Hydrostatic Pressure and Shipping Liquids by Air

Pressure at High Altitudes

As the video above shows, you never know how the pressure change on an airplane will affect our sealed containers. From exploding shaving cream cans in checked luggage, to scattered potato chips at our feet on the floor of an airplane, the unpredictability of a high altitude can certainly cause its share of messes. Aside from having to do laundry while on your vacation, these examples are relatively mild. In the world of shipping dangerous goods, the consequences can be far more severe. For this reason when shipping hazardous liquids by air, our single and inner packaging must pass a hydrostatic pressure test that essentially ensures the pressure differential at high altitudes will not cause a disaster mid-air. You may ask, what is hydrostatic pressure and how is it measured?

What is Hydrostatic Pressure?

Hydrostatic pressure is the pressure exerted by a fluid at equilibrium at a given point within the fluid, due to the force of gravity. For the purpose of shipping dangerous goods, this is measured in kPa or Kilopascal.  When you see a UN Marking on a single package it usually looks something like this 1H1/Y1.8/100. The “100” is referencing the maximum hydrostatic pressure this container was tested at in kPa.

PK-KH6005 Plastic Container

Why is it relevant to shipping by air?

According to the ICAO DGP-WG/09-WP/67: When packages reach high altitudes during transport, they experience low pressure on the exterior of the package. This results in a pressure differential between the interior and exterior of the package, since the pressure inside the package remains at the higher ground-level pressure. Higher altitudes create lower external pressures, and therefore, larger pressure differentials. This condition is especially problematic for combination packaging containing liquids. When an inner packaging, such as a glass bottle or plastic receptacle, is initially filled and sealed, the cap must be tightened to a certain torque to obtain sealing forces sufficient to contain the liquids in the packaging. This will require certain forces to be placed upon the bottle and cap threads as well as the sealing surface of the cap or cap liner to ensure the packaging remains sealed. Once at altitude, due to the internal pressure of the liquid acting upon the closure combined with the reduced external air pressure, the forces acting on the threads and the forces acting on the sealing surfaces will not be the same as when the packaging was initially closed. Under normal conditions encountered in air transport (26 kPa @ 8000 ft), conditions are not overly severe. However, if the compartment is depressurized at altitude or if the compartment is not pressurized at all (e.g., feeder aircraft), the pressure differential may be severe enough to cause package failure and release of the dangerous goods in the aircraft.

What are the rules for shipping liquids by air?

For inner containers within combination packaging, a minimum of 95 kPa must be achieved during testing for most hazardous liquids, and 75 kPa must be achieved for class 3 and 6.1 hazardous liquids. 49 CFR 173.27

PK-G1600F 16 oz leakproof flint bottle    BI-BSS3 Plastic 95kPa pressure bag    MT-USPCGAL 1 gallon metal can

For Single Packaging, a 95 kPa test result must be achieved when shipping most substances, 75 kPa for class 3 and 6.1, and 250 kPa for Packing Group I liquids. IATA 6.3.5.3.1, 6.3.5.4, TP14850 7.6. In the example below, the 250 kPa hydrostatic pressure rating along with the Group I rating means that it would be suitable to ship Packing Group I liquids by air.

Steel Drum MT0M502

1A1/X1.2/250

From a regulatory perspective, Single Packaging’s must be tested every year, and contains a UN marking on the outside based on the test results. The inner containers within a combination package like glass bottles, plastic bottles, metal cans, or bags just need to be tested one time to verify the pressure rating as long as the design doesn’t change. 49 CFR 178.605

The Lab

When hydrostatic testing is performed at the lab, a valve is installed on the side of the container (clear of seams or closures) on three inner packages. A hydraulic pressure regulator and gauges are used to apply pressure and monitor the pressures. The containers are filled with water just below the container opening. The valves and gauges are checked for leaks and the cap is secured closed as specified in the closure instructions. A package passes the hydrostatic test if, for each test sample, there is no leakage seeping out of the container. TP14850 7.6.4. 49 CFR 178.605

ICC Compliance Center sells a variety of single packaging and inner packaging that meets the requirement to ship liquids by air. Feel free to contact us at 1-888-442-9628 (USA) or 1-888-977-4834 (Canada).

USPS Regulations and Updates
USPS Simplifies Mailing Ethanol-Based Products by Air

Cargo loading on aircraft

Consumer Products

It seemed such a simple task at the time. A company decided to expand their consumer product line to include perfumes. They expected to send orders to customers, as they did their other products, by airmail. Yet, when setting up the shipment, an unexpected roadblock appeared. The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) told them that the perfume was a hazardous material.

How can a common consumer product like perfume be hazardous for transportation? Most perfumes have an alcohol base, designed to evaporate quickly leaving the scent behind. Unfortunately, this means that such perfumes are flammable liquids for transportation and are subject to Department of Transportation (DOT) as well as USPS restrictions for both ground and air transport.

So, the decision to go into perfumes created some major headaches for the company. But they recently got some good news. If the perfume is based on ethanol, one of the most common alcohols, the company will get a break – USPS has reduced the requirements for this one solvent. Ethanol, or ethyl alcohol, can be found in many consumer products, ranging from perfumes to hairspray to bath oil. By reducing the requirements for shipment of these products, shippers will enjoy reduced costs and complexity.

Airmailing Hazardous Materials

If you wish to airmail hazardous materials in the United States, your first step should be to consult USPS Publication 52 – Hazardous, Restricted, and Perishable Mail. This document provides instructions and restrictions for hazardous materials, as well as restricted articles such as firearms and perishable items such as food, plants and live animals. It seems people mail some quite unusual products – it’s rather surprising that “live scorpions” are mailable, although the guide notes “only under limited circumstances.”

Publication 52 addresses airmail for most flammable liquids as follows in section 343.3(a):

“For air transportation, parcels containing mailable Class 3 materials must bear the DOT square-on-point marking. The top and bottom portions of the square-on-point and the border forming the square-on-point must be black, and the center must be white or of a suitable contrasting background. The symbol “Y” must be black, located in the center of the square-on-point, and clearly visible. Mailpieces must also be marked with the proper shipping name “Consumer Commodity” and identification number “ID8000.” “Each mailpiece must also bear an approved DOT Class 9 hazardous material warning label … A properly completed shipper’s declaration for dangerous goods prepared in triplicate must be affixed to the outside of the mailpiece.”

However, ethanol-based flammable liquids, as well as solids impregnated with ethanol (such as cotton pads used as alcohol wipes) are also subject to section 343.27. This requires that the airmailed package be marked with the words “Contains Air-Eligible Ethyl Alcohol – Authorization (#)” in 14 point type. In addition, the package must display the mailer’s company name and address.

Where does one obtain the Authorization Number? That’s assigned by the USPS on request.

Publication 52 says:

“Mailers must submit a letter of request to the manager, Product Classification…. The request must include a list of each specific product to be mailed under the authorization, an MSDS for each product, the office of mailing, and expected frequency and quantity of mailings.”

To simplify the shipment of these materials, USPS has now removed the requirement for the shipping name, ID number and hazard class label. The package must simply display the “Contains Air-Eligible Ethyl Alcohol” mark, the Authorization Number, and the company name and address.

To make the job even easier, alcohol solutions shipped under these provisions no longer require the shipper to affix a Shipper’s Declaration for Dangerous Goods to the outside of the package.

Packing Instructions

Of course, when shipping hazardous materials by air, the shipper must follow specific packing instructions.

Publication 52 instructs:

  • For content containing not more than 70% ethyl alcohol by volume, tender only parcels weighing 25 pounds or less. Each non-glass primary receptacle must not exceed 16 ounces of flammable liquid or 1 pound of solids. Each glass primary receptacle must not exceed 8 ounces of flammable liquid or 1/2 pound of solids. Total volume of flammable material per mailpiece must not exceed 96 ounces for flammable liquids or 16 pounds for flammable solids.
  • For content containing more than 70% ethyl alcohol by volume, tender only parcels weighing 16 pounds or less. Each primary package receptacle must not exceed 8 ounces of flammable liquid or 1/2 pound of solids. Total volume of flammable material per mailpiece must not exceed 48 ounces for flammable liquids or 8 pounds for flammable solids.

Finally, the mailer must notify the receiver that they cannot remail the item without obtaining their own authorization by including the following written notice with the shipment:

“Flammable liquids or solids contained in these packages may be mailed only by consumers (the addressee) via surface transportation in accordance with USPS Publication 52, section 343. Full responsibility rests with the mailer to comply with all postal and nonpostal statutes and regulations regarding mail. Information regarding postal statutes, regulations, and mailing requirements is available from your local Postmaster or district manager, Business Mail Entry, and at the Postal Service’s mailing standards website, Postal Explorer, at pe.usps.com.”

The options for airmail under this provision include Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, First-Class Mail, or First-Class Package Service. USPS’s summary of the new requirements can be found here.

If you have questions about Publication 52 or the DOT Hazardous Materials Regulations, please contact our regulatory specials here at ICC The Compliance Center Inc. You can reach us at 1-888-442-9628 (USA) or 1-888-977-4834 (Canada).

WHMIS 2015
WHMIS 2015 Delayed Implications

Young female Industrial Worker

The Cat Came Back – WHMIS 1988 Lives!

More Than Just a Date

As reported in Karrie Monette-Ishmael’s May 19 Blog, an order-in-council resulted in an extension to the Supplier deadlines for compliance with the GHS-based Hazardous Products Act/Regulation (WHMIS 2015). Canada Gazette II (CGII), published on May 31, provided some insight into the delay in the supplementary Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement (RIAS) associated with the extension.

RIAS

The transition extension itself (from June 1, 2017 to June 1, 2018 for manufacturers/importers; and from June 1, 2018 to September 1, 2018 for distributors) was cut and dried. However, the details in the RIAS are a reminder that despite the harmonization focus, there are still some unresolved issues in implementing the new hazard communication system.

CBI

Confidential business information (CBI) in the context of WHMIS has always focussed on masking the disclosure of ingredients on the M(SDS). Officially, Canadian suppliers were expected to rely on the somewhat costly and administratively burdensome Hazardous Materials Information Review Act (HMIRA) process to obtain exemptions from disclosing CBI. Practically the provisions in the Controlled Products Regulations (CPR or WHMIS 1988) were used by most suppliers as a simpler alternate to protect CBI.

Although this was the practise almost from the start of WHMIS 1988, it appears to be news to the current organisation- to wit, in the “Background” section of the RIAS: “Health Canada officials have learned that . . . some companies protected their CBI…by disclosing…ranges rather than using the . . . HMIRA.” I recall the discussions in the early days of WHMIS 1988 and, although unfortunately I don’t have copies, some documented acceptance of the practise as an alternate to the HMIRA as long as it wasn’t abused.

The stated main purpose of the extension is to allow Health Canada some time to prepare a palatable alternative to the WHMIS 1988 concentration ranges – which some in the regulated community have dubbed “CBI Light”. “CBI Light” presumably could allow for ranges, albeit narrower than in WHMIS 1988, and restrict their use for higher hazard “CMRs” (carcinogens, mutagens, reproductive toxins and sensitizers of the respiratory tract) as discussed in the “Consultation” section of the RIAS.

“WHMIS 2017”?

The RIAS includes the thought that some other stakeholder issues could be considered as part of the review. Chief among these is Labour’s desire to bring excluded products (e.g. consumer products and manufactured articles) under the WHMIS umbrella. Given the heavy discussions (again the writer attended some of these in the early 2000’s as an active member of regulated industry) that took place to introduce WHMIS 2015 (the original goal was for 2003!) – I suspect the issues around incorporating the Hazardous Products Act s. 12 exclusions may not come to fruition during the CBI discussions.

Suppliers Beware!

A significant number of suppliers have progressed far enough along the WHMIS 2015 trail that the transition will not have a serious impact on their transition. However, those who have not completely transitioned need to keep in mind that the CGII notice did not change the transition philosophy that prevents “mixing and matching” between WHMIS 1988 and WHMIS 2015 requirements. i.e. Labels and SDS must correspond- as must labels and MSDS. Classification differences could also be problematic if warnings on “GHS” labels were not reflected in WHMIS 1988 MSDS. Similarly, the “expiry” dates on MSDS would still apply to supplies under the older system. Prolonging the transition potentially prolongs the opportunity for non-compliance.

The transition extension does presumably provide for some relief on direct shipments where the Canadian supplier could still take advantage of the exemption, in the CPR s.23, to have (with written agreement) the customer label the material on receipt.

Employers Ditto (Sigh …)

The RIAS “Consultation” section indicates that some employer stakeholders were concerned that extending the transition for suppliers would, in effect, decrease the implementation window for workplaces. This interpretation indicates a false sense of complacency in the “employer” community’s need to establish training and procedures for WHMIS 2015.

As the Health Canada naming conveys, the GHS-based system has been “legal” for use since the CGII adoption in February 2015. Proactive companies, particularly those with significant US customers (US HazCom 2012 was, after all, mandatory in 2015), may already supply to WHMIS 2015 requirements.

The majority of Federal/Provincial/Territorial (FPT) jurisdictions have updated their workplace regulations. Despite the FPT transition provisions, the expectation is that employers will, at minimum, train employees in WHMIS 2015 sooner if products received are supplied under the new system.

Why Wait?

It would seem only prudent to undertake WHMIS 2015 training well before the “official” workplace implementation date. Items outlined as under review in the RIAS are unlikely to require significant changes to employee awareness requirements in understanding the new GHS-based classification, labelling and SDS aspects.

The May 31 CGII contains 2 separate notices: SOR/2017-92 for the new June 1, 2018 manufacturer/importer deadline; and SOR/2017-93 for the September 1, 2018 distributor deadline. The former contains the RIAS for both notices, found under the above SOR (referencing ‘Order Fixing . . . Economic Action Plan 2014″) at:

http://www.gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p2/2017/2017-05-31/html/index-eng.php

If you have any questions regarding WHMIS 2015 implementation, please contact ICC Compliance Center, Inc. at 1.888.442.9628 (USA) or 1.888.977.4834 (Canada).


WHMIS 2015 – June 2017 Deadline Extended

Safety Data Sheets (SDS)
Consumer Chemical Products and GHS SDS Requirements

Consumer chemical bottles

Do My Products Need a SDS?

Determining which of your consumer chemical products would require a GHS Safety Data Sheet (SDS), can sometimes be difficult and confusing. Which products actually do need to have compliant SDS, can differ depending on which country/region you are in, and how the product is being used.

Canada

In Canada, chemical products that are labeled, packaged, and sold at retail outlets as consumer products, are regulated by the Canadian Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA), and the Consumer Chemicals and Containers Regulations 2001 (CCCR 2001). Examples of ‘retail’ outlets are stores such as Canadian Tire, Home Depot, Rona, and corner gas stations that anyone off the street can walk into and buy chemical products in, etc.

Chemical products, which are intended for use in worksites and not sold at retail outlets, on the other hand, are regulated by the Hazardous Products Act (HPA) and Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR, or “WHMIS 2015“). It is the HPA and HPR (WHMIS 2015), where GHS SDS requirements are found, while the CCPSA and CCCR 2001 do not currently contain any SDS requirements at all.

In the HPA, in Part II, Section 12(j) and Schedule 1, CCPSA consumer products are actually excluded from the application of the HPA’s requirements.

What does this exclusion mean?

Keep in mind that the CCPSA and CCCR 2001 do not contain any SDS requirements, while the HPA and HPR (WHMIS 2015) do. As a result of the exclusion in the HPA, the HPA and HPR do not apply to consumer chemical products in Canada. As such, these consumer chemical products do not require SDSs (since SDS requirements are in the HPA and HPR), provided the products are labeled, packaged and sold at retail outlets in accordance with the CCPSA and CCCR 2001.

Legally, the proportion of sales in each of the respective sales markets (consumer vs. workplace), is not relevant. Sales to worksites (e.g. direct to contractors) could be, for example, 90% of the product’s total sales, while sales to retail outlets could constitute only 10% of the product’s total sales. As long as the product is in the same container size in both markets, and the product is labeled/packaged according to consumer rules, and it is available for sale in retail outlets, then the HPR (WHMIS 2015) does not apply. This means GHS SDS are not required, even when the majority of sales are to worksites. Providing GHS SDS is totally optional for a supplier in this case. It’s completely up to the business relationships a company may have with their own customers, on deciding whether or not to provide GHS SDS.

Key points for this exclusion from SDS requirements, however, is whether or not the product container is actually ‘sold at retail outlets’, and the sizes of containers. Consider a company selling one product in two container sizes (for example a 1 quart / 946 mL size and a 5 gallon / 18.9 L size). The 1 quart / 946 mL size is sold in retail outlets such as Home Depot, as well as direct to worksites. The 5 gallon / 18.9 L size, is ONLY being sold direct to worksites and contractors with special licenses, for example. In this case, the customer would require a GHS SDS to accompany the 5 gallon / 18.9 L size, since this container size is NOT sold at retail outlets.

The United States

There is a similar exclusion in the US from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration’s (OSHA) GHS requirements for consumer products, however, there is a difference in how the consumer product is treated, depending on what the frequency or manner of use of the product is.

Chemical products, which are intended for use in worksites and which are not sold at retail outlets, are regulated by OSHA in the 29CFR 1910.1200 standard for hazard communication (Hazcom 2012). The OSHA Hazcom 2012 standard states that

This section does not apply to:

(ix) Any consumer product … where the employer can show that it is used in the workplace for the purpose intended by the chemical manufacturer or importer of the product, and the use results in a duration and frequency of exposure which is not greater than the range of exposures that could reasonably be experienced by consumers when used for the purpose intended [29 CFR 1910.1200(b)(6)(ix)].

OSHA goes onto provide an example, in the frequently asked questions (FAQs) section of their website, which involves Windex. Windex is commonly used by both retail customers in their homes, as well as, for example, by Janitors who use the products in their workplaces only. If the janitor uses the Windex in exactly the same way the retail customer would at home, and no more frequently than that retail customer would, then there are no OSHA Hazcom 2012 GHS requirements for the product, and a GHS SDS is not required.

But, if that Janitor uses the Windex 5 or 6 days a week for hours at a time each day, this usage is significantly more frequent than how a user at home would use the product. In this case, there would be OSHA Hazcom 2012 requirements and a GHS SDS would be required.

The European Union (EU)

In the EU, REACH [Regulation (EC) No. 1907/2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals] requires suppliers to provide SDS for certain substances and mixtures. It also states in Title IV, Article 31, Section 4, that:

The safety data sheet need not be supplied where hazardous substances or mixtures offered or sold to the general public are provided with sufficient information to enable users to take the necessary measures as regards the protection of human health, safety and the environment, unless requested by a downstream user or distributor.

The difference here for consumer products (ie., sold to the general public), is that at any time, a downstream user or distributor may request an SDS for a consumer product…and it must be supplied to them. Initially, a supplier could just provide other means of giving sufficient information on the products’ hazards and safe use (e.g. instruction booklets, labels, technical data sheets). But at any time, if requested, an SDS would have to be provided.

For further information

For further information on European and North American regulations, please consult the following website links:

Europe:

https://echa.europa.eu/safety-data-sheets

United States:

https://www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/index.html

Canada, for workplace products:

http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/occup-travail/whmis-simdut/index-eng.php

Canada, for consumer product:

http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/index-eng.php

If you have any questions regarding GHS or consumer product requirements, please contact ICC Compliance Center, Inc. at 1.888.442.9628 (USA) or 1.888.977.4834 (Canada).

Airplane Icon
FAA Short Audit Answers

Cargo loading on aircraft

Common Errors When Shipping by Air

At a recent training, the group hosting invited someone from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to come and speak. Throughout the brief discussion, the speaker mentioned things she sees most often while doing site audits. Listed below are a few of the main items. See if you can guess what the officer sees during audits that is not accurate.

  1. Retention of Shipping Papers: In IATA, the retention of documentation is found in Section 8.0.2.2. According to this section the declaration of dangerous goods “must” be maintained for a minimum of 3 months. There are no state or operator variations attached to this section which may be why people get caught. In United States’ variation USG-01 it clearly tells shippers the document must be maintained by not less than 2 years.
    • Error Found: Only 3 months’ worth of documentation can be produced during an audit.
  2. Use of Technical Names: Entries in the blue pages listed with a star (*) symbol tells the shipper a technical name is needed.  Section 4.1.2.1(d) outlines how to determine the name, the number or names, and the type of names allowed. “The technical name must be a recognized chemical or biological name or other name currently used in scientific and technical handbooks, texts and journals. Trade names must not be used.
    • Error Found: The trade name or retail name is listed on the packages and shipping papers.
  3. Classification: The same 9 hazard classes are used in all transport regulations. The classification of materials into those hazard classes is also the same. However, there are some items that are country specific.
    • Error Found: The shipper tried to put an ORM-D package on an air shipment.
    • Error Found: A shipper packaged, marked and labeled a bulk package as Combustible under the DOT regulations and then attempted to send it via air where it is not regulated.
  4. Training Records: There is a very clear listing of what records of training should include. This information is in Section 1.5.5. It includes the employee’s name, the completion month, the name and address of the organization providing the training and some evidence that a test was completed satisfactorily.
    • Error Found: The certificate shown to the auditor had no indication of being tested.
    • Error Found: There was no address for the training organization.
  5. Emergency Response Phone Number: Another country specific requirement found in the state variations for the US is specifics for the emergency response telephone number. In USG-12 is the statement, “… the number must be monitored at all times… .”
    • Error Found: The emergency response number was disconnected and no longer in service.

These are just a few of the incidents noticed by the FAA inspector. The speaker mentioned her team does checks at all times of the day and night. This is not to “catch” you but to ensure hazardous materials/dangerous goods are being properly handled for transport. Interestingly enough, if your site completes a DOT Form 5800.1, a visit from the FAA is likely.

The point is, review your location and process. Just because you haven’t had a visit in a while or had a package refused doesn’t mean you are in the clear. ICC Compliance Centers offers a variety of auditing services. Contact us today to see how we can help you prepare for your next “visit” from the FAA.

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).