ICC’s 2020 Regulatory Resolutions

Here it is – January 2020.  The time when all holiday decorations are put away and people make resolutions for the coming year.  Things we would like to change about ourselves, our workplace or our home.  We’ve all heard them.  I’m going to work out more.  There will be more family time.  We will eat healthier.  I’ll be kinder to my co-workers.  That one is mine in case you were wondering. 

Now at this point you are asking how does resolution making have anything to do with transportation of dangerous goods?  Well, I asked our Regulatory Team what their “regulatory resolutions” would be.  In other words, if they had the power, what changes or resolutions would they make to a regulation.  Oddly enough, with their responses, not a single regulation escaped a “resolution”!  Some of the items listed below were mentioned on more than one person’s list.

49 CFR:

  • Resolve to get rid of the combustible liquids.No one else in the world regulates these.
  • All lithium batteries should be transported as fully regulated with UN Specification Packaging and paperwork.No more exceptions. 
  • Resolve to adjust the packaging recertification requirements.Align them more with Canada’s.  As long as the components and specifications do not change there should be no need to re-test UN packaging every 2 years.  49 CFR should allow packaging manufacturer’s to simply send in an application for certification every 5 Continue Reading…
OSHA HazCom 2012
HazCom2012 Revision is Coming

It just doesn’t seem possible that the new OSHA standard, known as HazCom2012, has been in full swing for over 4 years now.  Of course, the time taken to get everything in place regarding it is still fresh in many people’s memories. I can still remember choosing to work on Memorial Day weekend to help some customers meet the June 1, 2015 deadline.  Just as a reminder, that transition was to Revision 3 of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (UNSCEGHS) or Purple Book and the direct section of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) that was updated is Title 29 1910.1200.  Given that the UN just released Revision 8, the US is a bit behind some other parts of the world.

Don’t worry though, OSHA is already in the process of preparing another update to the standard.  However, this will take time given the process involved with updating the CFR.  The process was supposed to start in the Fall of 2014 with a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for an update to Revision 7 of the Purple Book.  That didn’t happen and the date moved to Spring of 2018.  Again, the process stalled.  OSHA is now looking to publish the NPRM this month – December 2019. 

This notice of proposed rulemaking, whenever it is published, is supposed to update the OSHA standard to Continue Reading…

OSHA
OSHA Workplace Safety During the Holidays

There are numerous holidays in the months of November and December.  Just a quick look at Wikipedia confirmed at least 47 holidays for Christian, Secular, Hindi and Buddhist celebrations.  Each has its own traditions, decorations and food.  Given that large number, OSHA has some advice to keep workplaces safe during this time of year.  Don’t think this doesn’t apply to you and quit reading.  Think about the increase risks for personnel in warehouses and offices, on transportation teams, retail workers, etc.  E-Commerce is at an all time high which adds another layer to this busy season.

In the most recent Quick Takes Newsletter, there is a link to multiple resources which can be used for worker safety.  The link to reach those resources is https://www.osha.gov/holidaysafety.html.  I browsed through a few of the topics and here are just a few of the highlights.

  • Warehouse Safety Pocket Guide.  There are 10 OSHA standards that could apply to workers in a warehouse.  The standards include hazard communication, electrical safety, personal protective equipment (PPE) and forklifts.  There are also the hazards associated with loading docks, conveyors and charging stations to consider.  This guide provides a nice overview of the possible hazards and solutions for workers in the warehouse.
  • Safety Practices Once Tractor Trailer Drivers Arrive at a Destination.  While just a short 1-page resource, the information is a nice reminder not only for Continue Reading…
What is an Overpack?

Every few days one of our customers will call our Regulatory Helpline with questions about overpacks. Given the complexity of them, it is time to set the record straight. The focus for this blog will be the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations as they seem to give a clearer picture, in my opinion, than those of 49CFR for US ground, IMDG for international vessel, and TDG Canadian ground regulations.

To start, let’s look at a few definitions. These are found in IATA’s Appendix A. Some of these may seem silly on the surface, but they are needed to drive the point home about overpacks. These definitions will all pertain to non-radioactive shipments.

  • Packaging: One or more receptacles and any other components or materials necessary for the receptacles to perform their containment and other safety functions and to ensure compliance with the minimum packing requirements of these Regulations. 
  • Package: The complete product of the packing operation consisting of the packaging and contents prepared for transport
  • Overpack: An enclosure used by a single shipper to contain one or more packages and to form one handling unit for convenience of handling and stowage. Dangerous goods packages contained in the overpack must be properly packed, marked, labelled and in proper condition as required by these Regulations. Note: Shrink-wrap or banding may be considered an overpack. 

What is all of that in reality? Packagings are the pieces and parts that Continue Reading…

Safety
Staying Safe this Fall

If you have followed my blogs for any length of time you know that both my husband and I work in safety fields.  This means we drive our friends a bit nuts when we are together about staying safe.  They, in turn, humor us by attempting to do things safely when we are around.  It is a system that works well for us all.  Recently while together the conversation moved to the change in seasons.  Many look forward to a lessening of the heat and humidity in St. Louis while others lament the loss of daylight and snow.

That conversation got me to thinking.  Are there things that we, as normal, everyday people, should do to stay safe this fall? After some research on the websites for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Safety Council (NSC), and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), it turns out there are things that should be done during the fall to stay safe.  Below is a compilation of suggestions for your consideration.

Fall Safety Tips

  • Practice Safe Driving.  At this time of year, it is dark or twilight when people go to work and come home.  This is also an active time for many animals.  People are generally more active as well with the cooler weather.  Do not drive after you have been drinking at say a Halloween party.
  • Furnace readiness.  If needed Continue Reading…
Environmental Update
Proposition 65 List Update for 2019

Here is one more blog in support of knowing it is autumn even though the weather may not feel like it.  The Office of Environmental Health and Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) in California just published a revised list.  If you aren’t familiar with the OEHHA, you likely do know about California’s Proposition 65 list.  As per usual, the list has changed a few times over the course of the year. 

To refresh your memory, the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 is the official name for California’s Proposition 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 the implementation.  Chemicals are added or removed from the list when some other “authoritative body” makes a determination regarding a substances 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 – Additions and Deletions

March 2019

Fire Safety
Fire Prevention Week 2019

Anyone that has taken a training class with me discovers my secret love of superheroes.  There is just something about them that makes life fun.  They show up in all sorts of places during training.  From signatures on shipping documents to addresses on packages, it is just a little something to make training a little less boring.  I bring this up because the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has designated the week of October 6th-12th as Fire Prevention Week.  This year’s theme is – Not every hero wears a cape.  Plan and Practice Your Escape.

According to the NFPA website, some home fires can limit a family to only one or two minutes of time to get out and reach safety.  Let that sink in for just a little bit. Two minutes is not a lot of time to make life saving decisions.  This is why the goal of this year’s week is to have people make their own home escape plans AND to practice them. 

There are tons of resources on the NFPA site to help you.  Simply go to  https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Staying-safe/Preparedness/Fire-Prevention-Week to see all of the options.  There are videos, activities for children, games and safety tip sheets. Many of these are free to download and use. In an effort to learn more about this year’s theme, I downloaded the Escape Planning Tips sheet on the website.  Continue Reading…

IATA
IATA 61st Edition Significant Changes

The Labor Day Holiday generally symbolizes the end of summer for many people.  For many businesses it is the end of their fiscal year.  For parents in many areas it means back to school.  For the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) it means releasing notices of proposed rulemakings.  We also have OSHA publishing their Top Ten Violations.  Finally, it is time for IATA to publish the list of significant changes for their upcoming edition.

Keep in mind, these changes are in the 61st edition of the IATA.  It goes into force January 1, 2020.  The other thing to remember is these are just a list of “significant” changes.  Some of the changes always seem a bit cryptic to me.  Plus, I’m one of those folks that takes the old one and compares it to the new one to better understand exactly how it changed.  Guess it comes from being a visual learner.

If you should want to read the list of changes, it can be found here.  A brief overview of some of the changes are shown below for quick reference.  There is a little something for everyone in the industry.  As you read through, there are some times where I added some information to supplement the change as it is stated on the publication.

Brief Summary of Some Proposed Changes by Section:

Superstitions in Reference to Safety – Take 3

Another Friday the 13th is upon us.  This is the third time we will look at a few superstitions to see if there is any benefit to us in regards to safety.  Keep in mind I am using superstition in a broad sense. For this blog, a superstition is any idea or belief that may not be entirely rational or scientific but is still used today.

Superstition #1:  Holding Your Breath While Passing a Cemetery

Death is always an odd subject that triggers varied reactions in people.  For many it is a sad time due to the loss of a loved one or friend.  A wake and funeral are held to honor their passing.  For others it is a chance to celebrate someone’s life, like the Second Line Parades in New Orleans.  For this particular superstition, you are supposed to hold your breath to prevent recently passed or evil spirits from possessing you to live life again.

From a transport point of view, this probably isn’t too great of an idea and should never be done.  In fact, there are several published articles in medical journals stating the negative effects of holding your breath for too long.  Some of the negative impacts are issues with blood sugar, coordination and even neurological damage.  Imagine a truck driver holding his breath as he passes a cemetery, especially a large one that Continue Reading…

PHMSA Civil Penalties Increase 2019

Effective July 31, 2019 the fines for civil penalties within the Department of Transportation are increased.  This increase impacts the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Pipeline of Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). 

The fines are increased as a result of the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015.  This happens every year, so you would think it would have an abbreviation at this point.  This act basically requires federal agencies to adjust civil penalties each year to account for inflation.  A list of the increases for 49CFR is shown below.  These are found in 49CFR Part 107. A definition for “Penalties of non-compliance” is found in 171.1.  To see the full ruling with the changes to the other agencies, go here

PHMSA Adjustments:

  • Maximum penalty for a hazardous materials violation is $81,1993.
  • Maximum penalty for hazardous materials violation that results in death, serious illness, or severe injury to any person or substantial destruction of property is $191,316
  • Minimum penalty for hazardous materials training violations is $493.   
  • Maximum penalty for each pipeline safety violation is $218,647
  • Maximum penalty for a related series of pipeline safety violations is $2,186,465
  • Maximum penalty for liquefied natural gas pipeline safety violation $79,875
  • Maximum penalty for discrimination against employees providing pipeline safety information = $1,270

Keep in mind Continue Reading…