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Amazon Now Targeting Sellers That Ship Unsafe Packages to Warehouses

With the holiday season many of us are opting out of the busy malls and stores, and simply shopping from the comfort of our own homes. To make this option even more enticing some retailers are even offering free 2-day shipping during the holiday season. While this seems like a win-win situation for all there are some obstacles that have been coming to the surface, and unfortunately we are not just talking about late deliveries.  According to the Office of Hazardous Materials Safety, the world’s largest internet retailer, Amazon, has seen a sharp increase in reports of shipments allegedly violating the U.S. Department of Transportation regulations. In 2009, Amazon only had two incident reports, but that number jumped to 32 in 2016 before reaching 42 so far this year. This has caused Amazon to ultimately respond as they soon plan on adding new penalty fees for packages that fail to comply with its safety requirements.

Incidents

The main issue here is many third-party sellers on Amazon aren’t trained to ship dangerous goods, and simply don’t understand that what they are shipping is indeed hazardous. These third-party sellers often don’t realize what actions need to be taken per the Hazardous Material Regulations that exist to safeguard those who may come in contact with the dangerous goods. For that reason, often times the correct labeling, packaging, and paperwork required to Continue Reading…

Another PHMSA Penalty Increase

In the dangerous goods world things can change fast, so it is very important to be aware of the most up-to-the-minute changes. Much like in the video below, this can feel like an endless chase, but nevertheless we have to keep up the pace to stay within compliance of the changing regulations.

This not only goes for the regulations themselves, but also the penalties involved with being out of compliance. In Subpart D of Part 107 Hazardous Materials Program Procedures, there is a section entitled Enforcement, which outlines the civil and criminal penalties in the event you are non-compliant with the regulations. Being a federal agency, PHMSA must adjust their penalty rates each year to account for inflation. As of Tuesday, November 27, 2018, the new penalty rates officially go into effect. For this year it is a simple calculation, multiply the existing penalty by 1.02041, round up, and this will give you the new penalty.

For example:

  • A violation of hazardous materials transportation law under 49 U.S.C. 5123(a)(1) is going from $78,376 to $79,976.
  • A violation of hazardous materials transportation law resulting in death, serious illness, severe injury, or substantial property destruction under 49 U.S.C. 5123(a)(2) is going from $182,877 to $186,610.

A complete list of the penalty rate changes can be found at the link below:

https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2018-11-27/pdf/2018-24930.pdf

Why is this an issue? If you have the latest hardcopy of the 49 Continue Reading…

Notice of PROPOSED Rulemaking: 49 CFR Docket HM-215O

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is at it again. Published on November 27, 2018 is a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that many in the industry want to happen sooner rather than later. It is Docket number HM-215O. This amendment is a giant step towards better alignment of the Hazardous Materials Regulation (HMR), or 49 CFR, with the changes coming in 2019 for several international transport regulations.

Remember, this NPRM is just one step in the process for updating Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations. We still have to get through the comment period on this particular docket. Starting today, the comment period is open until January 28, 2019. After that window closes, each comment is reviewed and changes could be made to the amendment. The docket is then published as a Final Rule with a 30- to 60-day phase in period. If you feel strongly about a proposed change, speak now or forever hold your peace.

While what is listed below this is not a comprehensive listing of everything in the PROPOSED amendment, an attempt was made to focus on what could impact a majority of transport professionals. For access to the entirety of NPRM, go to https://www.phmsa.dot.gov/regulations-fr/rulemaking/2018-24620 and view the PDF.

Here are some of the PROPOSED changes in HM-215O:

  • Section 171.7 – This section will now include reference to the 20th Revised Continue Reading…
PHMSA Amendment HM-219

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued another final rule on November 7th. Again, this rule making is the only way to amend or change Title 49 for Transportation in the Code of Federal Regulations. In this case, the docket number is HM–219. Its goal is to “to update, clarify, streamline, or provide relief for miscellaneous regulatory requirements”. It has an effective date of December 7, 2018. While the published rule is only 20 pages long there are many areas of revision. Below is a list of the items that jumped out at me while reading it. If you wish to read the full rule making, please visit https://www.phmsa.dot.gov/regulations-fr/rulemaking/2018-23965.

HM-219 Highlights:

  • Section 172.205 had changes to paragraph (j) which pertains to the Hazardous waste manifest. You are now allowed to use electronic signatures when completing EPA forms 8700-22 and 8700-22A.
  • Section 172.407 had revisions to paragraphs (c) and (f). Paragraph (c) now says “inner border approximately 5 mm inside and parallel to the edge”. It still says the inner border must be 2 mm wide and that the thinner line border labels can be used until the end of the year. Paragraph (f) has included some additional references. It now says, “a label conforming to specifications in the UN Recommendations, the ICAO Technical Instructions, the IMDG Code, or the Transport Canada TDG Regulations … may be used in Continue Reading…
ICC's Regulatory Helpdesk
Regulatory Helpdesk: November 19

Welcome back to the Regulatory Helpdesk where we answer your dangerous goods & hazmat questions. We’re here to help you become independent with – and understand the whys and hows of – the regulations.

UN Packaging Requirements

Q. Is there any specific testing the inner packages for a combination package has to go through if shipping by ground in the U.S? What is to prevent the manufacture and distribution of cans that are not adequately leak-proof?
A. From a UN testing standpoint, if the inner packaging of a combination package wasn’t leak-proof, it would likely fail the drop testing because any leaking of the inner packaging during UN combination testing would be considered a failure. It is up to the shipper of the paint cans to use inner packaging that is equal or stronger in performance than the inner packaging used during the UN testing per 49 CFR 178.601(g)(1). There is a leak-proof test and hydrostatic pressure test per 178.604 and 178.605, but neither is technically required for inner packaging of a combination package. If shipping by air it is a little different, as the inner packaging “must be capable” of withstanding a hydrostatic pressure differential of 95 kPa per 173.27(c)(2).

Electric vehicles

Q. I am shipping electric vehicles in the US. They will be shipped with the batteries in them, but the batteries could also be shipped separately. The vehicle Continue Reading…
PHMSA Amendment HM-259

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a final rule on October 18th. As you know, the only way to amend or change Title 49 for Transportation in the Code of Federal Regulations is through a rule making process. This particular docket number is HM–259. Its goal is to “align the U.S. Hazardous Materials Regulations with current international standards for the air transportation of hazardous materials”. It has an effective date of October 18, 2018. While the published rule is 23 pages long, I have attempted to hit the highlights here.  If you wish to read the entire final rule with the discussion on comments received, you can go to https://www.phmsa.dot.gov/regulations-fr/rulemaking/2018-22114.

Highlights of HM-259

  • 172.101 – Removal of A3 and A6 from Column 7 for multiple entries in the HMT. Provision A3 will be removed from all Packing Group I entries. Provision A6 will be removed from all liquid entries to which it is assigned.
  • 172.102 – A3 revised and now reads as follows: “For combination packagings, if glass inner packagings (including ampoules) are used, they must be packed with absorbent material in tightly closed rigid and leakproof receptacles before packing in outer packagings.” There is no longer a mention of using “tightly closed metal receptacles”.
  • 175.10(a)(18)(i) – Revised portable electronic devices by passengers and crew. This section has been expanded to include portable medical electronic devices with lithium metal Continue Reading…
ICC's Regulatory Helpdesk
Regulatory Helpdesk: October 29

Welcome back to the Regulatory Helpdesk where we answer your dangerous goods & hazmat questions. We’re here to help you become independent with – and understand the whys and hows of – the regulations.

VOC/SDS

Q. We have a customer that is asking why the VOC content is “N/Av” on their SDS. It is required under OSHA or WHMIS?
A. According to US federal OSHA Hazcom 2012, and Canadian WHMIS 2015 rules, VOC information is not actually a mandatory item to appear in any section of a 16 Section SDS. It is commonly requested as a sub-item in Section 9, which is why ICC automatically includes the subheading. ICC does not calculate VOC levels, so the data would have to be provided by you. VOC information is common info to have for coatings, and has become important for coatings manufacturers due to Environmental regulations.

Lithium Battery Mark

Q. Customer called and asked if they ship UN3480 lithium batteries ground within the US, can they use the lithium battery mark instead of the class 9 lithium battery label, or do both have to be on the package. He also wanted to know what packing group lithium battery packaging had to be?
A. When shipping ground within the US, you are required to use a lithium battery mark OR a Class 9 lithium battery label. So just the lithium battery mark is fine in Continue Reading…
ICC's Regulatory Helpdesk
Regulatory Helpdesk: October 22

Welcome back to the Regulatory Helpdesk where we answer your dangerous goods & hazmat questions. We’re here to help you become independent with – and understand the whys and hows of – the regulations.

Industrial vs. Consumer

Q. According to the WHMIS training I received, any product that is listed as a hazardous product under section 2 of their SDS and bears pictograms needs to be reflected on the product’s packaging and the product itself. I was also informed that if the product is packaged and sold in a consumer product manner then did not require WHMIS labeling, is this true?
A. WHIMIS 2015 does have consumer products listed in Schedule 1 (paragraph 12 (j)) as exempt (consumer products would be as defined in section 2 of the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act), among other products. Under the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act, consumer products are defined as “a product, including its components, parts or accessories, that may reasonably be expected to be obtained by an individual to be used for non-commercial purposes, including for domestic, recreational and sports purposes, and includes its packaging.” Therefore, under most circumstances, consumer products would not require WHMIS labelling on their packaging.

Variation Packaging

Q. Our 4GV DOT-SP packaging comes with absorbent padding material inside of it. We call them pig pads. My question is this – if we are shipping something inside of those Continue Reading…
ICC's Regulatory Helpdesk
Regulatory Helpdesk: October 15

Welcome back to the Regulatory Helpdesk where we answer your dangerous goods & hazmat questions. We’re here to help you become independent with – and understand the whys and hows of – the regulations.

Hazardous Waste and DOT

Q. Do I have to have hazardous materials training if I ship out hazardous waste?
A.Yes. If a person is shipping an EPA-regulated hazardous waste and that waste is required to be shipped on a manifest, then that material is subject to the DOT Hazardous Materials Regulations. In fact, there is a specifically worded certification statement on the manifest that certifies that the shipment complies with all applicable DOT requirements.

Wording on the Battery

Q. Do the words “Lithium Battery” have to be on the actual battery?
A. No, there is no requirement in the regulations to have those words on there. However, almost all of the transport regulations have added the requirement to include the watt-hour or gram content on the outer cases of said batteries.

HMIS

Q. I have some questions about HMIS ratings. Do you know where I can find more information on that? I’m having a hard time determining what PPE is needed at my facility.
A. We offer HMIS ratings as a service at ICC. As to the PPE component, the better course of action is to use the SDS and any risk assessment data at the facility to make those determination. Continue Reading…
PHMSA Has New Portal for Reporting Incidents
Palais des Nations in Geneva

A long time ago, when I was first living on my own, I made, or tried to make, a cheesecake. All the ingredients had been mixed and poured carefully into the pan. All I had to do was put it in the oven and leave it for the appropriate baking time. Unfortunately, as I was transferring it from the counter, the oven door shifted and jarred my hand. My delicious cheesecake batter ended up sloshing into the preheated oven, solidifying and creating a long and tedious cleanup instead of a tasty treat. All I could tell myself as I scrubbed away was, “It’s a learning experience.”

The same is true of hazardous materials (HAZMAT) incidents. While they produce short-term pain, the long-term gain is that we learn more about how to handle them safely. Therefore, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has required for many years that incidents such as fires, spills or the discovery by the carrier of unidentified hazardous materials should be reported to them. Under the DOT, the Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), which is responsible for the Hazardous Materials Regulations, established a specific form for this, called DOT 5800.1, the Hazardous Materials Incident Report.

What Needs to Be Reported?

The requirements for reporting are given in 49 CFR section 171.15, “Immediate notice of certain hazardous materials incidents.” A reportable incident is defined as Continue Reading…