Both 49 CFR and TDG are expecting to harmonize lithium battery labels into the regulations; however, both regulations are pending. HM-215N (49 CFR) was recalled, and will not be reissued for at least 60 days.
Transport Canada has not provided an ETA on the harmonization.
Find out the correct labels to use below:
Test your dangerous goods knowledge and see if you can find all five errors/missing information on this UN performance package.
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Test your dangerous goods knowledge and see if you can find all 20 errors in this IATA Shipper’s Declaration for Dangerous Goods form. If you find this difficult, don’t be discouraged, we can help! We have a dedicated regulatory staff available to our customers. Call ICC today!
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My husband is a rocker. He loves heavy metal music and listens to it often. There is no better channel for him than “Hair Nation” on Sirius XM radio. Having grown up with him, I know he has attended every concert available including Bon Jovi, Ratt, Metallica, Poison, and the like. One of his best memories is seeing Motorhead perform while we were living in Austria. To this day he still goes to concerts, but now the bands include Disturbed and Breaking Benjamin. What is interesting is his approach to going to concerts now as compared to when he was younger. You guessed it. The biggest change is the use of ear plugs.
I’m not sure if this change is due to getting older or the fact that being in a safety role he now realizes how damaging the level of music at these concerts is to his hearing. (You can insert your own joke about men or women having “selective” hearing here.)
Hear and Now – Noise Safety Challenge
In a recent press release OSHA indicated that every year 22 million workers risk losing their hearing due to workplace noise hazards. The estimated worker’s compensation costs for this disability is around $242 million. This is too high! Employers warn of hearing hazards in the workplace and often require workers to wear hearing protection. In a workplace the 8-hour time weighted average exposure level is 85 decibels. To put that in context, city traffic noise heard while inside a car is about 85 decibels. Normal conversation is around 60-65 decibels. A power saw and lawn mower are around 105-110 decibels. From a few websites I checked, ear pain and damage can begin as low as 125 decibels. For more information on noise and hearing conservation in general industry, I refer you to 29 CFR 1910.95.
To combat the issue and bring attention to it, OSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) issued the “Hear and Now – Noise Safety Challenge”. The goal is to involve everyone in coming up with ideas and/or technology related to occupational hearing protection. Everyone is able to submit ideas. For more information or to submit ideas go to https://www.dol.gov/featured/hearing. Submissions are due by September 30th.
Workers: Do your part and wear the proper personal protection equipment (PPE) as outlined by your employer. Think about what you do at home and ask yourself if it will have an impact on your hearing.
Employers: Know the standard and your workplace. Contact ICC Compliance Center for all custom GHS and PPE signage. Consider utilizing our PPE webinar as part of your new worker training.
As always, ICC is here for all of your safety needs. Contact us today.
Being a Home Owner Working in Safety
A part of being a homeowner is maintaining the structure and surrounding area. We do this to keep the city and neighbors happy, but also to keep the house in good working order. If you look around your neighborhood, yards are mowed and houses are painted. You will even see the occasional furniture delivery or roofer in the area. Another part of home ownership is keeping the inside up to date. After all indoor plumbing is nice and there is always the chance that the house will be sold in the future.
Our home is currently 16 years old and we’ve been in it for 8 years. It has not been updated much beyond some interior paint and a new roof thanks to St. Louis hail storms. We decided to update a bathroom. Easy enough given how small they are, right? It turns out we needed to gut the bathroom down to the studs since it was covered in wallpaper. During the demolition there was a ton of dust generated. Now that new drywall is up it has to be “mudded and sanded” which created even more dust. What was fascinating was the fact none of the folks working wore masks or respirators during any of this. Remember I work in safety so this bothered me greatly and sent me on a hunt for what exactly is out there regarding dry wall.
Drywall and Dust Exposure
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) actually issued a Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) about dust exposures resulting from drywall sanding in 1999. A link to the document can be found here.
What exactly are the hazards of drywall dust? NIOSH reports that some drywall joint compounds are made from ingredients including talc, silica, and gypsum which in dust form can irritate a person’s eyes, nose and respiratory airways. Long-term exposure to these chemicals can cause various health problems including persistent irritation, coughing, asthma-like symptoms and even lung cancer. Because of these hazards there are Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs) in place for worker safety. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) lists an 8-hour time weighted average exposure limit of 15 mg/m3 for total dust exposure to Particulates Not Otherwise Regulated (PNOR) and a respirable dust exposure limit of 5 mg/m3. From the study NIOSH did to compile their HHE, it was found that some workers’ exposure equates to more than ten times those limits.
Manufacturers are warning workers on their safety data sheets of the hazards of drywall dust and list appropriate personal protective equipment and ventilation on their safety data sheets. Some even suggested alternatives to dry sanding to cut down on the dust produced including wet sanding and portable vacuum systems. However, these are not followed or used as noticed by my own experience. According to the HHE, “When respiratory protection is worn, it is often used incorrectly with little thought to training, proper selection, or fit.” As a safety person this baffles me.
Given the work on my bathroom is not complete and with the knowledge I now have, guess who will have the gift of dust masks when work begins again? Yep, if the folks in my home won’t bring the necessary items to be safe, I’ll be supplying them along with a note to the “Big Boss” about my concerns.
Every generation believes the one before it had an easier or simpler life. Take some time and talk to someone much older or younger than yourself and talk about things such as technology or medicine just to see the differences in a span as small as five or ten years. Another example is entertainment. Long before the Kardashians, Reality TV. and the internet there was simply radio. Back in the early 1900’s there were only one option. That option was the amplitude modulation (AM) radio which was originally called “radiotelephone”. It wasn’t until the 1920’s when the “broadcasting” of voices and songs began. In order to hear these “broadcasts” people had to tune in to a particular station in order to listen. We still do this today but there are now pre-set buttons and digital numbers that make it easy. In order to keep listeners, the tag line of “stay tuned” was created. This was a way for radio announces to tell their audience that more information was expected on a story.
So how does AM radio and “stay tuned” apply to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)? In regards to this regulation which has not changed for over forty years, something monumental happened. Officially called “H.R. 2576” this act is getting a major renovation. Named after long-time TSCA reform advocate Senator Frank Lautenberg from New Jersey, this bill is was signed into law by President Obama on June 22.
Some of the improvements of the bill are the following taken from an article published by the Environmental Defence Fund:
- Mandates safety reviews for chemicals in active commerce.
- Requires a safety finding before new chemicals are allowed on the market.
- Replaces TSCA’s burdensome safety standard – which prevented EPA even from banning asbestos – with a pure, health-based standard.
- Explicitly requires protection of vulnerable populations, like children and pregnant women.
- Enhances EPA’s authority to require testing of both new and existing chemicals.
- Sets aggressive, judicially enforceable deadlines for EPA decisions and compliance with restrictions.
- Makes more information about chemicals available, by limiting companies’ ability to claim information as confidential, and by giving states and health and environmental professionals access to confidential information they need to do their jobs.
- Requires EPA to reduce and replace animal testing where scientifically reliable alternatives exist that would generate equivalent or better information.
- Requires EPA to prioritize chemicals that are persistent and bioaccumulative, and that are known human carcinogens and have high toxicity.
- Preserves a significant role for states in assuring chemical safety.
How these changes will be implemented by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has yet to be determined. The timetable for these changes is also unclear. The best those of us in Regulatory work can do is become familiar with these changes listed in the bill. Stay tuned to the ICC Compliance Center Newsletter for information as it becomes available.
Well, here you have it the 3rd and final part to my Silica blog series. As I had mentioned in my previous blog the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a final rule to curtail lung cancer, silicosis, COPD and kidney disease in workers by regulating their exposure to respirable crystalline silica. The rule is included into two standards, one for Construction and one for General Industry and Maritime.
In review from previous blogs OSHA estimates that this rule will save over 600 lives and prevent more than 900 new cases of silicosis each year. About 2.3 million workers are exposed to respirable crystalline silica in their workplaces, including 2 million construction workers who drill, cut, crush, or grind silica-containing materials such as concrete and stone, and 300,000 workers in general industry operations such as brick manufacturing, foundries, and hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. Responsible employers have been protecting workers from harmful exposure to respirable crystalline silica for years, using widely-available equipment that controls dust with water or a vacuum system.1
This ruling for Silica will reduce the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for respirable crystalline silica to 50 micro grams per cubic meter of air, averaged over an 8-hour shift. It requires employers to use engineering controls (such as water or ventilation) to limit worker exposure or provide respirators when unable to apply controls. Medical exams will be used to monitor employees, which will provide information about their lung health over time.
The standard will require employers to:
- Measure the amount of silica that workers are exposed to
- Protect workers from respirable crystalline silica
- Limit workers’ access to areas where exposure are above the PEL
- Use dust controls to protect workers from silica
- Provide respirators when dust controls are not providing proper elimination
- Restrict housekeeping practices that expose workers to silica
- Establish and implement a written exposure control plan
- Offer medical exams
- Train workers on silica exposure and ways to limit exposure
- Keep records of silica exposure and medical exams of workers’
In the final rule both standards took effect on June 23, 2016. Of course there are steps to be taken and a period of implementation. Employers have to be in compliance with this ruling by June 23, 2018.
With the exception of:
- Medical surveillance must be offered to employees who will be exposed above the PEL for 30 or more days a year starting on June 23, 2018.
- Medical surveillance must be offered to employees who will be exposed at or above the action level for 30 or more days a year starting on June 23, 2020.
- Hydraulic fracturing operations in the oil and gas industry must implement engineering controls to limit exposures to the new PEL by June 23, 2021.
I personally am happy to see these changes finally being made. I am sure many join me in this feeling, too, knowing their loved ones will have these protections in place so they can enjoy their later years without work related breathing issues.
Other Articles in the Silica Blog Series
Silicosis and OSHA Standards
As you may recall in my last blog, I spoke of a tragic story out of West Virginia. It was the Hawk’s Nest Industrial Incident and the repercussions on the people of that time in the 1930s. Up to date each year illness continues takes the lives of thousands of workers. One of these illness still present is caused by a deadly dust – crystalline silica which can cause Silicosis. It is approximated that 2.3 million people in the U.S. are exposed to silica at work. Over time workers have come to count on OSHA to adopt standards to be enforced in the workplace. These standards aid in the reduction of the risks to workers from contracting illness or injury in the workplace.
Let’s review what crystalline silica is. Crystalline silica is an important industrial material found largely in the earth’s crust and is commonly found in the likes of sand, stone, rock, concrete, brick, block, and mortar. It is found in materials that we see every day in the construction of roads, buildings, and sidewalks. Silica dust occurs in the workplace when operations involve cutting, sawing, drilling, and crushing of concrete, brick, block, rock, and stone. It can also be found among operations that use sand products, such as glass manufacturing, foundries, sand blasting, and hydraulic fracturing.
Crystalline silica (respirable) is hazardous to workers who inhale small particles, which puts a worker at risk of developing silica-related diseases that can be serious. Even deadly. Tiny as these particles are they can be easily inhaled and get deep into workers lungs, which then causes silicosis, an irreversible, incurable, and fatal lung disease. There are other repercussions from exposure to silica, workers are at risk for lung cancer, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), and kidney disease.
Silica Exposure Limits
OSHA and the workforce has known about the dangers of silica for a long time. As a matter of fact more than 80 years ago, U.S. Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins brought experts and stakeholders together to figure out ways to safeguard labors from silica. OSHA’s current PEL’s (permissible exposure limits) for silica are over 40 years old. There has been proof that shows the current exposure limits do not protect workers. For instance silica exposure has been proven to cause lung cancer and kidney disease at the current PEL’s.
In efforts to protect workers from the dangers of crystalline silica, OSHA has finalized a ruling and put in place standards for silica. One for general industry and maritime, and the other for construction. OSHA has taken the time to gather information through many venues getting them to the point of establishing the final rule for silica. They have accomplished this through extensive review of scientific evidence from current industry standards, public outreach efforts, weeks of public hearings, and a period in which they took comments from the public. By doing this the ruling provides reasonable, inexpensive and flexible strategies for employers to implement protection for their workers. It is estimated that this ruling will save the lives of 600 or more workers each year and once fully implemented prevent more than 900 cases of Silicosis each year.
Just how will the rule protect workers? The rule reduces the volume of silica dust that a worker can be exposed to (PEL equation can be found here). Employers will have to implement controls and practices that reduce workers’ exposure to the silica dust. Employers will also have to safeguard that silica dust is wetted down or vacuumed up in dust collectors to prevent workers from breathing it in. Many employers have already been implementing measures to protect their workers from silica.
In brief under the new rule employers are required to:
- limit access to high exposure areas
- provide training
- provide respiratory protection (if controls are not enough to limit exposure)
- provide written exposure control plans
- measure exposures
Employers are also required under this ruling to offer medical examinations to workers that are considered to be highly exposed to silica dust.
OSHA will help employers comply with the rule to protect their workers by providing flexibility to help employers protect workers from silica exposure. They have given from one to five years to get the correct protections in place. OSHA has staggered compliance dates to give sufficient time to meet the requirements of this rule.
There are many industries affected by this new rule, are you one of them?
Here are the industries projected to be affected according to OSHA:
- Glass manufacturing
- Pottery products
- Structural clay products
- Concrete products
- Dental laboratories
- Paintings and coatings
- Jewelry production
- Refractory products
- Ready-mix concrete
- Cut stone and stone products
- Abrasive blasting
- Refractory furnace installation and repair
- Railroad transportation
- Oil and gas operations
If specifications are followed correctly employers can be confident that they are providing workers with the necessary level of protection. What are these specifications? Stay tuned for part 3 of this silica blog series where I will detail the Crystalline Silica Rule.
More information can be found here: https://www.osha.gov/silica/index.html
Other Articles in the Silica Blog Series
FMCSA Final Rule
Occasionally a change to a regulation comes along and just the title of it triggers the memory of a song in my head. On June 8th the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a final rule regarding passengers in commercial trucks. As soon as I saw the words “commercial trucks” the Grateful Dead’s song “Truckin’” popped into my head. For a reminder of this song, take a listen here. Throughout the song various cities are mentioned and the song itself is about the band travel exploits. The irony of this band and safety is not lost on me!
Now that the song is stuck in your head which are called “ear worms” by the way, let’s talk about the actual change to the regulation. For years commercial truck drivers have been required to wear seat belts but passengers did not. That is about to change. The revision goes into effect on August 8th and now requires all passengers riding in commercial trucks to wear a seatbelt. If a passenger fails to do so, then the driver will be held responsible.
We all know that wearing a seat belt can save your life. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2014, “37 passengers traveling unrestrained in the cab of a large truck were killed in roadway crashes”. Granted that’s not a large number, but any loss of life that can be prevented should be.
FMSCA periodically asks drivers to complete surveys to get a feel for what’s happening on the roads. One such survey was given on the topic of “Seat Belt Usage by Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMV) Drivers”. The results showed a difference between drivers and passengers and their seat belt usage. Drivers wore a seat belt 84% of the time while passengers only 73%. Again the difference isn’t large but wearing a seat belt is such a simple form of protection.
The summary of the final rule in 49 CFR Part 392 is as follows:
FMCSA revises the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) by requiring passengers in property-carrying commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) to use the seat belt assembly whenever the vehicles are operated on public roads in interstate commerce. This rule holds motor carriers and drivers responsible for ensuring that passengers riding in the property-carrying CMV are using the seat belts required by the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSSs).
To read the full final rule on this matter, go to here.
For all of your transportation needs, ICC Compliance Center is here. We offer all types of training, labels, and placards. With our help you will “pick a place to go, and just keep truckin’ on.”
The Hawk’s Nest Incident
In Muriel Rukeyser’s book, The Book of the Dead, which is considered poetry, it tells of the historical Hawk’s Nest Incident. It is the grand truth told of one of the worst industrial disasters in US history. It happened in Gauley Bridge, West Virginia. This story is particularly near to my heart, because my grandparents and our extended family are from the area. When I was a young girl we used to frequent the area often to camp and visit our family. I remember hearing stories of some of my ancestors working in the tunnels and mines of West Virginia but it was only years later, as an adult, that I realized what that actually meant.
The Hawk’s Nest Incident revolves around the contraction of silicosis while constructing a power plant. Silicosis is a lung disease caused by breathing in tiny bits of silica, a mineral that is part of sand, rock, and mineral ores such as quartz. It mostly affects workers exposed to silica dust in occupations such as mining, glass manufacturing, and foundry work. Exposure to silica particles causes scarring in the lungs, which can inhibit your ability to breathe. The most common warning sign shown by sick people is shortness of breath. Silicosis is contracted through inhaling rock dust that contains silica dust. Blasting away at the rock in order to build a tunnel at Hawk’s Nest produced this such dust.
A proposal to build a hydroelectric plant on the New River was brought up in 1927 in which this project was to help boost West Virginia’s economy. The project created a multitude of jobs in which many workers came from the Southeast. A company out of Charlottesville, VA was contracted to begin construction. Construction began on this job which included the construction of numerous structures, power stations, dams, and tunnels. A process used in which the rock was broken and removed from the tunnel was called mucking. When workers removed the broken up rock it assisted in the dispersal of dust that was highly likely to be contaminated with silica dust and because the workmen schedule was rigorous, a six day work week with ten-hour shifts, exposure to the dust was at a high level. This dust has been considered to be the root cause in several hundred infected men who work on this site.
Working in Hawk’s Nest
Working in the tunnel was by far the worst of the jobs, where in the tunnel work shifts consisted of two three-hour shifts where they used a process where they would drill holes in the rock, dynamite was inserted to blast out the remainder of the rock and after the explosion the debris would have to be removed. This removal involved a high level of exposure to silica dust. The use of gasoline powered equipment also polluted contaminated air in addition to the dusty conditions. Certainly, not ideal conditions for working.
It was noted that there were never steps taken to evaluate the risk of exposure to silica dust for the workers on this site. There are also many accounts on how workers from the site would come out of the tunnels coated in dust from head to toe. Members of the community reported that when these workers would walk home from the mines they would leave a trail of dusty footprints from the thick layer of dust they were covered by.
The number of how many workers actually died as a result of Silicosis in Gauley Bridge, Hawk’s Nest project has never been confirmed. It has been estimated and agreed upon to be around 700 deaths. The fatalities remain for the most part anonymous in part from lack of record keeping or lack of knowledge at the time. Reports differ on how many died and the causes of these deaths were persistently debated.
Records were accessible through only a certain date, leaving several incomplete files. These records did not take in to account the number of migrant workers who left the area after the project completed and possibly died from Silicosis. Investigators attempted to find more information about deaths during this time through an assessment of county records, but found them lacking. Records of medical services received by the workers have never been fully recovered. Without them it is difficult to figure out whether or not patients truly suffered from Silicosis. At the time it was difficult for physicians to diagnose due to unfamiliarity with Silicosis and the fact that it resembled tuberculosis so closely.
Lawsuits and Regulations
Eventually, lawsuits began to be filed for the affected workers. Residents testified for the workers, stating that the workers were coated with dust when they left the work site. The general manager of the project, who was employed by the construction company that headed the work, claimed that there wasn’t any negligence by the administration and there were no known documented cases of Silicosis from any of his workers. He also declared his employees never complained about the working conditions while working in the tunnels. The courts eventually ruled in favor of rewarding the complainants. In 1935, the West Virginia House of Delegates passed a state worker’s compensation law which would compensate workers who were infected with Silicosis. This was a giant step forward by paying workers for illness contracted from the job, however there were many loopholes such as, clearing the employer of responsibility for the disease and made eligibility for this law almost impossible for workers. Clauses that made eligibility difficult involved the length of employment a worker had to endure before they could claim workman’s compensation under this law. The hearings that existed brought attention to the danger of working with silica dust and the risks involved with working in tunnels and mines, though they did not do enough for the victims and their families.
In the late 1930s a lot of news-magazines such as Time and Newsweek were publishing articles about the Hawk’s Nest Incident and the dangers of silica dust. The nationwide coverage that Silicosis had now received, made other industrial projects aware of the dangers associated with it and what their workers could be subjected to. Silicosis remained absent from the list of diseases that could be claimed under the workman’s compensation laws until the 1940s.
Fast forward to today and there have been slow strides in making OSHA standards to protect these workers from such aforementioned hazards specific to Silica dust. How so? They have recently adopted a new final rule that affects many industries and how they must approach Silica dust. Please look for my upcoming blog for more information on this ruling.