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).

Lithium
FedEx Grants Extension on Lithium Battery Mark for Air Transport

New Lithium Battery Marks

The 58th Edition of the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations has introduced new package markings for air transport of lithium batteries. For fully-regulated (Section I) batteries the UN has introduced the dedicated lithium battery Class 9 label, showing a battery graphic in the lower half. For low-powered batteries that are exempted under Section II, IATA has introduced a new version of the Lithium Battery Handling label (the one marked “CAUTION”).

The new Lithium Battery Handling mark (no longer classified by IATA as a “label”) was designed to eliminate the text portion, making the mark no longer dependent on a specific language. Instead of using text to indicate type of battery, this mark will use the UN number, making it easy to identify the batteries no matter what language the handlers speak.

New Lithium Battery Mark and Pictogram

ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) and IATA (International Air Transport Association) intend this new handling mark and the new lithium battery Class 9 label to be phased in over the next two years, to become mandatory on January 1, 2019. This will allow people to use up old stocks, and train their staff to recognize the new symbols while still using the old ones.

FedEx Implementation

However, FedEx introduced a variation (FX-05 in the IATA DGR) that requires shippers to mark the UN number on Section II batteries as of January 1, 2017, two years before ICAO and IATA make it mandatory. This has caused concern among shippers who were not planning on changing to the text-free version so soon.

Therefore, FedEx has decided to extend the deadline for implementing the UN number requirement until July 1, 2017. At that point, the shipper must either change to the new handling mark, or start marking the UN number beside the old handling label (“CAUTION”). Of course, shippers have the option to comply immediately if they prefer.

FedEx notes that this would only be an issue for Section II batteries. Batteries shipped under section IB would require both the handling label (or mark), as well as the Class 9 label, shipping name and UN number as regular dangerous goods.


If you have questions about the coming requirements for shipping lithium batteries by air, contact us here at ICC Compliance Center at 1-888-442-9628 (USA) or 1-888-977-44834 (Canada).

Single Packaging
ISTA Series 6: 6-FEDEX-A Testing vs. Standard UN Testing

When we think of UN Testing, several things may come to mind. We have the drop test which evaluates the package’s ability to handle collisions, the vibration test which simulates movements created by a motorized vehicle, the Cobb test which is designed to ensure the fiberboard will not disintegrate when exposed to water, and the stacking test which checks the integrity of the package by stacking various weights over the top of it. However, those that want to test their packages under the ISTA 6-FEDEX-A requirements for packages 150 lbs. or under are finding it to be difficult to get a passing grade.

What Are The Differences?

Under standard testing, each sample is dropped only one time at a specific height for a total of 5 drops total from 5 different samples.

Under the ISTA 6-FEDEX-A testing, 1 complete sample is dropped 10 times focusing on every corner and edge of the package. Any significant leaking on either of these tests would result in a failure, which makes the ISTA testing very difficult to pass because of the number of drops. In addition, flat and elongated packages must go through a bridge or concentrated impact test procedure. This procedure consists of dropping a wooden box measuring 12″ x 12″ x 12″ dense wooden box weighing 21 lbs. on the midpoint of the package.

Under standard testing, the stacking test is usually employed. This a 24-hour test in which the boxes must be subjected to the force applied to the top surface equivalent to the total weight of identical packages which might be stacked during transport. ISTA 6-FEDEX-A testing specifically requires the dynamic compression test. This consists of a computerized control system which exerts a specific amount of force upon the boxes to determine if any damage to the sidewalls occurs.

Although ISTA 6-FEDEX-A testing doesn’t require the Cobb moisture test, it does require a vibration test similar to standard testing. Both tests are completed by using a rotary vibration table designed to simulate the movements from motor vehicles. However, with ISTA 6-FEDEX-A testing, certain items require a vibration test from a Random Vibration Tester. This vibration testing reproduces 3 consecutive sequences at 15 minutes each of random vibration profiles which simulate air vibration as well as truck vibration.


If ISTA 6-FEDEX-A testing is in your future when shipping hazardous goods, you may find it challenging to find packaging that will pass the rigorous amount of drops and impact testing that are performed. Contact ICC Compliance Center for your custom packaging needs.

Safety Data Sheets (SDS)
Who is Authoring Your SDS? – Dare to Compare

Authoring safety data sheets (SDS) is a technical job and requires a thorough understanding of various regulations depending on the destination country. Companies may promote themselves as experts, but how can you be sure?

Some companies may contract SDS work out unbeknownst to you and act as the middle-person. This in turn can lead to delayed responses as they try to understand/interpret your questions and/or get in touch with the contractor.

An SDS is a valuable and critical component of your dangerous goods product and deserves as much attention as the finished product itself. When looking for an SDS authoring company ask them questions such as the following to be sure you are selecting the right one.

  1. How many SDS have they authored?
  2. Do they understand the rules/regulations if the authoring is done manually?
  3. Can they verify the accuracy of the data if using authoring software?
  4. How long have they been authoring SDSs?
  5. Is there a team of qualified peers to contact if necessary?
  6. What process/procedure is in place to guarantee non-disclosure and safeguard any confidential business information (i.e., formulations)?
  7. Are they using authoring software?
  8. Can the SDS be integrated into a user-friendly multi-location labeling system?
  9. What type of training do they have in place for SDS authors?
  10. How many ingredients are present in their library/database?
  11. What associations do they belong to and/or are active in?
  12. How many languages can they translate an SDS to?
  13. Where or how are they storing your SDS?
  14. Can you obtain access to the completed SDS 24/7 on a dedicated site?
  15. Can you search your SDS database by fields such as CAS number, product name, or part number?
  16. What industries have they written SDS for?
  17. Are you required to complete/provide minimum information prior to starting your SDS work?
  18. Do they ask for clarification of your SDS or supporting data to ensure all information needed for a compliant SDS is obtained?
  19. Can they answer your questions as to why products were classified a certain way?

If these questions cannot be answered with confidence – or worse yet the vendor tries to pass over these questions nonchalantly – then you should continue your search. Of course you may have additional questions after reading the list. But, the above questions should give you a good reference point when deciding who to choose as your vendor. Sadly if the price is too good to be true be wary about the old adage, “You get what you pay for.” This is not an area where your business can afford a mistake.


ICC Compliance Center has a team of full-time regulatory specialists who have years of experience and are certified/recognized in their field of expertise. Contact us about authoring, reformatting, updating, and translating your SDSs. Ask us your tough questions by calling 888.442.9628 (USA) or 888.977.4834 (Canada).

WHMIS 2015
WHMIS 2015 – The Great SDS “Headache” – Concentrations

New Concentrations and Concentration Ranges Rules

If you’ve begun switching your MSDSs to SDSs under the new WHMIS 2015 regulations, you likely know this headache all too well.

With the publication and implementation of the Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR or WHMIS 2015), Health Canada removed the old Controlled Products Regulations’ (CPR or WHMIS 1988) list of prescribed concentration ranges that could be used in MSDSs. These concentrations were in place, in part, to allow some Confidential Business Information (CBI) protection when concentrations varied in a product. WHMIS 2015 now requires disclosure of exact concentrations of ingredients, or the actual concentration range of the ingredient. Actual concentration ranges can only be used if the concentration varies in the product due to issues such as batch to batch variability. You cannot list a range if you have an exact concentration, and simply wanted to “protect your formula”.

Suppliers would be required to file a CBI claim under WHMIS 2015 requirements, if even just to protect the exact concentration of one ingredient on a SDS. A whole host of difficulties may face the supplier in obtaining information that would be needed to complete this type of CBI submission, such as obtaining exact concentration information from suppliers outside the country, where CBI or trade secret requirements are different from those in Canada. In the United States, for example, there is no federal requirement to submit any type of claim to protect an ingredient’s exact concentration on a SDS. The SDS simply has to state that the concentration is being withheld as a “trade secret.” You can imagine the reluctance of a US supplier in providing information that they consider to be a trade secret.

This new requirement to submit a CBI claim for exact concentrations can result in significant additional costs. Fees for an original claim begin at $1800 CAD per claim, with review fees every three years of $1440 CAD per claim. Sometimes the supplier can group several products into one claim; however, costs for submission could skyrocket depending on just how many products are being submitted. The non-profit trade association Responsible Distribution Canada (RDC) estimates that the impact of those submission fees to members of the Canadian Consumer Specialty Products Association (CCSPA) will be over $12 million.

Alternatives

There may be some light at the end of the tunnel, however. As a result of this substantial cost burden, the RDC, as an industry representative, has requested that Health Canada amend the HPR to include some kind of alternative to disclosing exact concentrations that avoids having to file a costly CBI claim. The RDC believes that the use of ranges does not diminish protection of workers, and that the new requirements in WHMIS 2015 creates disharmony rather than harmony between Canada and its major trading partners.

In the RDC Newsletter Volume 6 Issue 43, issued November 7, 2016, the RDC presented a proposal that would allow the use of the WHMIS 1988 prescribed ranges again, with the added ability to combine up to three of the low end ranges into a single range (e.g. 0.1 – 1%, 0.5 – 1.5% and 1 – 5%, into one range of 0.1 – 5%). The additional stipulation of allowing those combined low end ranges, would, the RDC believes, allow for better alignment with US requirements.

Open for Suggestions

In previous meetings with Health Canada, the RDC and other industry groups did not come to a resolution on this issue of concentration disclosure, but Health Canada is willing to listen to solutions to this issue such as the current RDC proposal. The RDC has requested help from interested parties on approaching Health Canada, and is asking that suggestions from interested parties be sent to Cathy Campbell at: ccampbell@rdcanada.ca. Please submit your suggestions prior to November 30, 2016.

If you would like to learn more about the RDC, please consult the following website: http://www.rdcanada.ca/. For further information on CBI exemptions and claims in Canada, please consult the following website: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/occup-travail/whmis-simdut/hmira-lcrmd/index-eng.php.


As always, should you have any questions regarding SDSs, please contact ICC Compliance Center Inc at 1-888-442-9628 (USA) or 1-888-977-4834 (Canada).