Web address monitor icon
OSHA’s Website on Workplace Chemicals
Laptop on wood table

New Tools for Chemical Data

Chemical data and information are an integral part of my work. Data is needed for a shipper of hazardous materials or dangerous goods.  It is needed for an author of Safety Data Sheets (SDS). It may also be needed for OSHA workplace labeling. Sometimes you need several websites or resources open all at once to gather the needed data.

As such, OSHA has created a tool that you may find helpful. It is called the “OSHA Occupational Chemical Database”. The link for it is https://www.osha.gov/chemicaldata/.  It is a compilation of data from several agencies and organizations put into one online resource. The first paragraph on the site calls this “OSHA’s premier one-stop shop for occupational chemical information”. For chemicals found on the website, there is information on some or all of the following topics:

  • Physical/Chemical properties
  • Synonyms
  • Exposure limits – OSHA, NIOSH, ACGIH
  • NFPA ratings
  • Sampling information
  • Additional Resources and Literature References

The site is searchable mainly by chemical name, CAS number or alphabetically. There is even a feature that will allow you to search for chemicals under certain topics. The site allows you to group chemicals by Permissible Exposure Limits (PEL), Carcinogenic classification and Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health hazards (IDLH). That aside, once you have found your chemical, this site provides a variety of information. Simply click on the link listed Continue Reading…

Fire Safety
NFPA’s Fire Prevention Week 2018
2018 Fire Prevention Week -  Look Listen Learn

October 7 – 13 Is Fire Prevention Week

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has designated the week of October 7th-13th as Fire Prevention Week. This date was chosen as the Great Chicago fire started on October 8, 1871. Each year a theme for the week is chosen in an effort to keep fire safety present in people’s minds. This year’s theme is “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware – fire can happen anywhere.

Those 3 words are simplistic but necessary when it comes to fire prevention, preparedness and risk. It carries over from the home, to the workplace and more. Look is for people to look around their home, office and workplace. Listen is mainly focused on the sound of smoke or fire alarms. Learn is about knowing multiple ways out of a room. Here are some further thoughts on each word for you to consider.

Look for places fire could start:

  • Cooking areas
  • Heating equipment
  • Electrical and lighting equipment
  • Candles

Listen for the sound of the smoke alarm:

  • Take them seriously
  • Know where are they located in the home, office and workplace
  • Test them monthly
  • Replace any over 10 years old

Learn two ways out of every room:

  • Have an escape plan in the home, office and workplace
  • Set a meeting place
  • Know the path from each exit to the outside
  • Keep the areas near the exit points easily accessible

The NFPA Continue Reading…

United Nations Logo
2018 United Nations Regulatory Updates
Palais des Nations in Geneva

What’s New at the UN for Transport?

At this time of year all the regulatory updates start. Every time a notation comes across my desk or email I can’t help but think about a famous line in the movie “Sixteen Candles”. That particular line is “What’s happening hot stuff?” Click here to see the actual movie clip. One of these days, I want a presentation to start with this. It would sure break the ice on some rather detailed subject matter.

Having prepared you for thinking about what’s happening or changing, we have to start at the UN level specifically. Much of this information comes from a presentation by Duane Pfund at the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. We need to focus on is what changed from the 2015 – 2016 biennium. That biennium gave us Revision 20 of the UN Model Recommendations for the Transport of Dangerous Goods. Revision 20 is what will drive the changes starting in January 2019.

What’s Happening or Changing for 2019?

  • Class 8 Corrosive Materials:
    • A new alternative method for classifying these mixtures is being introduced. It revolves around using the GHS Purple Book bridging principles and calculation methods. Note that flammable gases and explosives are on the list for this same concept in the current biennium.
  • Dangerous Goods in Articles:
Prop 65
Proposition 65 List Updated – Again

California Prop 65 Updates

Sometimes I feel behind in the regulatory world. It is just a fact that regulations often change faster than one has time to process.  A good case for this is California’s Proposition 65. Not only are there multiple changes for how to represent substances that are on the list, but the list itself changed in May 2018.  For more information on “how to represent” and the August 30, 2018 changeover date, take a look at ICC’s blog found here

To refresh your memory, the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 is the official name for California’s Prop 65.  The list has to be revised and republished at least once per year.  California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) is the agency responsible for Prop 65 implementation.  They consider adding chemicals to the list when some other “authoritative body” makes a determination regarding a substance’s ability to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm. Shown below are all of the new substances that were added and or removed by month. They are listed by name, type of toxicity and Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Number (CAS).

Now would be a good time to see not only if you are up to date on the new required “warnings” but if any of your products or substances were added to the new list.

Proposition 65 – Continue Reading…

Black steel drums
What Does that Word Mean? (Chime)

Blue Hazmat Drums

Updated Training

ICC Compliance Center constantly evaluates our courses to be sure they are the most up-to-date with current versions of the regulations.  Our Regulatory Team works hard to make sure the information we get you is complete and correct. In that regard, I am in the process of revising and updating our course on shipping reduced amounts of materials. It will focus on the options outlined in the US 49 CFR and the IATA regulation. We are talking about a focused course on the topics of small quantities, excepted quantities, limited quantities and consumer commodities.

During the course of the update, I came across an odd word in regards to drums under the Excepted Quantities exception. It was one not familiar to me at all even after 10 years of being in the “business.” Of course, my first thought was to look in the definitions or glossary section of the regulations. It wasn’t there. Then I tried to Google it. No luck. At this point, it was time to reach out to the Team. Sure enough, within minutes there was the answer and even where I could find it for future reference.

Defining “Chime”

What was the word? It was the word “chime.” In both 49 CFR and IATA for Excepted Quantities is the package test requirement that must be met for drums. It says that when the package is in the shape of Continue Reading…

Close up eye rainbow color
National Eye Exam Month and PPE

Snellen Eye Chart

August is National Eye Exam Month

It is always a great time when a bunch of safety professionals get together to chat. This happened this past weekend when several of us in the field ended up on someone’s back patio. There were five of us discussing what we see at various facilities. A topic that was recurrent throughout was Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) particularly eye protection. This got me to thinking about how ICC can help get the word out about this. Oddly enough, August is National Eye Exam Month. Let’s put these two together and see what happens.

Back in 1989, Sears Optical created National Eye Exam Month. Many ophthalmologists and optometrists take this time to focus on eye safety. Just for general knowledge, an ophthalmologist is someone who specializes in medical and surgical eye disease, whereas an optometrist is a medical doctor who specialist in eye and vision care. Most of us spend at least 40 hours at work a week with many doing more. A large number of us work at computers, outside or even near chemicals. This puts stress on our eyes. Depending on your age, an eye exam could be useful even if you have no symptoms. The American Optometric Association provides some basic guidelines around when to get an exam.

Eye Exam Schedule

Airplane Icon
National Aviation Day – Aug 19th

Celebrate the History and Development of Aviation

Airplanes are a great way to reach far away locations. This wouldn’t be possible without Wilbur and Orville Wright’s first powered flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina in 1903. To honor this great accomplishment President Franklin Roosevelt declared August 19th as National Aviation Day in the United States. Many use this day to honor other pioneers in aviation and space exploration. It also happens to be Orville Wright’s birthday.

National Aviation Day can be celebrated in any number of ways. Schools dedicate lessons to air travel. Discussions focused on the Wright brothers, Amelia Earhart or Charles Lindbergh and their accomplishments is another. People interested can explore the history of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) which started as the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). Visits to museums that have dedicated exhibits to aviation and aeronautics are another possibility. Build a model airplane. If you are stuck in an office, make a paper airplane and fly it around the office during your next break or lunch.

You could also take advantage of our pre-sale for the 60th edition of the IATA. This new version goes into effect on January 1, 2019. While that sounds far away from August 2018, it bears thinking about now. This 60th edition will incorporate the changes from Revision 20 of the UN Recommendations on the Transportation of Continue Reading…

DOT 49 CFR USA
Updates to PHMSA HM-218H – New Compliance Dates

Winston Churchill and the 49 CFR

As a former high school science teacher, I had a few choice quotes posted around my classroom.  Some were motivational while others were thought provoking. One of my favorites was by Winston Churchill.

“All men make mistakes, but only wise men learn from their mistakes.”
-Winston Churchill

Granted I tweaked it from “men” to “people” so as not to exclude the other genders in my class. My purpose for that one was to prevent frustrations over calculations, lab results, or high school in general.

On June 2, 2016, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) published a final rule on Docket No. HM-218H. That docket number had some as miscellaneous amendments to Hazardous Materials Regulations. Now, two years later we have a corrective rulemaking to HM-218H. Published on June 18, 2018 with an effective date of July 18 and compliance date of September 17, it addresses some appeals and comments to that previous rulemaking. Let’s see what changed or was corrected.

Updated/Changed Sections

  • 604 Emergency Response. Emergency response telephone numbers must be displayed in numerical format only. A shipper is no longer allowed to use alphanumeric phone numbers for the emergency response number. For example, 1-800 CLEAN IT is no longer an acceptable emergency response phone number. It must be listed as 1-800-253-2648 going forward. No enforcement actions will be taken from July 5, 2016 to Continue Reading…
Friday the 13th square icon
Superstitions in Reference to Safety

Black cat on a beach

We have another Friday the 13th in July. Let’s take a look at a few more superstitions to see how they might impact safety in the workplace and home. As a reminder, a superstition for the purpose of this blog is a belief or notion that while irrational and not scientific seem to persist in society.

Superstition #1:
A black cat crossing your path brings bad luck

While many ancient civilizations held cats in high esteem like the Egyptians, there are others who feared them. In the Middle Ages people were very afraid of witches and magic. Throughout that craze, the belief was a witch could disguise or transform herself into a cat. The cat could then move more easily around a town causing mischief and mayhem. Cats were often blamed for disease outbreaks such as the plague.

Many sites have certain cleanliness standards. Those standards could include washing hands before and after work or leaving contaminated clothing at the facility. Now those rules don’t speak specifically to black cats, but you get my meaning. There is certainly nothing in any regulations in regards to having animals at home where they are often kept as pets. Certain city rules may limit the number of animals you can have or bans against certain breeds. I won’t go into my personal opinion on that topic. Animals at home just need to be taken care Continue Reading…

Help Make the ERG Better

Emergency Response Guidebook

Calling All ERG Users

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…