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…

ICC's Regulatory Helpdesk
Regulatory Helpdesk: October 1

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.

Placarding Bulk Truckloads

Q. My truck has 4000kgs of drums of Class 3 UN1993 in it. Truck has Class 3 UN1993 placard on it . We pick up 1 empty tote (IBC) which is Class 3 UN1993 also. Can we keep the same placard on the truck or do we need to add Class 3 only? Same with empty drums. We just need to add primary CLASS card? All transported via ground within Canada.
A.Well the drums don’t need UN numbered placards since drums are considered small means of containment. A plain class 3 placard will do to represent the drums. It used to be in the Regulations that over 4000kg from one shipper could display UN numbered placard but it was repealed recently. Totes, even empty with residue, requires UN numbered placards for liquids in direct contact with the means of containment. You don’t need to add plain class 3 placard for the drums as both the drum and tote content is hazard class 3. So technically the truck displayed the correct placard (UN1993). If the drums were empty and less than 500kg gross mass then no placard will be required; however, if you Continue Reading…
ICC's Regulatory Helpdesk
Regulatory Helpdesk: July 30

IBC Residue, Choosing Placards, IATA Special Provisions, and Hazard Class Label Size

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. Please note that over the summer we will be going to a bi-weekly posting of Regulatory Helpdesk.

Residue in IBCs (TDG)

Q. Under TDG, do Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs) such as tote tanks that contain residues still have to be transported as dangerous goods? Should the placards remain or be removed?
A. Under TDG, packagings or containers that still contain enough residue to pose a hazard during transportation should still be treated as dangerous goods. Unfortunately, the regulations do not give a specific way of judging this, so they should be considered hazardous unless you are absolutely sure they are not. (There is some misinformation that you may come across about how to make this decision. TDG does not specify “triple-rinsing” as a standard for cleaning or declare that an inch or less of residue can be considered non-dangerous. These references may come from other regulations or industry guidelines, but do not apply to TDG.)

So, if your IBC contains a dangerous residue, it should be clearly identified as such for transportation. If it was originally placarded or labelled correctly, just leave those 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…
Environmental Update
EPA e-Manifests Open to Waste Generators

Using computer near truck

Are You Ready for e-Manifests?

Paperwork – it’s one of the worst parts of dealing with hazardous waste shipments. In both Canada and the United States, hazardous wastes require a special document, the Waste Manifest that will not only serve as the transportation document for the dangerous goods/hazardous materials transportation regulations, but also allow environmental authorities to track the waste from the generator, who sends it for disposal, through the hands of the carrier, to the end receiver (in the US referred to as a TSDF, for Hazardous Waste Treatment, Storage and Disposal Facility).

In Canada, some jurisdictions have eased the burden by allowing the waste manifest to be created electronically. For example, in Ontario, the HWIN system has been used for years. However, until now, the United States has not had a system for electronic documentation, called e-Manifests. On June 30, 2018, that has changed.

The change has been a long time coming. Although the initial proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was made in 2001, it was not until 2012 that Congress passed the “Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest Establishment Act.” Under the Act, a final rule was published in 2014 that approved the use of such manifests. Since then, the EPA has been working to create an online system that will allow the e-manifest to eliminate substantial chunks of the burden of manifests, as well as Continue Reading…

3D rendered IBC
New ASTM Standard for IBCs

Neatly stacked IBCs

ASTM IBC Standards

Recently I wrote a blog about our boxes meeting ASTM standards. For those that weren’t aware, I described ASTM International as an international standards organization that develops and publishes voluntary technical standards for a wide range of products including packaging. In addition to providing standards in the development of corrugated boxes, ASTM can provide guidance in testing hazardous materials packaging, specifically in this case hydrostatic testing of Intermediate Bulk Containers.

Hydrostatic Testing for IBCs is outlined in 49 CFR §178.803 and §178.814.

This states:

The hydrostatic pressure test must be conducted for the qualification of all metal, rigid plastic, and composite IBC design types intended to contain solids that are loaded or discharged under pressure or intended to contain liquids.

However, the current regulations have been described as “limited” on the specific details of how to perform the test. (See video below)

This guide provides the detail on how to conduct pressure testing on IBCs and will provide a more consistent process for container manufacturers, testing labs, and regulatory agencies. The new standard will thus help manufacturers pass performance tests and qualify their container designs to meet requirements of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations as well as the United Nations recommendations on the transport of dangerous goods. The new standard will be published as ASTM D8134 and the scope is listed below:

Scope

ICC's Regulatory Helpdesk
Regulatory Helpdesk: June 4

Variation packaging cushioning material, excepted quantity packaging, UN packaging testing, distributor deadlines for WHMIS 2015, Mexico GHS, and compatibility

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.

Variation Packaging (4GV) Cushioning Material

Q. Can I substitute a different cushioning material in a variation box?
A. In general: “No.” When a UN-standardized package is specified. The various regulations (49 CFR, IATA DGR, IMDG Code, and TDGR), or the standards referenced within them, restrict the user to assembling the package according to the manufacturer’s instructions. These instructions are based on the components used in the submitted test/design reports on which the approval is based. 49 CFR §178.601(g)(4)(iv) even goes to the point of specifically requiring the same type of cushioning as was used in the submission.

Excepted Quantity Packaging

Q. Is it always necessary for the shipper to have performance test results on packaging used to ship “excepted quantities”?
A. This depends on the mode or jurisdiction of transport. 49 CFR [§173.4a(f)], IATA DGR (§2.6.6) and IMDG Code (§3.5.3) all require that the shipper ensure that testing has been done and documented. This doesn’t need to be externally certified or approved. TDGR [§1.17.1(3)] does not require specific testing, only that packaging is “… designed, constructed, filled, Continue Reading…
DOT 49 CFR USA
No Placards, No CDL Endorsement – USA Only

Truck Driving on highway at sunset

Hazmat Certification Under Placarding Exemption

The US DOT recently issued a “Letter of Interpretation” (LoI) regarding the lack of a need for a driver to have a hazmat (hazardous materials) endorsement on the CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) when transporting Class 9 hazmat within the US, despite the presence of Class 9 placards.

Changing Modes without Removing Placards

This situation is likely to occur when foreign shipments arrive which did not have the equivalent to the US 49 CFR §172.504(f)(9) conditional exception for Class 9 placarding, and are to be transported to their US destination.

An example would be if a Class 9 consignment arrives by vessel, which has placarding in conformance with the IMDG Code, and is picked up for road transport without removing the placards.

Even if the placards are not removed, there is not a requirement for the hazmat-endorsed CDL (equivalent to a TDG training certificate- for readers North of the 49th, metonymically speaking).

Note that, despite the exception for an actual Class 9 placard, §172.504(f)(9) does require bulk packages to be marked with at least the UN number.

Key to the Endorsement Exemption

49 CFR §383.93(b)(4) invokes the need for a hazmat CDL when the definition of hazmat in 383.5 is met. For substances defined as hazardous in 49 U.S. Code §5103(a) and (other than infectious substances/ biotoxins in 42 CFR §73) requiring placards, the CDL endorsement is required.

Thus, for most Continue Reading…

Lithium
How to Ship Damaged or Defective Lithium Batteries

Swollen lithium polymer batteries. Dangerous and harmful electronic waste

Regular Damaged or Defective or Dangerous Damaged or Defective?

There is a fair amount of interest in the topic of preparing Damaged or Defective (DoD) lithium batteries for transport and how to make a determination of the degree of hazard they present.

The current (20th) 2017 Edition of the Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (UN Model) Regulations have addressed the former (packaging for transport) aspect, but the documents currently posted have not yet established firm protocols for the latter.

The situations involving recalls of defective, unsafe batteries and incidents during transportation has sustained the efforts to find better ways of dealing with them. The topic has been under discussion at the United Nations Sub-Committee of Experts on the Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) in most sessions over the last several years.

For this discussion we’ll refer to cells/batteries that do not meet the UN Manual of Test criteria due to damage or defect, without specific safety hazards, as “regular” DoD; and those that “are liable to disassemble rapidly, react dangerously, produce a flame or a dangerous evolution of heat, or produce a dangerous emission of toxic, corrosive or flammable gases or vapours” as “dangerous” DoD.

This distinction is proposed for clarification in the next version (21st Edition) of the UN Model. See, for example, working document ST/SG/AC.10C.3/2018/51:
http://www.unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/trans/doc/2018/dgac10c3/ST-SG-AC.10-C.3-2018-51e.pdf

Batteries or Reactive Substances?

As a technicality, we should pause to consider the basic Continue Reading…

ICC's Regulatory Helpdesk
Regulatory Helpdesk: May 21

Limited quantities, manufacture expiry dates, regulated or not regulated, and reclassifying flammables to combustibles.

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.

Limited Quantity Limits (TDG)

Q. Customer called and asked if he can ship a box with 16 liters of UN1219 in inner containers as a limited quantity through ground in Canada.
A. The max according to the TDG is 1 L for limited quantity, so they can’t ship limited quantity.

Manufacture Expiry Dates

Q. Can you tell me if both the manufacturer and expiration dates are required to be on each label? Or if we have the option of just stating the manufacture date and verbiage that states the product is good for two years after the manufacture date? Also, would you happen to know which regulatory agency monitors these types of things?
A. The expiration date or manufactured date are not requirements of a GHS label. OSHA and The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals considers this supplementary Information, which is permissible as long as it doesn’t contradict any other information on the label, but they are not required components of the label.

Combustible materials (49 CFR)

Q. We have some drums of a material classified as NA1993 Combustible Liquid and only ever Continue Reading…