Skull and Cross Bones
National Poison Prevention Week

The main part of my job is to train companies, workers, handlers, and the like on how to manage hazardous materials or hazardous chemicals safely. This can be done under the umbrella of the transport regulations of 49CFR, IATA, and IMDG, or under the OSHA HazCom standard. However, not everyone is going to take one of my courses. Sad, but true.

Granted all of those folks do their jobs well and use marks, labels, placards, and safety data sheets to convey information about their products to other users. But it begs the question, how is the general public made aware of the “other” dangers or poisons out there? Think about the laundry pod scare recently to make my point.

Back in 1962, the first-ever National Poison Prevention Week was announced. In 2019, the week will be from March 17-23. Supported directly by the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC), the goal is to promote safety tips and the emergency services provided by the Poison Control Centers in the US.

To emphasize just how important Poison Control Centers are, take a look at some numbers from 2016 taken directly from the AAPCC website at www.aapcc.org.

  • There were 2,700,000 cases managed by the centers.
  • Someone called the centers every 14 minutes.
  • Over $1,800,000,000 saved in medicals costs.

For this year’s event, people are encouraged to use the hashtags #NPPW19, #PreventPoison, and #PoisonHelp. Continue Reading…

Lithium
49CFR Trying to Catch Up for Lithium Batteries

Lithium Batteries, Laptop battery
Every year at this time training is busy at ICC. It happens for various reasons. The one that causes it most often is companies are due. As we know each transport regulation has a training requirement to it. Many decide to do all transport training at one time which is great.

Here’s the rub though. To me, 49CFR is always just a few steps behind all of the other transport regulations. I get the whole rulemaking process but it is frustrating to constantly have to explain or mention times when the US ground regulations don’t align with other international ones. When you add lithium batteries to the mix, it just complicates things even more.

For once, efforts are being made to catch up with all of the other regulations. On Wednesday, February 27, the Department of Transportation published HM-224I which is an Interim Final Rule (IFR) centered around transporting lithium batteries. Take note, this is a final rule with no advanced notice and was not open to comment. Comments will still be accepted and reviewed which could cause amendments later on but for now, this is what is required. DOT believes this IFR was “necessary to address an immediate safety hazard” presented when shipping lithium batteries.

So, what changes did this IFR bring in to the regulations? Let’s take a look.

HM-224I: Enhanced Safety Provisions for Lithium Batteries

New Dangerous Goods Fees to Go in Effect for Amazon

Last month I wrote a blog regarding penalty fees Amazon was looking to implement for packages that fail to comply with safety requirements when shipping dangerous goods. Amazon ultimately decided to take this a step further adding storage, and fulfillment fees for products they deem asdangerous goods. 

Who does this affect?

For sellers that utilize Amazon’s FBA program (Fulfillment By Amazon) in which third-party sellers send their goods to be stored, picked, packed, and shipped in Amazon warehouses before they are sold on Amazon, some of the new fees will go into effect on February 19, 2019, according to a note on Amazon’s forum for sellers.

Specifically, Amazon announced that it will be introducing a new fee for “dangerous” items like aerosol cans, and lithium-ion batteries that sellers send to Amazon warehouses. The fees will be higher than the regular fees Amazon charges for using Fulfillment By Amazon.

What are the fees?

The table below shows the new monthly inventory storage fees for dangerous goods containing flammable or pressurized aerosol substances. This change will first be reflected in April 2019 charges for storage that occurs in March 2019.

Storage Month Standard Size Oversize
January – September $0.99 per cubic foot $0.78 per cubic foot
October – December $3.63 per cubic foot $2.43 per cubic foot

Other fees include an introduction of separate fulfillment fees for dangerous goods that contain flammable or pressurized aerosol substances, and items that contain lithium-ion batteries.

Too see Continue Reading…

ICC Compliance Center
Ed Mazzullo Honored at 40th DGAC Annual Summit and Exposition
Ed Mazzullo Honored at 40th DGAC Annual Summit and Exposition

If you’ve ever applied for an interpretation from the U.S. Department of Transportation, or even looked one up online, chances are you’ve found a solution to your problem in a letter signed by Edward Mazzullo, longtime Director of the Office of Hazardous Materials Standards of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Mr. Mazzullo’s commitment to clarifying the complexities of the Hazardous Materials Regulations, as well as his career devoted to developing and improving regulatory standards, has resulted in him being awarded the George L. Wilson Award by the Dangerous Goods Advisory Council (DGAC) at its 40th Annual Summit and Exposition in Arlington, VA.

Each year, DGAC, a major organization for the education of the private and public sectors on transport of dangerous goods issues, presents the George L. Wilson Award to an individual, organization or company that has demonstrated outstanding achievement in the field of hazardous materials transportation safety. Previous winners include former members of the DOT, but also representatives of industry, and international representatives such as Linda Hume-Sastre, who labored for many years on the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations for Transport Canada. Even CHEMTREC, the well-known emergency information service, has received the award.

DGAC presented the award to Mr. Mazzullo at a lunch attended by many hazardous materials professionals who have benefitted from his guidance through the years. We applaud his long service, and dedication to Continue Reading…

Web address monitor icon
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 Continue Reading…