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OSHA’s Website on Workplace Chemicals
Laptop on wood table

New Tools for Chemical Data

Chemical data and information are an integral part of my work. Data is needed for a shipper of hazardous materials or dangerous goods.  It is needed for an author of Safety Data Sheets (SDS). It may also be needed for OSHA workplace labeling. Sometimes you need several websites or resources open all at once to gather the needed data.

As such, OSHA has created a tool that you may find helpful. It is called the “OSHA Occupational Chemical Database”. The link for it is https://www.osha.gov/chemicaldata/.  It is a compilation of data from several agencies and organizations put into one online resource. The first paragraph on the site calls this “OSHA’s premier one-stop shop for occupational chemical information”. For chemicals found on the website, there is information on some or all of the following topics:

  • Physical/Chemical properties
  • Synonyms
  • Exposure limits – OSHA, NIOSH, ACGIH
  • NFPA ratings
  • Sampling information
  • Additional Resources and Literature References

The site is searchable mainly by chemical name, CAS number or alphabetically. There is even a feature that will allow you to search for chemicals under certain topics. The site allows you to group chemicals by Permissible Exposure Limits (PEL), Carcinogenic classification and Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health hazards (IDLH). That aside, once you have found your chemical, this site provides a variety of information. Simply click on the link listed Continue Reading…

Fire Safety
NFPA’s Fire Prevention Week 2018
2018 Fire Prevention Week -  Look Listen Learn

October 7 – 13 Is Fire Prevention Week

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has designated the week of October 7th-13th as Fire Prevention Week. This date was chosen as the Great Chicago fire started on October 8, 1871. Each year a theme for the week is chosen in an effort to keep fire safety present in people’s minds. This year’s theme is “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware – fire can happen anywhere.

Those 3 words are simplistic but necessary when it comes to fire prevention, preparedness and risk. It carries over from the home, to the workplace and more. Look is for people to look around their home, office and workplace. Listen is mainly focused on the sound of smoke or fire alarms. Learn is about knowing multiple ways out of a room. Here are some further thoughts on each word for you to consider.

Look for places fire could start:

  • Cooking areas
  • Heating equipment
  • Electrical and lighting equipment
  • Candles

Listen for the sound of the smoke alarm:

  • Take them seriously
  • Know where are they located in the home, office and workplace
  • Test them monthly
  • Replace any over 10 years old

Learn two ways out of every room:

  • Have an escape plan in the home, office and workplace
  • Set a meeting place
  • Know the path from each exit to the outside
  • Keep the areas near the exit points easily accessible

The NFPA Continue Reading…

United Nations Logo
2018 United Nations Regulatory Updates
Palais des Nations in Geneva

What’s New at the UN for Transport?

At this time of year all the regulatory updates start. Every time a notation comes across my desk or email I can’t help but think about a famous line in the movie “Sixteen Candles”. That particular line is “What’s happening hot stuff?” Click here to see the actual movie clip. One of these days, I want a presentation to start with this. It would sure break the ice on some rather detailed subject matter.

Having prepared you for thinking about what’s happening or changing, we have to start at the UN level specifically. Much of this information comes from a presentation by Duane Pfund at the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. We need to focus on is what changed from the 2015 – 2016 biennium. That biennium gave us Revision 20 of the UN Model Recommendations for the Transport of Dangerous Goods. Revision 20 is what will drive the changes starting in January 2019.

What’s Happening or Changing for 2019?

  • Class 8 Corrosive Materials:
    • A new alternative method for classifying these mixtures is being introduced. It revolves around using the GHS Purple Book bridging principles and calculation methods. Note that flammable gases and explosives are on the list for this same concept in the current biennium.
  • Dangerous Goods in Articles:
Airplane Icon
IATA Electronic Dangerous Goods Declaration INFr8 (eDGD)
Unloading an airplane

Another Step in the Digital Direction

For the most part, the dangerous goods world is one of the few industries that still relies heavily on using paper documentations, specifically when it comes to shipping declarations. In one of my previous blogs, we talked about DG AutoCheck which is simply a system IATA unveiled that digitally checks the compliance of a shipper’s declarations by simply uploading or scanning the paperwork into the system. As a part of IATA’s e-freight initiative, the digital process is being taken one step further with the implementation the INFr8 (eDGD) digital system.

What is INFr8 (eDGD)?

Unlike DG Auto Check which is intended for use by airlines, ground handlers, and freight forwarders, this digital platform is intended to include shippers as well to digitally create and send electronic Dangerous Goods Declarations (eDGD) through the entire air cargo supply chain. The dangerous goods process has traditionally been paper-based due to the lack of digital standards. The eDGD validation module ensures that the information on the shipper’s declaration is correct against IATA regulations and the specific airline’s requirements as well. Currently, airlines can only begin checking the documentation after handover. Thanks to the new electronic system, errors in accompanying documentation can be detected and ironed out before the airline even receives the shipment. This means documentation errors can be detected and eliminated at an early stage, reducing Continue Reading…

CellBlockEX Bag Only
CellBlockEX- Not Your Average Cushioning

CellBlockEX Logo Fire, heat, smoke suppresant

A few weeks back, Clifton Brown wrote a blog on how to ship damaged and defective batteries. Clifton mentions the importance of using the best quality packaging that will mitigate harmful consequences when shipping damaged/defective lithium batteries and help reduce the risk of transportation related hazardous or regulatory non-compliance incidents.

Perfect for Shipping Damaged and Defective Batteries

If you do have a defective or damaged lithium battery to ship, in addition to verifying the correct packaging regulations you should be asking yourself one question, would my packaging contain the heat, fire, and smoke if the battery does in fact explode? Unlike most other cushioning/absorbents on the market, CellBlockEX has the ability to suppress smoke, fire, and heat in the event of a fire starting within outer packaging. CellBlockEX actually displaces oxygen, absorbs energy and ultimately suffocates fire inside an outer packaging (see video below)

Why CellBlockEX?

Because Damaged and Defective batteries are usually more at risk of thermal runaway due to uncontrolled releases of the battery’s chemically stored energy, CellBlockEX is the is the perfect solution. As it stands now as Clifton mentioned, the 49 CFR §173.185 (f) limits the type of outer packaging that can be used when shipping damaged batteries excluding fiberboard packaging, that is of course unless you have a special permit, stay tuned.

In the meantime like the video above depicts, CellBlockEx would be the perfect inner Continue Reading…

2018 Safe + Sound Week
2018 OSHA Safe + Sound Week

2018 Safe + Sound Week

OSHA Safe + Sound Week Set for August 2018

Back in the 14th century, sailing ships were a primary means of trading goods. To protect goods on these vessels they were insured against loss or damage. The best news for the insurance companies was to receive word that the ship had returned “safe and sound”. The word “safe” was an indication of all crew members were accounted for without injury. The word “sound” told the company the ship had not suffered any serious damage. Since then we continue to use the phrase in our daily life.

The week of August 13-19 has been designated as Nationwide Safe + Sound Week for 2018. The week is presented by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), National Safety Council, American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) just to name a few. The goal is to “raise awareness and understanding of the value of safety and health programs“. All business and companies are encouraged to participate because “safe workplaces are sound business“.

The Core Elements of Safe + Sound Week

The focus of the week is on three core elements. It covers management leadership, worker participation and find and fix hazards.

  • Management leadership is a demonstrated commitment at the highest levels of an organization to safety and health. It means that business owners, executives, managers, and supervisors make safety Continue Reading…
WHMIS Logo
Countdown to WHMIS 2015 Deadlines

WHMIS Update

Compliance Dates are Right Around the Corner

Are you truly ready? There is only a month left until the WHMIS 2015 deadline for Manufacturer’s and Importers to comply with the new requirements. Distributors have just a bit longer with a compliance date of August 31, 2018.

Phase Timing Suppliers Employer*
Manufacturers and Importers Distributors
Phase 1 From February 11, 2015 to May 31, 2018 WHMIS 1988 or WHMIS 2015 WHMIS 1988 or WHMIS 2015 Consult F/P/T regulator
Phase 2 From June 1, 2018 to August 31, 2018 WHMIS 2015 WHMIS 1988 or WHMIS 2015 WHMIS 1988 or WHMIS 2015
Phase 3 From September 1, 2018 to November 30, 2018 WHMIS 2015 WHMIS 2015 WHMIS 1988 or WHMIS 2015
Completion December 1, 2018 WHMIS 2015 WHMIS 2015 WHMIS 2015
* Consult appropriate FPT OHS regulator to confirm requirements and transition timing.

The Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR) were published in the Canada Gazette on February 11, 2015. This amendment aligned the HPR with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). The GHS system, which is being implemented around the world effects the classification, labeling, safety data sheets and worker education and training.

The HPR set out specific classification criteria. If a product meets the definition of a hazardous product, then the workplace is covered by the WHMIS regulations and a WHMIS program must be in place.

Hopefully by now, you are well under way to ensure compliance with the deadline. ICC Compliance Center’s checklist is a useful tool to make sure you have all of Continue Reading…

National Day of Mourning is April 28
National Day of Mourning to Commemorate Canadian Workers

National Day of Mourning is April 28 in Canada

National Day of Mourning is April 28th

On a winter’s day in February, 1891, my great-grandfather was working in a coal mine in Springhill, Nova Scotia, when in an instant his world changed. An explosion deep in the mine erupted, sending fire sweeping through the tunnels. About 125 of his friends and coworkers died that day. With the rest of the community, he helped carry out the dead from the shattered pits. The story passed down in my family how he found the worst was carrying out the bodies of the children, some as young as ten, who worked beside him in the mine.

How Did This Happen?

How did this disaster happen? The inquiry never reached a firm conclusion, but such incidents were common in those days, when mines filled with coal dust were time bombs waiting for a spark. One might think the mine operators would have learned, but two more high-fatality accidents happened in Springhill (1956 and 1958), before the mine was closed for good.

In some ways, we live in a lucky era. Most of us who go to work each day expect to return home alive and well. Historically, though, the workplace could be a deathtrap. Although even the earliest farming and gathering communities faced hazards, the Industrial Revolution brought more people into contact with dangerous working conditions than ever. Workers in factories could be Continue Reading…

Lithium Battery
Passengers Traveling with Lithium Batteries

Inside passenger airplane

Thinking About Lithium Batteries as a Passenger

Recently in my travels, I found myself stuck in a long security line at our local airport. Being that it was during Spring Break, there was a wide variety of travelers from college students to retirees looking to re-connect with family. Although there were people of all ages and travel experience they all seemed to have one thing in common, they were confused how to travel with their laptop computers and other types of portable electronics containing lithium batteries. Let’s discuss some general guidance on how to travel with specific portable electronics that contain lithium batteries referencing some recently issued documents by IATA.

Portable Electronic Devices (PED) Containing Batteries

close up of man holding cellphone in front of laptop

Portable Electronic Devices including electronics such as cameras, mobile phones, laptops, and tablets containing batteries carried by passengers for personal use should be carried in carry-on baggage.

For devices that can be packed in checked baggage:

  • The device must be protected from damage and to prevent unintentional activation;
  • The device must be completely turned off (not in sleep or hibernation mode). 

Spare lithium batteries

Lithium Battery

Each spare battery must be individually protected to prevent short circuits by placing them in the original retail packaging or by otherwise insulating terminals by taping over exposed terminals or simply placing each battery in a separate plastic bag or protective pouch and carried in carry-on baggage only. Items that contain Continue Reading…

TDG Methanol Classification
Big Change in Methanol Transport Classification (TDG)

TDG Update - Man Staring in to warehouse

New Transport Canada Update Means Big Changes for Many Companies

Recently, Transport Canada posted on their FAQ web page, a few questions regarding shipping mixtures of Methanol.

The first three FAQs are for the most part, not surprising, with one exception in Question 2. These FAQ’s appear as follows (these FAQ’s are directly from their website): (keep reading, the biggest surprise is coming).

Question: How do I classify a product that contains methanol as the only dangerous good?
Answer: As per Section 2.3 of the TDG Regulations, when the name of a dangerous good is shown in Schedule 1, that name and the corresponding data for that shipping name (class, subsidiary class(es), packing group (PG)) must be used. Therefore, when methanol is the only dangerous good in the product and it meets the criteria for Class 3, Flammable Liquids, it should be transported as UN1230, METHANOL, Class 3 (6.1), PG II. Note that PG II is the only packing group available for methanol as per Schedule 1 of the TDG Regulations. Note: Subparagraph 1.3(2)(d)(iv) of the TDG Regulations allows a person to indicate the word “SOLUTION” or “MIXTURE” and also the concentration of the solution or mixture after the shipping name, as applicable.
Question: Tests results for a solution containing methanol as the only dangerous good indicate that its packing group should be III. How do I choose the proper shipping name?
Answer: Even if a dilution would lead to a Continue Reading…