PHMSA/DOT Update: Label Border Line Thickness

HM-215N Update: Clarification on 2mm label border line thickness

2mm Label Border Requirement Changed

As most hazardous goods professionals know, HM-215N was intended to harmonize the 49 CFR regulations with the United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods—Model Regulations (UN Model Regulations), International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code), and the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air (ICAO Technical Instructions).

Among many other mandates, the final ruling ultimately revised §172.407 (c)(1)(iii), which changed the required width of the solid line forming the inner border of hazard class labels to a minimum of 2mm thick allowing for a transition period for domestic transportation to be in effect until December 31, 2018 in a final rule published in March of 2017.

“Approximately” vs “At Least”

Although this ruling intended to improve consistency in labeling specifications worldwide, the language has caused confusion at the international level, and The United Nations Subcommittee of Experts recently adopted new language to clarify the width of the line may be “approximately” 2 mm instead of “at least” 2mm.

As a result, earlier this year in response to the industry’s request for clarification, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) rescinded the requirement for label borders to be at least 2mm in thickness.

This action will officially take effect on January 1, 2019. However, US enforcement inspectors currently still have been referring to the Continue Reading…

ICC's Regulatory Helpdesk
Regulatory Helpdesk: April 23

Using absorbents with variation packaging, UN marking height, limited quantity, and de minimis quantities

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.

Absorbent Materials in Variation Packaging

Q. Can I use absorbent padding instead of the vermiculite as the absorbent in a 4GV package that was tested with vermiculite?
A. Per the 49 CFR §178.601, the packaging must meet the standard to which it is certified and the material must be of the same type or design as used in the tested design type, in this case vermiculite. Therefore vermiculite would have to be used to comply with the regulations.

UN Number Height

Q. Is there a minimum size requirement for the UN number on a lithium battery mark?
A. The only place that a specific size requirement is referenced regarding the UN number on a lithium battery mark is in the IATA DGR – §7.1.5.5.2(b)- which states that the UN number “should be” at least 12 mm high.

None of the other common (49 CFR §173.185(c)(3)(i); IMDG §5.2.1.10; TDG §4.24; or UN Model §5.2.1.9) regulations quote a minimum UN number size specifically for the lithium battery mark. All of the regulations referenced allow for proportional reduction, of features without specified dimensions, when the authorized Continue Reading…

ICC's Regulatory Helpdesk
Regulatory Helpdesk: April 16

WHMIS 2015 concentration ranges, training, overpacks, segregation and non-DG in DG packaging

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.

New WHMIS 2015 Concentration Ranges

Q. There is a very specific list of approved concentration ranges listed in the CA regulations.  We had previously set up our ranges to be .1-10%, 10-20%, 20-30%, etc. (groupings of 10) and always included the “trade secret” caveat after our concentration list. Would this still be considered “compliant” for Canada, meaning using our ranges vs. their list of ranges?
A. There is a Regulatory Impact Assessment file that was sent out to stakeholders by Health Canada a couple days before the new amendment appeared in the Gazette II.

Under the comments received section of that file was the following:

Use of the prescribed ranges

One stakeholder agreed with the proposed amendment as it read in the context of the CGI publications, but asked for the following clarification: can smaller ranges be used if they (1) fall within an existing range, e.g. using 3.8-4.5% rather than 3-5% (as listed), or (2) when combining up to three prescribed ranges, e.g. combining ranges (e), (f), and (g) would be 5-30% but using 6-28% instead. Health Canada clarified that the prescribed concentration ranges are Continue Reading…

ICC's Regulatory Helpdesk
Regulatory Helpdesk: April 2

How to determine if a product is regulated, SAPT on a SDS, Shipping a drone, and using a UN package

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.

Is my product regulated?

Q. I have 2 products I distribute to various stores to sell. The SDS files say my product is not regulated under DOT and TDG in Section 14. Since this is sold as a consumer product, doesn’t that mean it is regulated for IATA should I ship it via air? (the SDS were emailed to me)
A. Nothing in your SDS files leads me to believe either one would meet any of the 9 hazard classes in IATA. This is further confirmed by neither SDS classifying the products for DOT and TDG. Basically, what you have are containers of non-regulated liquids.  There is no need for UN Specification packaging or paperwork for IATA or any other transport regulation.

SAPT on my SDS

A. Since the addition of UN numbers for polymerizing substances, we’ve been told we must include the Self-Accelerated Polymerization Temperature (SAPT) on our SDS documents in Section 9. Is this a new requirement?
Q. There is no requirement in OSHA HazCom 2012 to include that particular data point in Section 9. All of the Continue Reading…
Square on point with x marked out
Symbols in Transportation Regulations

Symbols in the IATA, IMDG, and 49 CFR

Solving the Mystery of the Regulation Symbols

As an avid reader and science nerd, the author Dan Brown is a different type of read. His lead character, Dr. Robert Langdon, is a professor of symbology. This means he studies and understands various symbols found in history and codes. Sometimes in transportation, we must be our own Dr. Langdon to decipher what the regulations are trying to tell us.

Here are some of the common symbols you could see with their meanings. Also included is where in each regulation you can find further information. By the way, have you purchased the March 2018 version of 49 CFR?

Symbols in IATA and IMDG:

  1. ■ The square: This symbol tells us new material has been added to the regulation or edition.
  2. ▲ The triangle: Here it indicates some part of that section of the regulation changed in some way.  It could be as simple as one word, sentence, or entire section that was reworked or clarified.
  3. ∅ The crossed-out circle: This one is a space holder showing some part or section has been removed, deleted or cancelled from the current edition. A very useful symbol, because it will keep you from looking for something that you knew was there but now can’t find.
  4. ☛ The pointing finger: Here is a symbol found only in IATA. It signifies this section or statement is more Continue Reading…
ICC's Regulatory Helpdesk
Regulatory Helpdesk: March 26

Proper shipping name, 500 kg exemption, MANCOMM symbol, and a TDG error

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.

Proper Shipping Name (49 CFR)

Q. The customer wanted to know if they can print the product name in section 1 of the SDS next to the UN number on a hazard class label instead of the proper shipping name.

A. No. The proper shipping name on the outside of the box is a requirement per 49 CFR §172.301 (a) (1) and must be marked along with the UN number in a non-bulk packaging.

500 kg Exemption (TDG)

Q. Can I apply the 500 kg exemption when I have a mixed load where part of the load is excluded from using a DANGER placard under the 1000 kg Class restriction in TDGR §4.16 but the remainder is less than 500 kg gross? An example would be a consignment offered that included 1200 kg of Class 3, 100 kg of Class 8 and 300 kg of Class 9 (no ERAP required for either)?

A. In the DANGER placard scenario in 4.16, the Class 3 is restricted from using the DANGER placard specifically, based solely on quantity. Regular placarding requirements apply to the load based on the guidance text Continue Reading…

Regulatory Helpdesk: March 5

Batteries, Batteries, and more Lithium Batteries

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.

Why do I need an SDS for a Laptop Battery?

Q. We are shipping used laptops with batteries in the units from the US to HK via air. There are multiple manufacturers and models, are (M)SDS sheets required for each model? Our forwarder is requesting them in order to provide pricing.
A. To answer your question, it would depend on why the forwarder is requesting them. They may be asking for them to meet the written emergency response requirements. However, they could be asking for them for classification purposes to prove which part of the packing instructions these meet.

The SDS could tell them the watt-hour rating which would then drive which part of the instruction to use. Forwarders and carriers have a lot of leeway. I can only speak to what the regulations say. There is nothing in 49 CFR or IATA that indicates you must use an SDS. Most people tend to default to them because they meet so many parts of the regulations in one place.

Manufacturer’s Packaging (Lithium Battery)

Q. Should I remove the manufacturer’s packaging from lithium ion batteries being shipped by air under PI 965 Continue Reading…
2016 Emergency Response Guidebook (PDF Download Available)

2016 ERG Accidents

The 2016 ERG is Valid Until 2020

The Emergency Response Guidebook published by the US Department of Transportation, developed jointly with Transport Canada and the Secretariat of Transport and Communications is used by firefighters, police, and other emergency response personnel who may be the first to arrive on the scene of a transportation incident regarding dangerous goods/hazardous materials.

The primary purpose of the Guide is to provide immediate information regarding the chemical, therefore allowing them to take appropriate action to protect themselves and the general public.

Changes and Updates You Should Know About:

Free ERG 2016 Download

  • The 2016 edition includes changes such as:
    • Expanded/Revised sections on:
    • Shipping documents
    • How to use this guidebook (flowchart)
    • Table of placards and markings
    • Rail car/road trailer identification charts
    • Pipeline transportation
    • Protective clothing
    • A glossary
    • ER telephone numbers
  • New Sections include:
    • Table of contents
    • Information on GHS (Globally Harmonized System of Classification and labeling of Chemicals)
    • Information about ERAP (Emergency Response Assistance Plans)
  • Also …
    • Updated to the 19th revised edition
    • Updated guides

Plus much more…

 

A physical copy of the ERG is required for most drivers and emergency responders.


Download the free ERG 2016 PDF

The PDF downloads of the 2016 Emergency Response Guidebook have been provided by PHMSA.

HazMat box with tape gun
Am I Using the Right Tape on my HazMat Shipment? (FAQ)

Man preparing shipment

Frequently Asked Questions About Tape Being Used With UN Boxes

Often times I get questions regarding which type of tape could be used with the various packaging we sell here at ICC Compliance Center. Like many other answers to questions, most of the questions can be answered straight from the regulations. As many of us know, sometimes when it comes to packaging, the regulations may not be specific enough to the questions we have. That’s when I turn to the PHMSA Interpretations for guidance.

What are PHMSA Interpretations?

PHMSA interpretations are written explanations of the hazardous materials regulations by various members of the D.O.T. They come in in the form of letters that are answering specific questions asked by a wide variety of dangerous goods professionals. They are to be used only as a form of guidance when following the regulations.

Do keep in mind that the interpretations that are currently posted in the database reflect the current application of the 49 CFR to the specific questions and may be removed if there are changes to the regulations or deemed inaccurate. The PHMSA interpretation browser can be found on PHMSA’s website.

HazMat Shipment Tape FAQs

Q. Can I put more strips of the tape than what is referenced in the closing instructions along the seam of the box?
A. Yes. Per Interpretation Response #06-0129 at the link below, as long as the specified Continue Reading…
Regulatory Helpdesk: February 19 & 26

Shipments to Puerto Rico, Non-hazardous substances, the Overpack label, and Aviation Regulated Liquids or Solids

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.

Shipping to Puerto Rico

Q.  If 49 CFR is used to make a vessel shipment of limited quantities from the mainland US to Puerto Rico is a shipping paper required? I’m asking because limited quantities don’t require shipping papers.

A. Technically that is true. Shipping papers are not needed for US GROUND shipments. You have to read the fine print in paragraph 173.150(b) which is the section on limited quantities for flammable and combustible liquids. It that paragraph it says, ” … is not subject to the shipping paper requirements of subpart C of part 172 of this subchapter, unless the material meets the definition of a hazardous substance, hazardous waste, marine pollutant, or is offered for transportation and transported by aircraft or vessel, and is eligible for the exceptions provided in §173.156 of this part“.

Non-hazardous substances under WHMIS 2015

Q.Customer called and asked if SDS’s were required for non-hazardous substances and where to find this in the WHMIS 2015 Regulations?

A.The answer to your question can be found below in WHMIS 2015, which states that safety data sheets only pertain to a hazardous product, therefore Continue Reading…