Repacking Dangerous Goods
Shipping ID8000 by Air

Shipping ID8000 by Air

What do you do when an empty package weighs almost as much as the maximum weight allowed?

Those who ship dangerous goods via air understand there are maximum weight restrictions per package to abide by. For example, in the case of ID8000 the maximum weight per package is 30 kg G. The “G” represents gross weight.

The Request

I had a packaging service request to prepare a shipment (2 boxes) heading to Europe via air. As per the SDS the goods are classified as ID8000 for air transport. No problem! Normally ID8000 packaging jobs are pretty straightforward. When the boxes arrived at our warehouse, I was shocked at how big they were. I attempted to lift one off the pallet and move it to my packaging area, and our warehouse coordinator said, “Easy there, Muscles. Those are heavy boxes.” I asked him how much the packages weighed. He grabbed the courier slip and it said 89 kg (196.11 lbs).

The Problem

Right off the bat, the maximum weight per package was now exceeded. I opened one of the boxes to see inside (as I always do with any packaging job) and inside were a bunch of smaller boxes with aerosol cans. I took out all the smaller boxes and weighed the empty box (yes, I got help from Mr. Hercules … there is a lot of love around our office) to find Continue Reading…

Repacking Dangerous Goods
Acetic Acid – Shipping Apple Juice …

Shipping Acetic Acid

… well not quite but it looks like apple juice!

I had a client inquire about shipping acetic acid, which looks very much like apple juice, via air.

I asked him about the quantity, the concentration, and current packaging of the product. There was approximately a total of 11 litres, contained in 2 plastic jugs with 90% concentration. I asked him which carrier he wanted to use and he said, “whichever one I recommend“. Based on the volume of the product I advised him he could do one of two things. Either ship 11 individual boxes (definitely the more costly option), or ship it all in one box via carrier of his choice.

Of course, it made sense to put them all in one box and ship with a cargo aircraft only mark. I asked him to decant the 2 jugs into smaller inner containers with a maximum volume of 2.5 litres each. Plastic is preferred for this chemical. He brought in 11 individual plastic bottles that completely resembled an apple juice bottle. Using adequate UN packaging I packaged the bottles with plenty of vermiculite and sent it with FedEx. The package arrived the next day without any hiccups. I love these straightforward packing jobs!

Here are a few photos of the job:

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Lithium Battery
What to Do if Your Lithium Battery Catches Fire

Lithium Battery Fire

Lithium Batteries in the News Again

Once again lithium batteries are in the news. The FAA is proposing a worldwide laptop ban in checked bags on international flights. Tests conducted by the FAA have concluded that when large electronics like laptops overheat in checked luggage, they run the risk of combustion when packed with aerosol canisters like hairspray and dry shampoo. As a result, the potential for explosion becomes a danger to the entire aircraft. The risks are certainly a lot higher if your lithium battery device does in fact catch fire on an airplane, but what exactly is the reason lithium batteries catch fire and what should you do if your device does catch fire during your daily routine?

What is Thermal Runaway?

Previously I wrote a blog on how to prevent lithium batteries from catching fire. But why exactly do lithium batteries catch fire? Lithium-ion and lithium-metal cells are known to undergo a process called thermal runaway during failure conditions. Thermal runaway results in a rapid increase of battery cell temperature and pressure, accompanied by the release of flammable gas. These flammable gases will often be ignited by the battery’s high temperature, resulting in a fire similar to the video below.

Another major reason behind thermal runaway is other microscopic metal particles coming in touch with different parts of the battery, resulting in a short-circuit.

Usually, a mild short circuit Continue Reading…

Repacking Dangerous Goods
Re-packaging Lithium Batteries – A Pain in the Butt!

Lithium Batteries, Laptop battery

Shipping Power Drill Batteries as Dangerous Goods

Anyone who ships by air these days can relate to the frustrations associated with shipping lithium batteries.

The Problem

A gentleman (let’s call him Jack for reference purposes) was given our contact information by Air Canada to get his motorcycle declaration completed. I provided Jack with the shipper’s declaration and he was able to ship his motorcycle with Air Canada. Jack is moving to Faro, Portugal (yes, I am jealous too!) and he is shipping all his personal effects. The broker that is helping Jack with shipping his belongings told him lithium batteries (his power drills) are dangerous goods and Jack needed to remove them, which he did.

Repacking lithium batteries

Unfortunately the broker didn’t provide Jack with any directions on how he can ship them. So, when Jack went to drop off his motorcycle to Air Canada he asked about shipping his power drills and Air Canada cargo folks told him it’s DG and he needs to get it prepared for transport, and to call Air Canada (yes, you need to call the 1-800 number) for more information. Of course Jack did and Air Canada told him they can accept the shipment as long it’s prepared for air transport. That’s where I come in.

What Are Jack’s Options?

Jack then called me back. He said to me, “You seem to know what you are talking about when Continue Reading…

Regulatory Helpdesk: October 9, 2017

Top 4 Questions From the Regulatory Helpdesk

Welcome back to the Regulatory Helpdesk where we answer your dangerous goods & hazmat questions. Here are some highlights from our helpdesk last week. Check back weekly, the helpdesk rarely hears the same question twice.

#4. Why is My Product X when it should be Y? (USA)

Q. Why is my product listed as a Flammable Liquid Category 4, when the product is combustible?
A. Under OSHA Hazcom 2012, a product that has a flashpoint >140°F and <199.4°F is considered a Flammable Liquid Category 4.

This is illustrated in the table below:

Table B.6.1: Criteria for flammable liquids

Table B.6.1: Criteria for flammable liquids
Category Criteria
1 Flash point < 23°C (73.4°F) and initial boiling point ≤ 35°C (95°F)
2 Flash point < 23°C (73.4°F) and initial boiling point > 35°C (95°F)
3 Flash point ≥ 23°C (73.4°F) and ≤ 60°C (140°F)
4 Flash point > 60°C (140°F) and ≤ 93°C (199.4°F)

Once you have the classification, then you can apply the label phrases. The Flammable Liquid Category 4 hazard statement is Combustible Liquid. This is outlined in the table below.

C.4.19 Flammable Liquids (Continued)
(Classified in Accordance with Appendix B.6)
Hazard Category Signal Word Hazard Statement
4 Warning Combustible Liquid

#3. Does my Class 6 placard need to show Class 6.1? (International)

Q. I have a customer who is saying that it is the regulation to have the 6.1 on the bottom of the placard … and not just the 6 in order to ship overseas. Is Continue Reading…
ICC Top 10 List
OSHA’s Top 10 Most-Cited Standards for 2017

Young female Industrial Worker

Top 10 OSHA Violations 2017

At the end of September every year several things happen. It is the official start of autumn. All of the children are back in school. Pumpkin spice everything is available. OSHA publishes their list of top ten most-cited standards. These are always announced at the National Safety Council’s Congress and Expo. The timing fits with OSHA’s fiscal year that runs from October 1 through September 30. So, without further delay….

Most-Cited OSHA Standards for Fiscal Year 2017

  1. Fall Protection – Standard 1926.501 with 6,072 violations
  2. Hazard Communications – Standard 1910.1200 with 6,072 violations
  3. Scaffolding- Standard 2936.451 with 3,288 violations
  4. Respiratory Protection – Standard 1910.134 with 3,097 violations
  5. Lockout/Tagout – Standard 1910.147 with 2,877 violations
  6. Ladders – Standard 1926.1053 with 2,241 violations
  7. Powered Industrial Trucks – Standard 1910.178 with 2,162 violations
  8. Machine Guarding – Standard 1910.212 with 1,933 violations
  9. Fall Protection: Training requirements – Standard 1926.503 with 1,523 violations
  10. Electrical Wiring Methods – Standard 1910.305 with 1,405 violations

Here are some things I notice about this year’s list. First of all, four of top ten are related. By this I mean, items 1, 3, 6 and 9 are related to falling.  Next, take note that the top five violations are the exact same and in the same order as the past four fiscal years. Almost every other standard listed for 2017 is also on the 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013 lists. The only Continue Reading…

Emergency Preparedness
Safety & Emergency Preparedness

Firemen Extinguishing a Fire

Dangerous Times, Dangerous Goods

This year has seen environmental disasters that have put millions of people at risk. From the incredible one-two-three punch of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, to the Bangladesh floods, to the recent earthquake in Mexico, we see people facing lack of food, clean water and shelter. All of us need to protect ourselves and our loved ones during these periods when outside help hasn’t arrived. But while we’re watching out for what Mother Nature can throw at us, we must also remember hazardous chemicals and articles, even those that can help us survive, can put us in danger as well.

How to Prepare for Natural Emergencies

What does a typical household need to prepare for natural emergencies (or even man-made ones such as chemical spills that can isolate and endanger communities)? A number of websites list “must haves” and “should haves” for these situations, including:

What are some of the hazards that our own preparations can create?

One of the biggest dangers during emergencies is generators. These internal-combustion power sources can be lifesaving, especially for those with special health needs, and can make life during power outages more bearable. But they function by burning fuel, which can Continue Reading…

Regulatory Helpdesk: October 2, 2017

Top 4 Questions From the Regulatory Helpdesk

Welcome back to the Regulatory Helpdesk where we answer your dangerous goods & hazmat questions. Here are some highlights from our helpdesk last week. Check back weekly, the helpdesk rarely hears the same question twice.

#4. Shipping Sodium (UN1428) by Air (USA)

Q. The Customer asked if Sodium (UN1428) can be shipped by air using a plastic bag as an inner container inside of a 4GV box.
A. Per the 49 CFR 172.102 Special Provision A20, Plastic Bags are not allowed to be used as inner receptacles in combination packaging by aircraft.

#3. When to Use Bilingual Packaging (Canada)

Q. Does every word on [my] packaging need to be in French and English to sell in retail stores in Canada?
A. Canada has the federal Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act and the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Regulations. That Act and Regulation requires 2 mandatory items to be bilingual. Those items are the product identity, and the net quantity. The dealers name and place of business can be in either English or French according to those laws.

However, the guide specifically states: Subsection 6(2) of the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Regulations requires that “all” mandatory label information be shown in English and French except the dealer’s name and address which can appear in either language.

Any label information in addition to the mandatory requirements discussed above (i.e., directions for Continue Reading…

Repacking Dangerous Goods
A Dead Bat: Repacking Biological Substances

Repacking Biological Substances UN3373

We Repack All Types of Dangerous Goods … Including Dead Bats!

I received a call from a local veterinarian who was looking to buy 2 labels, yes only 2 individual labels. We sell them in rolls of 500 so it is surprising when someone asks for 1 or 2 labels. She was advised by a carrier that all she needs is to put two “UN3373” labels and a label with the words “Biological Substance, Category B” on a package and send it out. The veterinarian called us to get two “UN3373” labels and a label with the words “Biological Substance, Category B” as told to her by the carrier. I advised her that she can simply write the words on the package as long as it’s legible and indelible but she said she was told it must be a label.

TDG Training to Ship a Dead Bat?

Of course this is when my brain starts thinking outside of the box (more than the conversation that is currently taking place). Then I asked if she was trained to ship dangerous goods and she said no. She was only doing what the carrier advised her to do. That’s when the regulatory specialist in me stepped up. I advised her she must have TDG training to be able to ship dangerous goods. I gave her a 5 minute crash course Continue Reading…

Fire Safety
NFPA’s Fire Prevention Week 2017

Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has designated the week of October 8th 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 “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” An explanation of the theme is best explained by a video from Sparky, The Fire Dog.

Here are some statistics from a recent survey conducted by the NFPA. About one in every 338 homes had a fire each year from 2010 to 2014.  For most of those years the second leading cause of fires in homes and fire deaths/injuries is heating equipment. In terms of escape planning, only about a third of the US has developed and practiced a home escape plan. Also, many people believe they would have 6 minutes before a home fire could become life threatening when in reality the time is much shorter. The most shocking statistic of all was that only 8% of those surveyed indicated that when hearing a fire alarm their first thought was to leave the home or building. These are numbers we cannot deny and should all consider.

So, what can you do?  Here are some ideas from NFPA to use during Continue Reading…