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…
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 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
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…
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?
Combustible Liquids, Using Chemtrec’s Number, Keeping Up-To-Date, and Other Paperwork
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.
DG Documentation on Overpacks
Q. If there are multiple skids of dangerous goods (overpacks) in a shipment on which one should the copies of the invoices and shipping papers be attached?
A. Neither the DOT nor IATA regulations tell you to put “paperwork” on the outer packages or overpacks. That is a carrier/driver thing. All the regulations care about is the proper marking and labeling that they require. You also have to be able to physically hand your paperwork to the carrier. Your best bet would be to talk to your carrier directly as to how they want it handled.
Q. I have a liquid with a flashpoint of 100° F and it does not meet any other hazard classes. It is not an RQ, waste or marine pollutant. After manufacturing, it is placed in tubes and then shipped for sale in retail stores. What marks and labels are needed on the outside of the packages?
A. The flashpoint of this material is 100° F and there are no other hazards under the transport regulations. This means it technically meets the definition of a flammable liquid in Packing Group III per §173.120 Continue Reading…
On March 15 Transport Canada released a notice on the intent to issue a new January 2018 edition of standard TP 14877 “Containers for Transport of Dangerous Goods by Rail” to replace the current 2013 (with Corrigendum) edition.
This is the penultimate culmination of the public process, in part arising out of the Lac Mégantic 2013 disaster, undertaken by a stakeholder Consultative Committee that began in February of 2016.
The main features of the proposed 2018 edition include:
Improved usability by incorporating external technical requirements, such as those in Protective Direction 34, 37 and 38.
Updated dangerous goods list to align with the 19th edition of the UN Model Regulations. Adjusted special provisions to reflect updated transportation requirements for Sulphuric Acid (UN1831) and Hydrogen Peroxide (UN2014 / UN2015).
Updated technical requirements for Class 3, Flammable Liquids and the new tank car specification known as TC 117.
Improved harmonization between tank car requirements in Canada and the US, including tank car approvals, tank car design requirements and a new mechanism to secure One Time Movement Approvals (OTMA) – Category 2.
Updated material of construction requirements for tank cars, including the addition of stainless steel, normalized steel for dangerous goods classified as a toxic inhalation hazard (TIH) and improved thickness requirements for new tank car construction.
When receiving inbound calls at our regulatory help desk, one of the most popular inquiries involves filling out various types of paperwork when shipping dangerous goods.
If you are looking to ship dangerous goods by air, you could now be facing a different type of compliance check involving your shipper’s declaration in the near future. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) unveiled a digital product allowing air cargo providers an easier way to verify that a shipper tendering dangerous goods has met the industry’s standards for transporting hazardous goods. Their new product is called Dangerous Goods AutoCheck (DG AutoCheck).
What is this new Digital Product?
This new Dangerous Goods Auto Check system is designed as a digital means of checking the compliance of goods designated under the Shipper’s Declaration. This tool will allow direct receipt of electronic consignment data and will automatically check the information contained in the Shipper’s Declaration against the relevant language in the IATA regulations governing the handling and transport of the goods.
Simply scan or upload the dangerous goods declaration into the tablet-based tool. That’s it!
The tool will simplify a ground handler’s or airline’s decision to accept or reject a shipment during the physical inspection stage by providing a visual representation of the package with the correct marking and labelling required for transport based on the information electronically provided Continue Reading…
UPS Makes Changes to its International Special Commodities (ISC) Program
UPS has announced it will be making changes to its International Special Commodifies (ISC) Program which enables selected customers under contract to ship certain prohibited articles.
This initiative has added more than 50 countries that can ship biological substances, shipments utilizing dry ice, and goods in excepted quantities internationally.
What does this Include?
UPS will now pick up and deliver packages containing UN3373 (Biologic Substances, Category B, Diagnostic Specimen and Clinical Specimen) as well as UN1845 (Carbon Dioxide, solid or dry ice) to 51 added countries and territories bringing the total number of countries to over 100.
In addition, the countries that were added to the list can now ship dangerous goods in excepted quantities internationally if authorized by the regulations.
Dangerous goods shipped in excepted quantities allow relief from certain regulations in small quantities outlined by IATA in §2.6. Be sure to check IATA for specific details and to use the label below when shipping in excepted quantities.
Where can I find packaging for UN3373 Category B Specimens and dry ice shipments?
At ICC we have a wide variety of packaging specifically designed for biological packaging as well as dry ice shippers for international shipments similar to the kit below:
Television talk shows have been around forever. Back in the 1950s there was Joe Franklin who moved over from talk radio and the emergence of “The Tonight Show” with its first host Steve Allen. In the 1970s and 1980s the formatting changed to include more tabloid type themes. Eventually shows became more about interviewing celebrity guests, comedy skits, and musical performances.
After all, where else could you see Tom Cruise jump around on a couch or see a presidential candidate play a saxophone? In case you didn’t catch the references, Tom Cruise’s antics were on the “Oprah Winfrey Show” and Arsenio Hall had Bill Clinton playing his saxophone.
What’s This Have to do with Dangerous Goods?
Speaking of Arsenio Hall, a part of his show included the skit called “Things That Make You Go Hmmm“. While quite funny, most aren’t appropriate for company blog. I mention this because of a recent regulatory inquiry that made it’s way to me.
A customer of ours wanted to ship a can of root beer from the US to a client in France. They wanted to know if the root beer would be considered a hazardous materials shipment. Good question if you think about it. Root beer could be considered hazardous because of the compressed gas (carbon dioxide) in solution which is hazard class 2.2.
One of my favorite childhood shows was “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?”. How he and his group of friends could solve all those crazy hauntings and monsters always amazed me. Nothing made me happier than when the culprit was discovered and he uttered the words, “If it weren’t for you pesky kids, I would have gotten away with it.” After all I was only a kid and catching the bad guys was a big deal.
Occasionally during a training class odd questions or little mysteries arise. In those times I can feel like Thelma from my childhood show tracking down the clues and getting an answer. Here is one from one mystery from a recent training. It came about after our discussion on United Nations (UN) Specification Packaging. We had just finished reviewing all the parts of the packaging codes and discussing the manufacturer’s packing instructions as they apply to 49 CFR – US ground regulations. This lead to talking about their actual facility. Below is a picture of a box they have on site for use. They wanted to know if it was in compliance.
Ah, a mystery I can solve.
In case you didn’t catch why they asked about this particular box and compliance, take a look at the FOUR package specification codes on the box. For most boxes, there is only one code derived from the Continue Reading…
Birthdays are important milestones and should be celebrated. One important one for parents is a baby’s first birthday. This is often followed by apprehension when a child reaches their teenage years. Many people in the United States enjoy turning 21 because that means alcohol is legal for us to consume. After that there are the “round” birthdays – those dreaded ones that have a zero after them. You know, turning 30, 40, 50, etc. We also celebrate the birth of nations. In the US it is every July 4th. For Canada the celebration is on July 1st. Many religions celebrate birthdays too. Christmas in the Christian faith is the birth of Jesus. Buddhists celebrate Buddha’s birthday on the 8th day of the 4th month in the Chinese lunar calendar. Companies also follow this same practice. In fact, ICC Compliance Center just turned 30 last month.
What does all of this birthday talk have to do with the transport of hazardous materials? January 12, 1966 saw then President Lyndon B. Johnson declare in his State of the Union address his plans to create a Department of Transportation (DOT). It was on April 1, 1967 the DOT was open for business. Think about that for a moment. That means in the 1940s when the first atomic bomb was created, there were no regulations around the transport of Class 7 radioactive materials. Other materials such Continue Reading…