous example, instead of using 4.1 and 4.2 placards, you can replace them with the single Dangerous placard. This saves space on the trucks and money because fewer placards are required. The drawback is the loss of clarity of the hazards in the vehicle.

Why Are Dangerous and Class 5.2 Placards Being Used?

Let’s go back to the truck I passed. It had both a Dangerous placard and a Class 5.2 placard. Is this correct? By following the rules above we can reason out the following. There is a container of Class 5.2 material on the truck. It doesn’t matter what size the package is because either rule requires Class 5.2 materials to be placarded. It could be a bulk package which would follow the basic rule. It could also be a non-bulk package. Since Class 5.2 is on Table 1 a placard would still be needed. Note, the Dangerous placard cannot be used for bulk packages or Table 1 materials. That means the Dangerous placard is there for another reason. There must be some combination of materials from Table 2 whose total weight exceeds the 1001-pound cutoff. Again, following the rules, this is the only reason why that placard would be there. While this isn’t the most helpful information, at least we have an idea of just how hazardous the load is.

For all of your placarding needs call ICC Compliance Center today.

Lithium
Lithium Batteries Section 1B & IATA Shipper’s Declaration

Lithium Batteries, Laptop battery

Lithium Batteries on IATA Shipper’s Declaration

One of my favorite cartoons growing up was “Scooby Doo”. Nothing made me laugh more than when Scooby would say, “Ruh roh, Raggy” when he was trying to say, “Uh oh, Shaggy”. This was usually in situations where things had gone terribly wrong. I had one of those moments recently and it was in regards to lithium batteries.

In one of my recent training classes, we were digging into the IATA Shipper’s Declaration and how to complete it. Anyone that handles these knows there are lots of things to include. As the discussion moved to the “Nature and Quantity of Goods” section, we were cruising. Everyone understood the process and how great IATA is about explaining what goes where. The examples in Chapter 8 are awesome!

The “Ruh roh” moment came as we were discussing the inclusion of the Packing Instruction number. Most of us are familiar with the first part of that step. It tells us that for all of our shipments, we add the number of the Packing Instruction we followed for said shipment. In Section 8.1.6.9.3 of IATA, it says the following:

Step 8. Number of Packing Instruction or Limited Quantity Packing Instruction (with its “Y” prefix) (Columns G, I or K). For lithium batteries prepared in accordance with Section IB of Packing Instruction 965 or Packing Instruction 968 the letters “IB” must be added following the packing instruction number.

And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids… (Not Really)

What I failed to read was the rest of the paragraph. It clearly states that for shipments of lithium batteries prepared under Section 1B, you have to include the letters “IB” after the Packing Instruction number. There is even an additional note in this section. It says if you can’t fit the letters “IB” in the column with the Packing Instruction number that it is ok to put it in the authorizations column.

This information is not found in the Packing Instructions themselves. Neither PI965 nor PI968 mention of this requirement to include the letters “IB” on the declarations.

Needless to say, after class that day I made a note to update all of our training materials on batteries to include this information.

For all of your lithium battery needs, contact ICC Compliance Center today. We have updated classes for both webinars and public courses, new handling marks, and new class 9 labels ready for you.

Lithium
Lithium Battery Worlds Collide

One of my favorite episodes of the show Seinfeld is the one where worlds collide. In the episode Elaine asks George’s girlfriend Susan to a show. On the surface this seems harmless. According to Kramer, this is a bad thing because when George’s “sanctuary world” and his “girlfriend world” collide there will be an explosion.

I had a case of my worlds colliding over the holidays. Let’s see what the results were. The attached pictures are from a leaf blower my husband received as a Christmas gift. It is a nice gift that will help us with yard work in the future. The description on the box says it comes with a charger for the included 40 volt, 2.0 ampere-hour rechargeable lithium-ion battery. On the back was the Lithium battery handling information. I didn’t pay much attention to it due to being in a cookie coma from the holidays.

Lithium battery label on box

Upon arrival home and while unloading the car, my husband noticed the information on the box and pointed it out to me. He then asks, “Should this be on here?” Needless to say, once we were fully unpacked I grabbed my regulations just to see.

Using the information on the box let’s review some points for shipping Lithium-ion batteries. Bear in mind this was purchased at a store where it was on the shelf. I have no way of knowing if it was shipped in this box.

  • Step 1: Is this lithium-ion battery is “contained in equipment” or “packed with equipment”?
    • Answer: The battery was not inserted into the blower but in a separate box beside it. This means it would have been “packed with equipment”.
  • Step 2: What is the watt-hour rating?
    • Answer: This was easy enough since the box said the battery had a 2 ampere-hour capacity and a voltage of 40 volts.  Using the following formula:

Watt-hours = Ah (ampere-hours) x V (voltage)
Watt-hours = 2 Ah.  X 40 volts
Watt=hours = 80 watt-hours

  • Step 3: What would be the proper identification number, shipping name, hazard class, and packing group (ISHP) if this had been shipped?
    • Answer: Since the manufacturer is within the US, I looked at the US ground regulations, 49 CFR. It is a Lithium-ion battery that was packed with equipment. Using the Hazardous Materials Table (HMT) that tells me the proper ISHP would be UN3481 // Lithium-ion batteries packed with equipment // Class 9 // no packing group.
  • Step 4: What sort of packaging requirements are there?
    • Answer: Again the HMT gave me that information in column 8. Luckily for UN3481 the packaging information is all found in Section 173.185. The only Special Provisions listed in the table are for air shipments. Much of this section didn’t apply to my query because I wasn’t shipping this. However, this section is also where all of the marking, labelling, exceptions/exemptions and hazard communication information is found.
  • Step 5: Where does the leaf blower fit and why was that particular safety information used?
    • Answer: This goes back to the information from Step 2. The watt-hour rating of 80 put me into Section 173.185(c) for exceptions. In that section is where the hazard communication information is found. In that was the proof I needed to say, “It is ok for this information to be on this box.” The box only has 1 lithium battery and the box is using the “handling marking” shown in paragraph (c)(3)(ii). The regulation says the following:

(3) Hazard communication. Except for a package containing button cell batteries installed in equipment (including circuit boards), or no more than four lithium cells or two lithium batteries installed in the equipment:

(i) For transportation by highway, rail and vessel, the outer package must be marked with the information in the following paragraphs (c)(3)(i)(A) to (D), or the handling marking in paragraph (c)(3)(ii) of this section:

(A) An indication that the package contains “Lithium metal” and/or “Lithium ion” cells or batteries, as appropriate, or alternatively, the word “batteries” may be used for packages containing cells;

(B) An indication that the package is to be handled with care and that a flammable hazard exists if the package is damaged;

(C) An indication that special procedures must be followed in the event the package is damaged, to include inspection and repacking if necessary;

(D) A telephone number for additional information.

(ii) For transportation by air, the outer package must be marked with the following handling marking, which is durable, legible, and displayed on a background of contrasting color:

Old lithium battery label

So there it is the results of my worlds colliding. There were no explosions, tidal waves, or earthquakes. There were no deaths from licking cheap envelopes, which is a reference to Susan’s fate. It was just an exercise of taking ICC Compliance Center’s “7 Steps to Compliance” idea and making them work for me. Of course, my head may explode when HM215-N is finalized and the information in this section of 49 CFR changes.

As always, ICC Compliance Center is here for all of your hazard communication and lithium battery needs. Call us today for lithium battery training, new class 9 labels or new handling marks, and new lithium battery shipping materials. We have it all.

Services
Inspector Issue

Gaining Regulatory Knowledge

Many of us have heard the phrase, “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing” at some point in conversation with people. What’s interesting is the phrase was originally “A little learning is a dangerous thing“. It comes from Alexander Pope’s poem called “An Essay on Criticism“. This phase can be applicable when you work in an area with ever-changing regulations. The key is to get more knowledge.

A prime example can be found in a September 2016 newsletter from Responsible Distribution Canada (RDC). This group was formerly called the Canadian Association of Chemical Distributors. In Volume 6 Issue 37 is the headline “Issue being reported with some WHMIS 2015 Inspectors RE: MSDS vs SDS“. In the article, RDC was contacted by a paint manufacturer. The manufacturer indicated that a Health Canada inspector was on the job site causing problems. At issue is the following:

“The HC inspector apparently said the paint manufacturer’s MSDS sheet was not acceptable because a “Safety Data Sheet” should now be supplied instead of a “Material Safety Data Sheet”. The inspector added that this change became effective in 2015 and said that the word “Material” should not be mentioned on the technical sheets.”

According to the manufacturer they have yet to convert to WHMIS 2015. In this case it is the inspector in error and a classic case of a little knowledge being dangerous.

Why?

Let’s discuss why. Canada aligned the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) in February 2015. This is why it is called WHMIS 2015. A part of the new regulation is to move from using the term “material safety data sheets” to just “safety data sheets”. There is a multi-year transition plan or phase in period in place before the new regulation goes into full effect. Here is where the inspector gets in trouble. It is during Phase 1 of the phase in plan that the terminology shifts. The dates for Phase 1 are February 11, 2015 to May 31, 2017. Since the paint manufacturer has yet to convert to WHMIS 2015, they still have time as allowed under Phase 1. They are in the right.

The inspector is aware of the changes in WHMIS 2015 which is great but also qualifies as a “little bit of learning”. Where he is “dangerous” is the fact that he was not aware of the time periods involved with the phase in of the new regulations. He was trying to force a regulatory change that is not yet mandatory. Had the inspector been more familiar with the new regulations this issue would not have happened.

Another part of Pope’s poem is the phrase, “To err is human, to forgive divine“. While this is a lovely sentiment, in the world of business and compliance it just isn’t possible. For a link to the complete RDC newsletter, click here.

Don’t be a “danger” to your business. Get trained beyond “a little bit of learning”. ICC Compliance Center offers a full range of courses including WHMIS 2015. Call us today for compliance audits and the multiple courses and learning platforms we offer.

Environmental Update
Chemical Spill Cooperation

Atchison, Kansas Chemical Spill

A little less than a month ago a small town near Kansas City, Kansas got a nasty surprise. According to local news reports a chemical spill at MGP Ingredients in Atchison caused quite stir around 8:00 in the morning.

The Kansas City Star reported the spill resulted in a mixing of Sodium Hypochlorite and Sulfuric Acid. The reaction of the two chemicals created a thick fog that covered much of downtown and areas north and west of there. Several areas were told to evacuate while others were told to “shelter in place” with doors and windows shut. Click here to view a video taken by drone of the chemical plume. By 11:00 am officials reported the spill under control and people were allowed back into their homes and business. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent personnel to assist in the investigation.

Thanks to a good communication between MPG Ingredients, the City of Atchison and the local Fire/Emergency crews there were no serious injuries reported. Those caught in the fog, roughly 34 townspeople, had respiratory issues including coughing and difficulty breathing. At the time the article was written, there was no word on the number of affected MGP employees.

The key take away from this story is the communication element. It took less than 3 hours for this spill to be handled and for folks to be safely back at home, school or work. If MGP Ingredients had not reported the spill promptly, then the number of injuries would be higher. If local officials had not responded as quickly as they did by using the radio and social media, then the number of injuries would be much higher. If the local fire crew had not known what was needed to help the fog dissipate, then the number of injuries would be much higher.

There are always those that complain about updating hazard communication plans, workplace labels, safety data sheets, and evacuation plans. For those my response is simple. Here is the reason we do this. Here is why they are needed. Given the scope of the cloud and the area it covered, consider how many people were at risk. Had things been handled differently a much worse outcome is a definite.

As always, ICC Compliance Center is here to help you with all of your regulatory needs. For more information on our supplies and services visit our website: http://www.thecompliancecenter.com.

Well cook delicious looking turkey
Gobble, Gobble, Gobble – Thanksgiving Day Fire Safety

Thanksgiving – that time of year when everyone prepares to burst their waistbands. It is a time for family and friends to get together and enjoy some wonderful food and fellowship. It is also the “leading day for home fires involving cooking equipment,” according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). This day is followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve for number of fires in the home due to cooking. While I could find no statistics to show the number of injuries actually increase on this holiday, the fact is the day is full of instances where personal safety is at risk.

No one wants to take a trip to the emergency room over the holiday so make preparations now. Have a plan in mind to deal with everything that goes into the day.

To stay safe, the NFPA recommends the following safety tips:

  • Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.
  • Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
  • Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay 3 feet away.
  • Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
  • Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
  • Keep knives out of the reach of children.
  • Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
  • Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.
  • Never leave children alone in room with a lit candle.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.

NFPA Thanksgiving Fire Safety Tips

You can also download these tips from here »

The Red Cross also has a list of cooking safety tips. Many of them are listed above, but here are some additional ones.

Additional Safety Tips

  • Use a timer as a reminder that the stove or oven is on.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire – pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains – away from the stove, oven or any other appliance in the kitchen that generates heat.
  • Clean cooking surfaces on a regular basis to prevent grease buildup.
  • Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving the home to make sure all stoves, ovens, and small appliances are turned off.

Everyone deserves to be happy and safe over the holiday. Do your part to make that happen. From ICC Compliance Center’s family to yours, I wish you a “Happy Thanksgiving”.

Danger Placard
Does My Personal Vehicle Need Placards? – Answering Regulatory Helpline Questions

One of the great services offered by ICC Compliance Center to our customers is our Regulatory Helpline. Current customers can call in and have basic questions answered for free. Our Specialists are trained in all of the transport regulations for the US and Canada. We also answer questions surrounding HazCom2012 and WHMIS 2015. A great benefit of our service is getting the customer a “right” answer. Occasionally it may require some information gathering, but we still give you an answer. Being relatively new to our Helpline, I tend to take a bit longer to get an answer.

I mention this because of an interesting question that came in last week. A customer called and posed the following question:

If I want to move a container of oxygen in my personal vehicle, does [my vehicle] have to be placarded?

On the surface this seems easy enough to answer, but in reality that is not the case. As I discovered a good bit more information was needed to formulate a “right” answer.

Answer Step 1:

What is meant by “a container of oxygen”? This information is needed for several reasons. We have to determine if what the caller has is truly a hazardous material/dangerous good. For example, is it pure oxygen or is it a blend of oxygen and nitrogen similar to a SCUBA tank? One is much more dangerous in the event of a fire than the other. In this case, the container is of pure oxygen.

Answer Step 2:

What is the description of the container? The assumption is the container is a cylinder. If so, what size? There could be exemptions in place depending on how large or small the container is. The caller said it is a steel cylinder that weighs 15 kilograms and it has TC on the outside.

Answer Step 3:

Where is this person located? We need to have this information so that the proper regulations can be checked. If the caller was in the United States, but I used Canada’s transport regulation to answer that may not have worked. In this case the caller is from Canada. This is helpful because there was a mention of using a “personal vehicle”. In the U.S. this could have led to a discussion of Materials of Trade exemptions. Since Canada does not have that type of exemption it would make no sense to go over them with the caller.

Answer Step 4:

Now we almost have the whole picture. We have a steel cylinder full of pure oxygen that weighs 15 kilograms. It is being transported in a personal vehicle in Canada. With all of that information, the caller MAY meet the 150 kilogram Gross Mass Exemption in the Canadian Transportation of Dangerous Goods regulations per Section 1.15. This prompted one more question. Was this cylinder purchased by the caller at a location open to the general public? The answer was “yes.”

Final Answer:

The final answer is “no”, the caller is not required to placard his personal vehicle to transport a cylinder of oxygen. Per the 150 kilogram Gross Mass Exemption, he does not need a shipper’s declaration, training or … any sort of “dangerous goods safety marks”. This section also includes placards. He may voluntarily display it per Section 4.1.1 of the regulation but there are multiple provisions.

So while this looks like a complicated process, it is in fact not. As long as we have all of the information, answering your questions can be quite easy. Give us a call today to see just how easy it is – ICC Regulatory Helpline 855.734.5469. We are here to help. As always, ICC Compliance Center is here to help you with all of your regulatory needs.

OSHA
New OSHA Concentration Range FAQ

Validation

Oprah Winfrey once said, “I’ve talked to nearly 30,000 people on this show, and all 30,000 had one thing in common. They all wanted validation.” Validation is receiving feedback from others that what you do and say matters. It is an acknowledgment of your actions, deeds and accomplishments. To be a healthy person we need to receive positive validation and be able to give it to ourselves. So is it possible for a company to receive validation? I believe so and here’s why.

In one of OSHA’s recent Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) postings a question regarding the use of ranges on Safety Data Sheets was added. To see the full FAQ and the answer, please click here. The specific question asked is: When may chemical manufactures/importers use concentration ranges rather than an exact percentage composition in Section 3 of the SDS, and how does this apply to trade secrets? Let’s take a closer look at OSHA’s answer. There are several parts to it and each deserves some attention.

Part 1 – Exact Percentage versus Concentration Range Clarification

The answer starts by clarifying the language used in Appendix D under Section 3. In the actual Appendix it states, “The chemical name and concentration (exact percentage) or concentration ranges of all ingredients which are classified as health hazards” must be disclosed in Section 3. However, in the FAQ answer the statement reads as “the chemical name and concentration (exact percentage) of all ingredients present in a mixture which are classified as health hazards” must be disclosed. This new phrasing has no mention of concentration ranges. In fact the answer goes on to say that concentration ranges may be used for cases where trade secret claims are made, there is variability between batches of product, or there is a group of substantially similar mixtures with similar compositions. It is now clear that exact concentrations and/or percentages of ingredients causing health hazards must be in Section 3 of an SDS. It is only in certain circumstances that a range can be used.

Part 2 – Exceptions to Exact Concentrations

As listed above, there are only 3 instances where a concentration range may be used. The first is when trade secret claims are made. The FAQ answer provides more guidance on how to use those claims correctly. As we know, these claims can be used to protect the specific chemical identity and/or the exact percentage of an ingredient. If it is the percentage that is being protected, then a concentration range can be used. The next instance where a range can be used is if there is variability between batches. Again the answer provides better details for when and how this fits. Batch-to-batch variability comes from differences in concentrations of ingredients that occur during production. To appropriately use a range here, those slight variations in concentrations cannot have any impact on health hazards of the mixture. The last allowed use of ranges is a bit tougher. Again, the FAQ does a good job of further explaining the concept of similar mixtures with similar compositions. If a manufacturer/importer has a “line of products” that are very similar, but their compositions vary slightly, then a concentration range can be used. However, here again the differences must not change the overall hazards of the mixture. The answer goes on to say that the ranges used must be “sufficiently narrow” and provide an “accurate representation” of the concentrations.

Part 3 – Validation

ICC’s answer for ranges has been clear from the beginning and matches what is in this new FAQ. We follow what is in Appendix D of HazCom 2012 in regards to how Section 3 should be written. In all of our U.S. GHS webinars, Classification courses and Regulatory Helpline responses, we say “ranges are NOT allowed unless certain criteria are met.” We then take the time with the clients or customers to explain the specific criteria to see if they in fact qualify. If they do, we work with them to review their safety data sheets or author a new one for them.


So here it is. ICC Compliance Center, a company, has its validation. We are doing it right! OSHA’s answer in this FAQ matches our standard procedure for answering questions regarding the use of ranges on safety data sheets here in the US. We knew we were doing it the right way, but here is OSHA validating our process. As always, ICC Compliance Center is here for all of your hazard communication needs.

Lithium
New Lithium Battery Rules for FedEx

Lithium by definition is an element on the periodic table. It has the symbol of Li and the atomic number 3. It appears as a soft metal and silvery white in color. Lithium compounds have various uses. They can be used in lubricants, special glasses/ceramics, and as a drug to treat the manic episodes of bipolar disorder. It is also used in rechargeable batteries. Interestingly enough, those folks involved with the shipping of Lithium Batteries could probably benefit from the drug form about now. I don’t mean to belittle those who suffer from a bipolar disorder and the manic episodes that can occur under this diagnosis. It is an awful disease. However, with all of the changes happening in the regulations for shipping Lithium batteries, many shippers can begin to feel a bit manic.

Not only are the regulations changing for all modes of transport, but so are the rules of certain Carriers. Federal Express or FedEx Express recently released their changes for air shipments. These changes will go into effect on January 1, 2017 along with the new IATA regulations, and will be included with the Operator Variations for FedEx. So what are the changes?

Change #1: Lithium batteries (UN3090 and UN3480) meeting Section II requirements under IATA will NO LONGER BE ACCEPTED by FedEx Express.

What does “no longer accepted” mean? Let’s clarify some terms and information. UN3090 is for Lithium Metal Batteries and UN3480 is for Lithium Ion Batteries.  Section II batteries are ones that were sort of “excepted” batteries. They were “not subject to other additional requirements”. A shipper can still send Section II batteries with FedEx Express. However, they must ship them as fully regulated under Section IA or Section IB requirements of the appropriate Packing Instruction in the air regulations.

Change #2: There are new marking and labeling requirements for UN3090 and UN3480.

New lithium battery label New Lithium Battery Mark and Pictogram

These UN numbers will require IATA-compliant marks and labels. They require the new Class 9 labels and the Cargo Aircraft Only label. The new Lithium Battery Handling mark with the UN number added to it will be needed for those batteries being shipped under Section IB and II.

Change #3: Training Requirements

The air regulations have the phrase, “Any person preparing or offering cells or batteries for transport must receive adequate instruction” as part of the Packing Instruction for Lithium batteries. What FedEx Express has added is a caveat. Their new policy says that those handling UN3090 or UN3480 “will need FULL dangerous goods training”.

Change #4: More fees and Approvals

There could be more fees for shipping batteries that qualify as UN3090 and UN3480. This is because they are considered Inaccessible Dangerous Goods (IDG) by FedEx Express. IDGs have a surcharge and rates should be checked using the FedEx Service Guide. As for approvals, all Sections of UN3090 have required pre-approval to be shipped using FedEx Express. According to this publication, if a company is currently on a pre-approved list for Section II, FedEx Express will automatically place them on the Section I UN3090 pre-approved list.

There is no need for drastic medications yet. The new information is out now and does not go into effect until January 1, 2017. Shippers can adjust to the new versions of the regulations published and the new changes presented here. As always, ICC Compliance Center is here for all of your hazard communication needs. We offer the new Class 9 labels, the new Lithium Battery Mark, and a full course on shipping Lithium batteries by all modes. Also, if you are a current customer of ours, you are able to utilize our Regulatory Helpline. This service has trained Regulatory Specialist available to answer your questions and get you the information you need to create shipments of dangerous goods/hazardous materials.