Hydrostatic Pressure and Shipping Liquids by Air

Pressure at High Altitudes

As the video above shows, you never know how the pressure change on an airplane will affect our sealed containers. From exploding shaving cream cans in checked luggage, to scattered potato chips at our feet on the floor of an airplane, the unpredictability of a high altitude can certainly cause its share of messes. Aside from having to do laundry while on your vacation, these examples are relatively mild. In the world of shipping dangerous goods, the consequences can be far more severe. For this reason when shipping hazardous liquids by air, our single and inner packaging must pass a hydrostatic pressure test that essentially ensures the pressure differential at high altitudes will not cause a disaster mid-air. You may ask, what is hydrostatic pressure and how is it measured?

What is Hydrostatic Pressure?

Hydrostatic pressure is the pressure exerted by a fluid at equilibrium at a given point within the fluid, due to the force of gravity. For the purpose of shipping dangerous goods, this is measured in kPa or Kilopascal.  When you see a UN Marking on a single package it usually looks something like this 1H1/Y1.8/100. The “100” is referencing the maximum hydrostatic pressure this container was tested at in kPa.

PK-KH6005 Plastic Container

Why is it relevant to shipping by air?

According to the ICAO DGP-WG/09-WP/67: When packages reach high altitudes during transport, they Continue Reading…

PHMSA
49 CFR – There’s an App for that?

oCFR Regulation Smartphone app

We’ve Come a Long Way

Technology is everywhere we look now. Think about some of the advertisements on television you see for what is available today in the realm of technology. There is the refrigerator that sends you pictures of its insides and keeps your grocery list. A device that can regulate your thermostat, turn on your lights, and send you reminders about events. Cell phones can now stream videos, search the internet, pay your bills, and still make calls. All of these are just in the past year.

Think back about ten years ago. It doesn’t seem that long ago, now does it? It is around this time that the iPhone craze was starting. In 2008 the iPhone 3G was released. As the second generation of iPhone, it came preloaded with such features as a GPS, special email capabilities, and the App Store. App stands for Application. It is from the App Store that people could download various tools, games, and software. Around this time, Apple began to advertise with the slogan, “There’s an App for that”.  You can watch one of the original commercials here.

So, why all the history? Because there is a new app available from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). This app called “oCFR” (Online Code of Federal Regulations), which allows access to a simplified, mobile version of Continue Reading…

Single Packaging
Latin, Vince Lombardi, & Packaging Selection

Man preparing shipment

Practice Makes Perfect

Most of us have heard the phrase, “Practice makes perfect”. I did when learning my multiplication tables. Others hear it in reference to playing sports. What is interesting is the phrase originates from the 1500’s. In Latin, it is ‘Uses promptos facit‘ which translates to ‘use makes mastery’. Vince Lombardi, American football player and coach, said it differently. For him, “Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect” was the correct way to say it. The intent is the same. The only way to get batter at something is to practice it.

So how does that relate to making the correct packaging selection for shipments of hazardous materials? A shipper should practice using the regulation and the UN Specification Markings together before making any decisions on packaging. When working with clients in transportation training sessions I always remind participants that packaging is two-fold. You have to use what the regulations say and what the marking on your packaging allows. Let’s do a practice problem to show what I mean.

Steel Drum MT0M502

Practice Problems:

Problem #1:

Can a shipper put 16 Liters of UN1114 Benzene into a steel drum with a non-removable head for a US Ground shipment using 49 CFR? Benzene has a specific gravity of 0.876 g/ml. The drum has the code 1A1 / Y1.8 / 250 / 16 on it.

Solving Process/Logic: First, the shipper has to understand what the specification marking Continue Reading…

World Hepatitis Day Logo
World Hepatitis Day

Eliminate Hepatitis Banner

Are your Signs Accurate?

Since 2010, World Hepatitis Day is observed on July 28th. The goal is to raise awareness of hepatitis as well as the prevention and treatment of the disease. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 1.34 million people died globally from this disease in 2015. In comparison, numbers that high match those caused by tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV/AIDS. According to the World Hepatitis Day website, “Currently, 90% of people living with hepatitis B and 80% living with hepatitis C are not aware of their status.” We all need to be educated. This is not a disease found in just one country or in one particular ethnicity. Here is the chance to educate ourselves. Check out the website dedicated to the even this year at http://www.worldhepatitisday.org/en/about-us

Hepatitis is the inflammation of liver tissue. It is most commonly caused by a virus and there are five main ones commonly referred to as Types A, B, C, D and E. Types A and E are usually short-term (acute) diseases. Types B, C, and D are likely to become chronic. Note that Type E is very dangerous for pregnant women.

Listed below are some key facts about each type of Hepatitis taken from the WHO website. For more information visit http://www.who.int/hepatitis/en/

Key Facts of Hepatitis Types

  • Type A – transmitted through ingestion of contaminated food and water or through direct contact Continue Reading…
railroad crossing
AAR Publishes New Edition of “Field Guide to Tank Cars”

Field guide to tank cars

AAR’s Field Guide to Tank Cars Download

Are you a birdwatcher who’s spotted every owl and thrush, and wants to move on to a new field of study? Are you a model train hobbyist who wants to make sure your HO scale equipment accurately reflects modern regulations? Or are you a safety professional who deals with bulk dangerous goods in tank cars? If your answer to any of those questions is “yes,” the American Association of Railways (AAR) has published something that will make identifying a TC-111A100W5 or DOT-117R100W as easy as telling a Mourning Warbler from a Laughing Gull.

AAR’s Field Guide to Tank Cars, by Andy Elkins, is a resource for rail workers and particularly for emergency responders. Tank cars come in many varieties, and handling them safely or responding to spills means that you must know what type of car is involved. The Field Guide has been updated for its third edition to reflect current regulations and standards, which have changed over the past decade due to incidents such as the Lac-Mégantic explosion in Quebec.

Types of Tank Cars

The Field Guide starts with a discussion of the basic types of tank cars – non-pressurized tank cars (also known as “general service” or “low-pressure” cars), pressure tank cars for products such as liquid propane and cryogenic liquid tank cars, used for gases that are liquefied at low Continue Reading…

OSHA Safety
Compliance Language

Current Dangerous Goods Regulations

Terminology in Regulatory Manuals

Language, as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is the formal system of words or signs that people use to express thoughts and feelings. Learning a new language is often a complex undertaking. It is also a time that lends itself to funny stories. While living in Austria for a few years taking German lessons was part of our visa process. We were encouraged to practice often. On one of my first attempts was to buy a certain pretzel. Somehow my request came out as asking for the “slow one” rather than the “long one”. My husband told a co-worker he “believed” he was a pencil. While neither request caused harm, it was confusing to the German speakers who heard us. I mention this because the language of transport regulations can be confusing as well until you have a good handle on the language used in them.

Let’s take a look at two simple words. We will compare their “everyday” usage with how they are used for transporting hazardous materials or dangerous goods. The two words will be “should” and “may”.

Word #1: Should

In normal usage, this word indicates certain obligations or expectations. Take for example the statement, “John should be ready by now.” By using the word “should” in the sentence, the expectation is that John is ready or prepared for whatever situation he finds himself. In Continue Reading…

Packaging Infectious Substances

Infectious Substances Packaging

What Are Infectious Substances?

Infectious Substances are defined as substances which are known or are reasonably expected to contain pathogens, or micro-organisms including bacteria, viruses, parasites, or fungi which can cause disease in humans or animals. Section 1.4 TDG, IATA 3.6.2.1.1. They are split up into two separate categories. Category A which is capable of causing permanent disability, life-threating or fatal disease in otherwise healthy humans or animals. Category A infectious substances are either assigned UN2814 or UN2900 and are class 6.2. IATA 3.6.2.2. Category B substances are any other infectious substances that do not meet the criteria for inclusion of Category A. They are assigned the UN number 3373.

Packaging Infectious Substances

For Category A substances, Infectous Substances Affecting Humans or Animals Only, strict performance criteria should be met on the packaging including drop testing, puncture testing, a pressure testing, and a stacking test. The configuring is often referred to as the triple packaging system. When packaging Category A substances, you must start out with a leak-proof primary receptacle. If the substances are shipped at room temperature or higher, these receptacles must be made of glass, metal, or plastic. The primary receptacles must then be placed into a leak-proof secondary packaging, either wrapped individually or separated to prevent any contact.

Both the primary and secondary packaging must be able to withstand an internal pressure of at least 95 kPa. If Continue Reading…

Placarding
Correct Usage of a Dangerous Placard?

Placards on a truck

An Interesting Combination

A recent training class took me to Iowa. Since it is so close to me, I decided to drive there rather than play the airport game. During the drive an old favorite song of mine came on the radio. The song is by Don Henley and called “The Boys of Summer”. In that song is the following lyric: “Out on the road today / I saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac / A little voice inside my head said / “Don’t look back, you can never look back.” Take a listen:

What’s funny is shortly after hearing that song I passed an 18-wheeler truck. On the back and side of the truck was a “Dangerous” placard and a “Class 5.2” placard. A picture of each is shown here. In a very simplistic sense, placards are big hazard labels, roughly 9.84 inches on each side. They are placed on vehicles to warn people about the hazardous materials on or in that vehicle.

Hazard Class 5.2 Placard
Hazard Class 5.2 Placard
Dangerous Placard
Dangerous Placard

The 49 CFR has some unique rules for placarding, but what was on that truck struck me as interesting. I’ve never seen those things together before.  It is usually 1 or the other. Being a safety nerd I checked my regulations when settled in my hotel room. Placarding information is found in Section 172.500 of Continue Reading…

Labeling
New Hazard Class Label Requirements

Red semi truck on highway

Updated Hazard Class Label Requirements

Stemming from the UN Sub-Committee of experts on the Transportation of Dangerous Goods 40th session, December 2011, and adopted by IMDG, IATA, and PHMSA (US DOT) in 2015. This change to all Hazard Class labels, became mandatory January 1, 2017 for air and ocean shipments. HM-215N issued on March 30, 2017 amended section 172.407 to allow an additional transition period to December 31, 2018 for ground shipments in the USA.

What’s Changed?

This inner line must be 2mm width and also remain at 5mm inside the outer edge even if a reduced size label is allowed.
Note, this is not mandatory for TDG (Canada ground, but will likely become mandatory in future), but customers who ship by ground and air, or ground, air, and ocean will want the consistency now.

Class 3 Label With thick border
New Border

Class 3 Label With thin border
Old Border

The width of the inner border was never previously defined. This change allows for consistency and the wider thickness to make the label more visible.

ICC The Compliance Center is your source for Hazard Class Labels. Our regulatory staff at ICC Compliance Center will be happy to help. Just contact us at 1.888.442-.628 (USA) or 1.888.977.4834 (Canada).

Anatomy of an ERG

Emergency Response Guidebook

Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG)

The North American Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG) is a tool developed by the US Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), Transport Canada, and the Secretaria de Comunicaiones Y Transportes (SCT).

Every 4 years, millions of copies are distributed, free of charge to firefighters and other emergency personnel. The purpose is to provide guidance to first responders during the initial phase of a transport incident involving dangerous goods.

There are Six Sections in the ERG

The white pages are informational. They contain the guidance and explanation on the following:

  • A flow chart provides information on how to use the Guide.
  • Basic safety information for use when responding
  • Hazard classification system
  • Rail car identification
  • Introduction to GHS pictograms
  • International Identification numbers
  • Hazard Identification numbers
  • Pipeline transportation, including pipeline markers

The Yellow Pages are chemicals listed by UN number. The responder would find the chemical by UN number, then follow orange and green pages accordingly. This section is also a handy tool to look up chemical names when you only have the UN number, without having to pull out a 49 CFR!

The Blue Pages are chemicals listed by chemical name. The responder would find the chemical by name, then go to the orange and green pages for instructions. This section is also a handy tool to look up UN numbers when you only have the chemical Continue Reading…