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…
The Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) of the Department of Transportation (DOT) has withdrawn a Final Rule that was intended to be published in the Federal Register on January 26.
The Final Rule, HM-215N, would have updated the U.S. “Hazardous Materials Regulations” to reflect international standards. This was due to the new administration’s Regulatory Freeze executive memorandum, issued January 20, 2017.
HM-215N would have harmonized the 49 CFR regulations to the latest version of the UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, the ICAO Technical Instruction’s on the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods, the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code.
New marks and labels introduced in the upcoming international regulations.
This delay has made it particularly confusing for shippers of lithium batteries, who have transitioned to the new handling mark, and hazard class 9 label, shown in these international regulations.
Last week, PHMSA issued a Notice that allows offerors and carriers to use the 2017-2018 versions of the international regulations without fear of enforcement. In addition, it is allowing users to mark and label packages in accordance with either the 2015-2016 or 2017-2018 IATA/ICAO and IMDG regulations.
This notice is limited to 49 CFR Parts 171.4(t) and (v). This notice is expected to be in place until HM-215N is release, or this notice is otherwise rescinded or otherwise modified.
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.
Next year signals the start of a new biennium for transportation of dangerous goods. Ocean shippers should take a look at what’s in store in the new International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG) which has been updated to reflect the most recent revisions of the UN Recommendation for the Transport of Dangerous Goods.
Compared to other regulations, the IMDG Code has a rather complex method of implementing changes. The IMDG Code 38th Edition was published in November of this year, so it will be referred to as the 2016 edition. However, the changes will not go into effect for 2016. Instead, shippers and carriers may start to use the new edition as of January 1, 2017. But a transition period of one year is given, so the changes are not mandatory until January 1, 2018. A new edition of the Code will be published near the end of 2018, but there will be another transition period of a year during which the 38th edition can still be used.
Think of it this way – during odd-numbered years you can use the current edition of the code, or the previous one. During even-numbered years, you must use the latest code published.
So, what changes can we expect for ocean shipment? It turns out that this biennium will not be one of massive changes, but Continue Reading…
Shippers who load containers in Canadian waters must comply with the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 and section 104.(1) of the Cargo, Fumigation and Tackle Regulations (CFTR) which incorporates SOLAS (International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea) Chapter VI, regulation 2.
There is a new amendment adopted by the IMO (International Maritime Organization) to SOLAS that is intended to:
improve container safety;
enhance maritime safety; and
reduce the dangers to container ships, their crews and all involved in moving containers through the supply chain.
This amendment will become effective July 1, 2016. They require that the shipper of a packed container to provide a signed shipping document that verifies the gross mass (VGM).
The shipper can determine the gross weight in one of two ways:
When a container is packed and sealed, the shipper may weigh, or have arranged that a third party weigh it.
The shipper or, a third party arranged by the shipper; may weigh:
each item of cargo (including package, non-packaged, unitized cargoes),
dunnage (loose material under and between items to prevent damage to cargo)
securing material that will be loaded into a container.
Then add the tare mass of the container to the sum of the single masses of the container’s contents.
The container cannot be loaded until the VGM has been verified by the terminal representative.
Shippers must adapt procedures to ensure that this requirement is met to avoid costly delays. The Continue Reading…
Zika virus – the name itself sounds exotic and dangerous. It is believed to be a serious risk for pregnant women. And it’s due to arrive in North America. Just how great a danger is this virus, and how should research and medical facilities prepare for the regulatory burden?
First of all, Zika is not a new virus. It has been known since the 1950s in equatorial Africa and Asia, but only recently has it appeared to migrate to new territories, including South and Central America, the Caribbean and Mexico. It is primarily a mosquito-borne illness, transmitted by the Aedes genus of mosquitos. Possibly climate change has increased the populations of these mosquitos in the areas where Zika is spreading. Aedes mosquitos are found in some parts of the U.S., and although they are not currently believed to be in Canada, they may spread as the climate warms. Person-to-person transmission by body fluids is possible, but this would be relatively rare compared to the mosquito vector.
Zika is classed in the Flaviviridae family of viruses, along with dengue fever, West Nile virus and the notoriously dangerous yellow fever. However, compared to these, Zika is usually a mild affliction. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), only one in five persons infected with the virus shows any symptoms at all. For those who do fall ill, the symptoms Continue Reading…
Hot on the heels of the Feb. 2 Transport Canada proposed amendment (“Harmonization Updates”) posting, there was another (Feb. 9) proposal for consultation to clarify the intent of Part 11 regarding marine/ferry shipments.
A major result, if the proposal is adopted, will remove the confusion around when the IMDG Code is mandatory for vessel (updated terminology to replace the noun “ship”) shipments of dangerous goods. This issue has been subject to conflicting interpretations from time-to-time; not just among consignors, but also within the transport and enforcement communities.
This difficulty in making a clear interpretation stemmed from the difference in the intent of the term “Home Trade Voyage” in an obsolete version of the Canada Shipping Act which was quoted (perhaps out of context) in Part 11 of the TDGR.
A literal reading implied that essentially all “salt water” voyages could be considered Class I home trade voyages; requiring use of the IMDG Code.
As proposed, shipments by ferry to, for example Newfoundland or Vancouver Island, will likely clearly be under the provisions of the TDGR, not the IMDG Code. This will be of benefit, particularly to shippers of limited quantity/consumer commodity items which should no longer require a formal dangerous goods document or other considerations unique to the IMDG Code.
Short-Run Ferry qualification criteria may also be expanded to 5 km voyages; and restrictions on fuel transport on passenger ferries may Continue Reading…
IMDG issued an Erratum for “IMDG Code, 2014 Edition“. They have provided a link to customers to be able to download (PDF) and print it. Customers who purchased the e-reader version can access the erratum using the Internet Update/Check for Content Update function on The IMO Bookshelf. Customers who purchased the CD, electronic download and internet subscription versions need no correction.
Training is needed in everything we do. Whether it is work, play or home we are constantly learning or being trained on something. We train our children for adulthood. We train our athletes how to run plays or moves. We are trained at our places of employment on how to do our jobs properly. Training in all aspects of life is in place to help us do things properly, help us succeed and help keep us safe.
In the workplace, how do we know just what type of training we should be getting? Obviously, it is going to change from site to site based on the type of business you work for. Regardless of the type of business, all workplaces are required by the OSH Act to provide a safe place to work. As per OSHA there are relevant types of training needed for different types of industry. These industries listed below with their appropriate regulation could be required:
If an industry doesn’t fall under a specific regulation like construction, they would follow the general industry standard. OSHA just updated their “Training Requirements in OSHA Standards” booklet. In this booklet OSHA gives a guide to all training requirements for employers, safety and health professionals, training directors and others to comply with Continue Reading…
The DG/HazMat world occasionally encounters confusion when there’s a need to refer to the “N.O.S.” aspect of a shipping name. The abbreviation is used in the proper shipping name of mixtures that have a potential variety of hazardous ingredients and/or don’t have a more specific, applicable name in the UN list.
The principal is that if the shipping name preceding the N.O.S. doesn’t contain sufficient details on the hazardous ingredient, then a technical name must be included in brackets following the N.O.S. as part of the proper shipping name. In some cases (i.e. US shipments) more than one technical name may need to be shown if there is more than one ingredient contributing to the hazard.
For example, in a mixture containing both ethanol and isopropanol (ethyl & isopropyl alcohols) along with other ingredients; in sufficient concentration to be classed as a flammable liquid; the proper shipping description would be “UN1993, Flammable Liquid, N.O.S. (ethanol)” internationally, and “UN1993, Flammable Liquid, N.O.S. (ethanol, isopropanol)” in the US.
Similarly UN numbers with a subsidiary class would also have to list the ingredient, if different, resulting in the subsidiary hazard.
The US convention is allowed by the phrasing of “at least the most hazardous” or similar wording in other modal/national regulations.
The term “technical name” is defined in the various regulations, but the common theme is that it Continue Reading…