railroad crossing
AAR Publishes New Edition of “Field Guide to Tank Cars”

Field guide to tank cars

AAR’s Field Guide to Tank Cars Download

Are you a birdwatcher who’s spotted every owl and thrush, and wants to move on to a new field of study? Are you a model train hobbyist who wants to make sure your HO scale equipment accurately reflects modern regulations? Or are you a safety professional who deals with bulk dangerous goods in tank cars? If your answer to any of those questions is “yes,” the American Association of Railways (AAR) has published something that will make identifying a TC-111A100W5 or DOT-117R100W as easy as telling a Mourning Warbler from a Laughing Gull.

AAR’s Field Guide to Tank Cars, by Andy Elkins, is a resource for rail workers and particularly for emergency responders. Tank cars come in many varieties, and handling them safely or responding to spills means that you must know what type of car is involved. The Field Guide has been updated for its third edition to reflect current regulations and standards, which have changed over the past decade due to incidents such as the Lac-Mégantic explosion in Quebec.

Types of Tank Cars

The Field Guide starts with a discussion of the basic types of tank cars – non-pressurized tank cars (also known as “general service” or “low-pressure” cars), pressure tank cars for products such as liquid propane and cryogenic liquid tank cars, used for gases that are liquefied at low temperature, such as liquid oxygen. After explaining the DOT (U.S. Department of Transportation), TC (Transport Canada), and AAR tank car classes and specifications, author Andy Elkins goes on to discuss how to interpret specification markings, assisted with a helpful diagram of a typical mark.

Safety Systems

Next, the guide covers the safety systems found in tank cars, such as Pressure Relief Devices (PRDs), and the markings that must be displayed on tank cars to identify qualification specifics, such as the Thickness Test. Further sections deal with additional details about the various car types, illustrated with clear technical diagrams and photographs. This arrangement makes it an excellent resource for non-experts who want a quick summary of tank car marking and safety, as well as a good in-depth guide for those who need to know details of the fittings and safety devices for specific commodities such as chlorine or crude oil.

The guide includes an Annex covering recent changes relating to tank cars in North America, such as Transport Canada’s Protective Directions #34 and 38, and the “FAST Act” amendments to 49 CFR.

Use of This Guide

This guide would be a useful introduction for anyone who ships dangerous goods (or even non-dangerous commodities) in tank cars. While the “Hazardous Materials Regulations” of 49 CFR (in the U.S.) and the “Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations” (in Canada) are the controlling regulations, their tendency to cross-reference standards often makes it hard to pull together a full picture of requirements for selection and marking. The guide arranges information in a clear, logical flow, and the illustrations prove that pictures are really worth a thousand words.

The best part? The Field Guide to Tank Cars is available as a free PDF download from the AAR site.

Have questions about shipping hazardous materials by rail, or by any other mode? Contact our regulatory staff here at ICC Compliance Center 1.888.977.4834 (Canada) or 1.888.442.9628 (USA).

ICC Trade Shows and Events
ICC Speakers Present at Dangerous Goods Conference

Trade Shows and Events

2nd Dangerous Goods Conference

On April 28, 2017, IDC Technologies held their second Dangerous Goods Conference in Mississauga, Ontario. Two of our regulatory staff from ICC were among the presenters during a day of informative sessions that covered transportation, environmental, and safety aspects of the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (TDG).

ICC Regulatory Consultant Clifton Brown presented his study of the effect the current lithium battery regulations are having on air safety, with a look over the history of accidents involving these batteries since they were first introduced in the early 1990s. Clifton did a lot of sifting through reports from government and industry sources to conclude that the regulations on lithium batteries have a way to go to make them a negligible hazard. Perhaps by the time they are, we’ll have invented safer methods of energy storage.

Clifton Brown and Barbara Foster at DGC 2017
Clifton Brown and Barbara Foster at DGC 2017

I presented an overview of the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) changes to health and safety regulations, and whether the GHS Purple Book has achieved worthwhile harmonization in the same way as the UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (the Orange Book). Unfortunately, we’ll have to deal with a lot of disharmonization remaining in the short term (such as the differences on dealing with environmental hazards between North America and Europe). However, the Orange Book has, slowly but surely, led regulators to remove many of these impediments to international transportation. Let’s hope the Purple Book serves as a good signpost to true harmonization.

Other Speakers Present:

  • Dale Gration, Manager of Transportation of Dangerous Goods Ontario Region, Transport Canada, gave an interesting summary of current and upcoming Transport Canada amendments to the Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) Regulations.
  • Pierre Boies, President of Gestion Sécure P. Boies Inc. spoke on the effects of the Air Cargo Security Program. Pierre discussed general requirements as well as security aspects for dangerous goods.
  • Mark Roehler, Principle, LEHDER Environmental Services Ltd, gave his perspective on the similarities, as well as considerable differences, in classification of hazardous waste under the environmental regulations as compared to TDG. He gave special attention to classification under Ontario’s Regulation 347, but stressed that each province has its unique features.
  • Michel Hachey, Chief Technical Communicator, MG Chemicals, took a chemist’s look at the environmental effects of toxic metals in the environment. Many metals may be marine pollutants for transportation, but the classification can depend on multiple factors such as the size of the metal particles. As a chemistry major, I found this session particularly interesting.
  • Amber Rushton, National Manager, Emergency Management Lead of the Ontario Association of Emergency Managers, OAEM, took us through the role of the professional emergency manager. The emergency manager, she stressed, is an essential part of a coordinated emergency response effort, helping all parts of the system function effectively together.
  • Finally, Greg Fulford of Nordion addressed the unique requirements for transporting Class 7 radioactives, which involves combining TDG with other regulations such as the “Packaging and Transportation of Radioactive Substances Regulations.” When it comes to regulatory oversight, it appears some classes of dangerous goods are more equal than others, and Class 7 is the most equal of them all.

A Fun and Useful Experience

There were a couple of aspects that made this conference more fun and useful than many others. First, IDC not only provided copies of the presenters’ programs, but requested presenters to put their findings into a written paper. Both the papers and the PowerPoint presentations were assembled into a handy softbound book, rather than the standard binder. Even better, presenters were encouraged to make their presentations interactive by including activities for the audience. I was called upon by Greg Fulford to help assemble a box of mock radioactives, only to flub the security tape part. Hint for those using it – get someone to help you by holding the box flaps down. Once the tape is on, it will tell if you try to reposition it – no second chances allowed.

We’re grateful to IDC for inviting us to participate in this conference. If you’re looking for information on upcoming trends in the transportation of dangerous goods, you might want to consider attending next time it’s offered. For a one-day session, the selection of topics was excellent and the speakers were all well-informed as well as skilled at presentation.

If you have questions about dangerous goods, please contact ICC Compliance Center at 1-888-977-4834 (Canada) or 1-888-442-9628 (USA).

OSHA Safety
Compliance Language

Current Dangerous Goods Regulations

Terminology in Regulatory Manuals

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 transport, this word takes on some slightly different meanings depending on the regulation.

  • 49 CFR – US Ground: Per 171.9, the word “should” is used in a recommendatory sense. Meaning the shipper is not required to do what is listed in the regulation. It is encouraged or recommended, but it is not enforceable.
  • International Air Transport Association (IATA): Per Section 1.3.1.3, the word “should” is a preferred requirement. This means the section is not binding for a shipper, but there is a suggestion to follow whatever is listed.
  • International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG): It is in the Forward that we find this definition. For “should” again the word is used in a recommendatory sense. Items in the Code with this word are not required, only recommended.
  • Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) – Canada Ground: Oddly enough, this term is not defined in Section 1.3 of the regulations.

Word #2: May

This word is used for possibilities or options even permission when used in daily language. An example here is the statement, “John may be ready by now.” In this case, the statement conveys the possibility that John might be ready, but again there is the option that he is not. Again, for transport, there are different meanings.

  • 49 CFR – US Ground: Per 171.9, the word “may” is used in a permissive sense. Meaning the shipper is not required to do what is listed in the regulation.  The item is simply allowed or permitted.
  • International Air Transport Association (IATA): Per Section 1.3.1.3, the word “may” is listed as a preferred requirement and not binding for a shipper. Again, as a preferred requirement there is the suggestion to follow whatever is listed but no requirement to do so.
  • International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG): Again it is in the Forward that we find “may”. Here “may” is used to indicate optional provisions. Items in the Code with this word have no preferred or recommended parts. The shipper can choose to either do what is listed or not.
  • Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) – Canada Ground: In Section 1.3, the word “may” is listed as permissive. This aligns with the US Ground requirements and indicates things that are allowed or permitted.

Be sure to know the language of the regulation you are following before attempting to make a shipment of a dangerous goods or hazardous materials using it. You may be “believing” something that is not actually true or required by the regulation. For all of your transport needs, contact ICC Compliance Center today.

Packaging Infectious Substances

Infectious Substances Packaging

What Are Infectious Substances?

Infectious Substances are defined as substances which are known or are reasonably expected to contain pathogens, or micro-organisms including bacteria, viruses, parasites, or fungi which can cause disease in humans or animals. Section 1.4 TDG, IATA 3.6.2.1.1. They are split up into two separate categories. Category A which is capable of causing permanent disability, life-threating or fatal disease in otherwise healthy humans or animals. Category A infectious substances are either assigned UN2814 or UN2900 and are class 6.2. IATA 3.6.2.2. Category B substances are any other infectious substances that do not meet the criteria for inclusion of Category A. They are assigned the UN number 3373.

Packaging Infectious Substances

For Category A substances, Infectous Substances Affecting Humans or Animals Only, strict performance criteria should be met on the packaging including drop testing, puncture testing, a pressure testing, and a stacking test. The configuring is often referred to as the triple packaging system. When packaging Category A substances, you must start out with a leak-proof primary receptacle. If the substances are shipped at room temperature or higher, these receptacles must be made of glass, metal, or plastic. The primary receptacles must then be placed into a leak-proof secondary packaging, either wrapped individually or separated to prevent any contact.

Both the primary and secondary packaging must be able to withstand an internal pressure of at least 95 kPa. If the substance is a liquid it must have absorbent material placed between the primary and secondary packaging. If the substances are frozen or refrigerated, dry ice or Ice must be placed around the secondary packaging or in an over pack and a leak-proof container. The limit per container on a passenger aircraft is 50 ML or 50 G. A rigid Outer Packaging including drums, boxes or jerricans must then be used to surround the entire package. (See Image Below) 49 CFR (173.196), CAN/CGSB-43.125, IATA Packing Instruction P620.

Infectious Packaging Diagram
Diagram No. 1

When packaging Category B substances, Biological Substance, Category B (see figure below), the triple packaging system of primary, secondary, and outer packaging is also utilized. They must also be packaged in a way that under normal circumstances of transport cannot break, be puncture or leak. For liquid substances shipped by air, the primary receptacle must not contain more than 1 L, and the outer packaging must not contain more than 4 L or 4 KG for solids. 49 CFR 173.199, CAN/CGSB-43.125, IATA Packing Instruction P650.

Infectious Packaging Diagram
Diagram No. 2

And as always contact ICC Compliance Center for questions or to purchase Infectious Packaging.

Single Packaging
5 Common Mistakes When Shipping Dangerous Goods

Man preparing shipment

With the amount of hazardous materials being transported every day, It is no surprise that dangerous goods shippers may struggle to be compliant. Whether it is a misinterpretation of the regulations, or not knowing that a specific regulation exists, the end result is the same, fines and endangering the safety of others. Below are some common mistakes when shipping dangerous goods.

1. Failure to Use UN Specification Packaging:

Shipping dangerous goods isn’t as easy as throwing it in a box and taping it closed. Depending on the specific hazardous substance, there are regulations in place that tell us what type of packaging is acceptable. These regulations will also tell us if the hazardous substance requires UN Specification packaging or not, depending on the quantity. Your best bet would be to always err on the side of caution when packaging dangerous goods and make sure your understanding of the regulations is correct.

49 CFR 173.24, Subsection 5.12(1) of the TDG Regulations.

2. Improper Marking and Labeling of Packages in Shipment:

The exact violation will differ with each shipment, however, whatever the violation is they all have one thing in common: a misunderstanding of the Hazardous Material Regulations (HMR) and how they apply to the hazardous materials you are shipping. It is the responsibility of the shipper to ensure the package is marked and labeled correctly. Section 4.10 of the TDG regulations, 172.400 49 CFR.

3. Failure to Follow Closure Instructions and to Maintain Them in Accordance with DOT:

Inaccurate record keeping is one of the most frequently occurring violations assessed by the Department of Transportation. The Hazardous Materials Regulations require shippers to maintain a copy of the manufacturer’s notification, including closure instructions (See 178.2(c)(1)(i)(B) of the 49 CFR and clause 4.4 of TP14850), unless it is permanently embossed or printed on the packaging itself. The packaging closure instructions must be available for inspection by a DOT representative upon request for the time period of the packaging’s periodic retest date.

4. Failure to Train Hazmat Employees:

The terms “hazmat employee” and “hazmat employer” are clearly defined in 49 CFR 171.8. Stated briefly, a hazmat employee is anyone who directly affects hazardous materials transportation safety, and a hazmat employer is anyone who uses employees in connection with transporting hazardous materials in commerce, causing hazardous materials to be transported, or manufacturing or offering packaging as authorized for use in transportation of hazardous materials. Section 6.2 of the TDG Regulations.

Before any employee begins working with dangerous goods, that person must be provided function-specific training applicable to the functions of the job that they perform. Also, if a new regulation is adopted, or an existing regulation is changed that relates to a function performed by a hazmat employee, that hazmat employee first must be instructed in those new or revised function-specific requirements. 172.704 (a)(2)(i) 49 CFR.

5. Failure to register with PHMSA:

Federal Hazardous material transportation law requires a person who offers for transportation certain hazardous materials, to file a registration statement with the U.S Department of Transportation and to pay an annual registration fee. The registration regulations are found at 49 CFR 107.601-107.620.

As always, if you have any questions regarding shipping dangerous goods contact ICC Compliance Center at 1.888.442.9628 (USA) or 1.888.977.4834 (Canada).

Placarding
Is a Placard Required?

Placards on a truck

Answers from the Helpdesk

Placarding is one of the more complicated areas of the hazardous materials regulations. There are so many variables and exceptions, no wonder it becomes confusing.

Let’s practice using a real helpdesk question.

What placards are required for each shipment (49 CFR or TDG)? Write down your answer before scrolling down to read the answer.

SHIPMENT 1: 

9000 LBS (4082 KG) CORROSIVE UN1719, (ALL NON-BULK PACKAGING)

 SHIPMENT 2: 

(ALL NON-BULK PACKAGING)

9000 LBS (4082 KG) CORROSIVE UN1719
1500 LBS (680 KG) CORROSIVE UN1791

1500 LBS (680 KG) CORROSIVE UN3264
1500 LBS (680 KG) CORROSIVE UN3265

 SHIPMENT 3: 

(ALL NON-BULK PACKAGING)

200 LBS (91 KG) CORROSIVE UN1719
200 LBS (91 KG) CORROSIVE UN1791,

200 LBS (91 KG) CORROSIVE UN3264
200 (91 KG) LBS CORROSIVE, UN3265

Click here to see the 49 CFR answers »
Click here to see the TDGR answers »

49 CFR Regulations

The placarding requirements are found in Part 172.500 of the Hazardous Materials Regulations. The general rule is going to be:

If in bulk, you always need a placard.

If non-bulk, then it depends on if the hazard class is in Table 1 or 2, and the amount that is being shipped.

Also, in most cases, 4 placards are required, one on each side and one on each end.

When shipping in bulk, a UN number is required on the placard. You will find this referenced in the marking section Part 172.331.

(a) Each person who offers a hazardous material to a motor carrier for transportation in a bulk packaging shall provide the motor carrier with the required identification numbers on placards or plain white square-on-point display configurations, as authorized, or shall affix orange panels containing the required identification numbers to the packaging prior to or at the time the material is offered for transportation, unless the packaging is already marked with the identification number as required by this subchapter.

(b) Each person who offers a bulk packaging containing a hazardous material for transportation shall affix to the packaging the required identification numbers on orange panels, square-on-point configurations or placards, as appropriate, prior to, or at the time the packaging is offered for transportation unless it is already marked with identification numbers as required by this subchapter.

For non-bulk, the following references are also important:
The reference for this is 49 CFR §172.301(a)(1)(3):

“(3) Large quantities of a single hazardous material in non-bulk packages. A transport vehicle or freight container containing only a single hazardous material in non-bulk packages must be marked, on each side and each end as specified in the §172.332 or §172.336, with the identification number specified for the hazardous material in the §172.101 Table, subject to the following provisions and limitations:

(i) Each package is marked with the same proper shipping name and identification number;

(ii) The aggregate gross weight of the hazardous material is 4,000 kg (8,820 pounds) or more;

(iii) All of the hazardous material is loaded at one loading facility;

(iv) The transport vehicle or freight container contains no other material, hazardous or otherwise; and

(v) The identification number marking requirement of this paragraph (a)(3) does not apply to Class 1, Class 7, or to non-bulk packagings for which identification numbers are not required.”

Answers:

Which placards are required according to 49 CFR?

Shipment 1: 4- Class 8 placards are required with UN1719

Why? The class 8 placard is required as it is being shipped as a single commodity in non-bulk exceeding 8,820 lbs (4000.68 kg)

Shipment 2: 4- Class 8 placards are required, UN number not required

Why? The class 8 Placard is required, the UN number is not required because there are multiple hazardous goods being shipped on the same shipment

Shipment 3: No placards are required

Why? No placards are required because Class 8 materials appear on table 2 and is under 454 kg (1001 lbs)

Transport Canada

The placarding requirements are found in Part 4 of the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (TDG).

The following are some general rules for placarding under the TDG regulations in Canada.

In most cases, four placards are required, on both sides and both ends of the transport unit.

A placard is required if the chemical is in a quantity or concentration for which an ERAP is required.

If 500 kg or more of a quantity is being transported of one hazard class a placard is required.

4.15.2 UN Numbers on a Large Means of Containment says:

UN numbers, except UN numbers for dangerous goods included in Class 1, Explosives, must be displayed on a large means of containment in accordance with subsection 4.8(2) if the dangerous goods

(a) are in a quantity or concentration for which an emergency response assistance plan is required; or

(b) are a liquid or a gas in direct contact with the large means of containment.

4.16.1 Placarding Exemption for Dangerous Goods Having a Gross Mass of 500 kg or Less says:

Subsection (1) provides an exemption from placarding requirements if the dangerous goods in or on a road vehicle or railway vehicle have a gross mass that is less than or equal to 500 kg.

Subsection (2) sets out which dangerous goods cannot be counted in the 500 kg and are, therefore, subject to the placarding requirements.

  1. Except in the case of the dangerous goods listed in subsection (2), a placard is not required to be displayed on a road vehicle or railway vehicle if the dangerous goods in or on the road vehicle or railway vehicle have a gross mass that is less than or equal to 500 kg.
  2. The exemption set out in subsection (1) does not apply to dangerous goods
    • (a) requiring an emergency response assistance plan;
    • (b) requiring the display of a subsidiary class placard in accordance with section 4.15.1;
    • (c) included in Class 1, Explosives, except for
      • (i) explosives referred to in subsection 4.17(1), and
      • (ii) explosives included in Class 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 or 1.5, if
    • (A) the explosives are not subject to special provision 85 or 86 and have a net explosives quantity that is less than or equal to 10 kg, or
    • (B) the explosives are subject to special provision 85 or 86 and the number of articles of explosives is less than or equal to 1000;
      • (d) included in Class 2.1, Flammable Gases, if the road vehicle or railway vehicle is to be transported by ship;
      • (e) included in Class 2.3, Toxic Gases;
      • (f) included in Class 4.3, Water-reactive Substances;
      • (g) included in Class 5.2, Organic Peroxides, Type B, liquid or solid, that require a control or emergency temperature;
      • (h) included in Class 6.1, Toxic Substances, that are subject to special provision 23; or
      • (i) included in Class 7, Radioactive Materials, that require a Category III – Yellow label.

Answers:

Which placards are required according to the TDGR?

Shipment 1: 4- Class 8 placards are required UN number not required

Why? Class 8 placards are required, because this shipment exceeds 500 KG, but the UN number is not required as there is no ERAP and it is not in a large means of containment

Shipment 2: 4- Class 8 placards are required, UN number not required

Why? Placards are required as the shipment is over 500 KG, but UN numbers on the placards are not required because the ERAP is either non-existent or is not met.

Shipment 3: No placards are required

Why? Because no ERAP are met, and the quantity is less than 500 kg.

No Placards are required for class 8 hazardous material for shipments under 500 KG and when no ERAP is met.


ICC Compliance Center has a variety of tools and “cheat sheets” to help you understand the placarding requirements. Visit our website for more information.

Oil drum spill
What to Do – Accidents/Incidents Involving Dangerous Goods

Hazmat Incident

Unfortunately, Accidents Do Happen

Dangerous goods, necessary for Canadians’ quality of life, are transported from one area to another across the country every day. These goods, which travel by road, air, rail, and sea, leave Canada by the same routes, railway stations, airports, and ports. All these displacements increase the risk of incidents harmful to human beings and the environment. Therefore, it is essential that manufacturers, shippers, carriers, terminal operators, users, and governments strive to minimize the risk of incidents and the damage they can cause.

Approximately 30 million shipments of dangerous goods are shipped annually in Canada, and 99.998% of them travel to destinations without any incident!

When a dangerous goods incident occurs, the person in possession of the dangerous goods at the time of the incident must call the relevant competent authority (usually the local police, or call CANUTEC at *666 / 613-996-6666 / 1-888-CANUTEC, or call the 24-hour number that appears on the transport document or in the case of an ERAP call that activation number).

When first responders arrive at the scene of an accident involving dangerous goods, they will consult the Emergency Response Guide (ERG). They may also contact CANUTEC for assistance.

CANUTEC is Transport Canada’s Canadian Transport Emergency Center where bilingual scientists are always ready to answer. They are trained in emergency response and are ready to assist when an accident happens involving dangerous goods. CANUTEC’s role is to provide technical and scientific advice in an incident involving dangerous goods and to bring together all persons involved in the incident. The CANUTEC’s staff handles nearly 1,000 emergencies and answers more than 22,000 phone calls every year!

Note that CANUTEC advisors do not go to the scene of an incident.

CANUTEC also provides a 24-hour emergency telephone service for registered Canadian shippers who enter the CANUTEC emergency telephone number (1-888-CAN-UTEC (226-8832) or 613-996-6666) on their dangerous goods shipping documents. The free online registration for this service is available on the CANUTEC website.

TDG Reporting Requirements

Newly amended, Part 8 (Reporting Requirements) of the Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) Regulations improves the data collection process, increases risk analysis capacity and specify the reporting requirements.

Part 8 of TDG requires that CANUTEC be contacted in the case of:

  • a Release or Anticipated Release Report (Road, Rail, Marine);
  • a Dangerous Goods Accident or Incident Report (Air);
  • an Undeclared or Misdeclared Dangerous Goods Report (Air);
  • a Loss or Theft Report (Road, Rail, Marine, Air); or
  • an Unlawful Interference Report (Road, Rail, Marine, Air).

Part 8 has three tier reporting for road, rail and marine:

  1. Emergency report to local authorities if the release endangers or could endanger public safety* consult 8.2;
  2. A Release or Apprehended Release report, only if special requirements are met consult section 8.4;
  3. A 30-day follow-up report, if a release or apprehended release report was required, consult section 8.6.

*Note that public safety refers to safety related to human life and health, property and the environment.

Transport Canada released Safety Awareness Kits aimed at target audiences – First Responders, Communities/Municipalities, Industry and the General Public – containing valuable information on the Transportation of Dangerous Goods. You can consult them at:
Transportation of Dangerous Goods Safety Awareness Materials and FAQ webpage

Shipping by Road
TDGR US Import Cross-Docking – All We Want are the FAQs…*

Cross-Docking is Reshipping

On February 8 Transport Canada issued an addition to FAQ regarding the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (TDGR) Part 9, s. 9.4. This section deals with the re-shipping of dangerous goods (DG) received by road from the US when safety marks differ from those specified in the TDGR. In general, (more on this later**), TDGR 9.1 allows receipt of US shipments to first destination with the safety marks that were legally applied under 49 CFR at the US shipping point.

Cross-Docking

The FAQ defines “cross-docking” as “the process of transferring dangerous goods from one vehicle to another before reaching their final destination”. Changing drivers or tractor units does not trigger the term. When DG are cross-docked, Transport Canada considers this to be “re-shipping” and the provisions of TDGR 9.4 apply (note: although the FAQ refers to “reshipping” in quotes, the term is not specifically defined in the TDGR other than as described by s. 9.4).

Reshipping

Basically, the requirements in s. 9.4 are to remove placards which do not meet TDGR requirements and replace them with TDGR-compliant versions. Examples of these could be US “DANGEROUS” placards; or those with the midline adjusted (e.g. Class 7, 8, 9); or worded and “combustible” placards.
In addition, if means of containment (soon to become “packaging” we hope!) have labels or other safety marks differing from TDGR requirements, then the shipping paper must be annotated accordingly as indicated in s. 9.4 (2).

Part 10 is not referenced in the FAQ, but presumably similar logic will apply to cross-docking rail car shipments (TDG s. 10.4) – or to transfers between rail/road vehicles.

Just the FAQs

Although the author hasn’t seen anything in official consultation documents, statements in casual conversations on two occasions indicate that the current practise of including interpretative guidance as italicised text within the body of the regulations will likely be discontinued. Apparently, this very useful (in my humble opinion) practise is at odds with regulatory convention that expects only the mandatory legal requirements to appear in the regulation. FAQ are the preferred vehicle for the type of information we currently see italicised within the TDGR.

The FAQ referred to in this Blog is available at:
http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/tdg/awareness-materials-and-faq-1159.html#a99_0

* with apologies to Sgt. Joe Friday/Jack Webb’s often misquoted statement:
http://www.snopes.com/radiotv/tv/dragnet.asp

** Reciprocity has its limits
Although we often hear of “reciprocity” for shipments inbound from the US, we must remember that it has limits. As referenced in the above-mentioned FAQ, the “inhalation hazard” version of Class 2.3 and 6.1 labels or placards are not acceptable even to first destination. The “regular” versions, applied with qualifying marks as required by TDGR SP 23 also need to be present. Similarly things done by US special permit- although potentially to be accepted to first destination under the CG I International Harmonization proposal- will not necessarily be approved for reshipping. Perhaps once the CG II is finalised we’ll have another Blog on this aspect…

Deer Crossing Sign
Are Highway Warning Signs Effective?

How Well Do Driving Safety Signs Work?

A few years ago, someone wrote an irate letter to his local newspaper about the deer warning signs put up on a local highway. He couldn’t understand why they were always on busy highways. Wouldn’t it reduce accidents if the deer were told to cross smaller roads instead?

We may laugh, but the story does bring up an interesting point. Just how effective are traffic warning signs? They can be found wherever we travel, from the common “sharp curve ahead” to the more esoteric, such as the “moose warning” signs in Newfoundland. Highway safety departments consider them an important part of improving driving safety. But how well do they work?

Apparently, the answer is somewhere between “not great” and “we’re not sure.” There’s little research on the effectiveness of highway traffic signs and what there is shows that a surprising lack of effectiveness. For example, the Minnesota Department of Transportation has admitted:

“Signs that alert drivers to infrequent encounters or possible situations–such as deer crossing or children playing—do not have a consistent impact on driver behavior. Widespread use or misuse of warning signs reduces their overall effectiveness.”

Traffic and Why We Drive The Way We Drive

Tom Vanderbilt, author of Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), says:

“[D]rivers routinely see signs warning of deer crossings (in the United States) or elephant crossings (in Sri Lanka) or camel signs (in Tunisia). It is difficult to say what is going on in the mind of a driver whenever he or she sees a deer or elephant or camel crossing sign, but studies have shown that most drivers do not change their speed at all.”

Surprisingly little work has been put into studying the effectiveness of traffic signs, considering how they can be seen on every highway or busy city street. What studies have been done have not shown signage has a strong effect on reducing accidents in dangerous areas. In fact, many experts believe that the main purpose of traffic warning signs is not to reduce accidents but to provide liability protection for the government that posts them.

Why Aren’t They Successful?

So, why don’t traffic signs work like they should? Many reasons are likely at play. Marc Green, in his article The Psychology of Warnings says compliance with warning signs involves the driver making a cost-benefit analysis, where he or she balances the following factors:

  1. Cost of compliance – most traffic signs, in their most basic message, say “slow down, because something ahead is dangerous.” The driver will (consciously or not) factor in the inconvenience of being late, or their dislike of being slow, as part of the cost of compliance. Green notes this is a similar problem with product warning labels. “Increased time reading” can be seen as a “cost of compliance”. Who’s going to read an entire product label when there’s a rush job to be done?
  2. Danger perception – this is the old risk versus hazard issue. Most drivers will stop at stop signs, because they understand that if they don’t, they significantly increase their risk of getting hit. But if you drive a road for years and never see a deer, you may come to feel that even if the consequences of hitting a deer are high, the risk of that ever happening is low. Paradoxically, people who feel confident in their driving skills more likely to ignore such signs. Green points out “[o]ne of the ironies of warnings is that the more experienced and skilled the viewer, the stronger the familiarization effect and the more likely that the warning will be ignored. For example, diving team members are the most likely people to ignore “no diving” signs.” Further, herd behavior can be a factor; if everyone speeds, it appears to be safer than if everyone slows down.

Each driver will evaluate these two factors and make a (perhaps unconscious) decision to obey the sign or to ignore it and risk something nasty happening down the road.

Complying & Understanding

There are many ways safety experts are now working to determine what psychological factors make people decide to obey traffic signs. For example, the effectiveness of signs can be diluted if they appear everywhere, so signs may be posted only where significant hazards truly exist. Green mentions

“People have unconsciously learned the general rule that signs and signals grow in size and vividness with their importance, presumably so that they will be more readily seen. Viewers will then likely interpret warnings that are small, faint, or located peripherally as signaling lower risk.”

These factors apply to all drivers, but they also are an important issue for workplace and consumer safety labels. Designers of OSHA or WHMIS labels must, of course, comply with the regulations, but understanding the psychology of safety warnings is also important when trying to create an effective label design. The label must be able to persuade the reader that compliance is really the most cost-beneficial response. By studying what we’ve learned about highway signs, we can learn what psychological nuances improve the likelihood that users will comply with the label.

Fortunately, OSHA and WHMIS labels include precautionary phrases that specifically instruct the user in what to do to ensure safety, a feature sometimes lacking in traffic signs. For example, when confronted by a “falling rocks” sign, what should a driver do? Avoid the area? Wear a hard hat when going through the zone? And I was always perplexed on how drivers transversing a typical single-lane Scottish highway were expected to respond to the ominous warning on blind curves – “Oncoming traffic may be in centre of road” – that gave drivers no suggestion for how to negotiate the curve safely.

Have you seen any particularly effective or ineffective traffic signs? If so, let us know in the comment section. And if you have questions about labelling for workplace or transportation safety, contact ICC Compliance Center at 1.888.442.9628 (USA) or 1.888.977.4834 (Canada).

Single Packaging
Benefits and Rules of Variation Packaging

Standard 4G UN combination packaging is tested in a specific configuration with specific inner packaging and components. When using standard 4G UN combination packaging, you must use very similar components that match the configuration of the way the package was tested in the lab. This can make it rather difficult at times to find a packaging solution to meet your specific needs. In comes variation packaging to save the day! Variation packaging allows you to use various types of inner packaging, such as bottles, cans, jars, and smaller plastic containers while using a fiberboard box that meets the UN specifications and the ISTA requirements.

This packaging is ideal when a combination of different inner components is needed, or when the party responsible for shipping has a variety of products to ship. This type of packaging carries labeling marks designated 4GV. Below is a list of some rules and regulations per 49 CFR 178.601 (g) (2) if you decide to utilize variation packaging:

  1. Articles of any type, liquid or solid, may be assembled and transported using variation packaging if the following conditions are met below:
  2. The same cushioning material must be used as what the package was tested with. If the package was tested with an absorbent pouch and 2 pillows, the same must be used during the shipping process. The same goes for any fiberboard insert associated with the packaging.
  3. The thickness of the absorbent must not be reduced below what the original testing report indicates. For example, if the packing instructions call for 2″ of vermiculite on the top, bottom, and sides of the inner container and to fill the remaining void space, that would be the minimum cushioning you are allowed to use when shipping the variation package.
  4. If inner packaging is used that contains liquid, there must be enough absorbent material to absorb the entire contents of the bottle. If the hazardous liquid in the bottle leaks, the absorbent material must have the ability to soak it up to prevent leakage from getting beyond the outer packaging.
  5. When an inner packaging contains a liquid and is not leak-proof or a solid and is not sift-proof, it must also contain a leak-proof liner, plastic bag, or any equally effective means of containment.

And as always if you have any questions or would like to purchase variation packaging, contact ICC Compliance Center at 1.888.442.9628 (USA) or 1.888.977.44834 (Canada).