OSHA HazCom 2012
OSHA Stance on Wearable Lithium Batteries

Here’s the thing. I am a TV junkie. A huge amount of my time has been dedicated to researching new shows, setting them up on my DVR, and watching said shows. One that has my attention right now is “The Rookie” starring Nathan Fillion. In the show, he is a 40-year old rookie cop in Los Angeles. It has my attention for multiple reasons aside from the obvious. The main REGULATORY one is the fact that every officer on the show wears a body camera. It got me to thinking … surely those body cameras come with rechargeable batteries. If so, what happens when in the course of the show, one of those cameras is damaged? My brain then jumped to what about workers who wear battery powered devices.

Believe it or not, OSHA recently published in their newsletter an article called, “Preventing Fire and/or Explosion Injury from Small and Wearable Lithium Battery Powered Devices”. You can find the article at https://www.osha.gov/dts/shib/shib011819.html.

In this article, they do a good job describing batteries and cells as well as how they work. There is also a lengthy section on lithium battery hazards including what can cause enough damage to create fire and explosion risks. These include such things as physical impacts, usage/storing at temperatures too high or too low and failure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

As to ways to prevent injuries Continue Reading…

Skull and Cross Bones
National Poison Prevention Week

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Dangerous Goods Fees to Go in Effect for Amazon

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

Who does this affect?

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

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

What are the fees?

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

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

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

Too see Continue Reading…

ICC Compliance Center
Stranded in a Vehicle During a Winter Storm

Living in the St. Louis Metro Area planning before heading out onto the highways is a good idea. With a population upwards of 2 million, there are always lots of vehicles on the roads. Add to that the number of those passing through on their way out west, and you can imagine some of the traffic snarls happening on a daily basis. If there should be any sort of inclement weather, the number of accidents multiply on an exponential basis. Given we just passed the first official day of winter, it seems appropriate to think about what to do if you get stranded in your car during a winter storm.

After researching this a bit, it was interesting where I found the best advice. The Weather Channel, and several insurance agencies seemed to provide the most logical ones. Many ideas center around concepts that make sense for being a responsible car owner.

What to do when stranded:

  • Have a survival kit in your car. Create one for the types of situations you could find yourself. It should include extra gloves, water, a flashlight, a blanket, a cell phone charger, and an ice scraper just to name a few items. 
  • Stay inside the vehicle with your seatbelt connected. By staying in place you avoid exposure to the elements, which can put you at risk for hypothermia, frostbite, and getting lost. Your seatbelt is Continue Reading…
Web address monitor icon
Amazon Now Targeting Sellers That Ship Unsafe Packages to Warehouses

With the holiday season many of us are opting out of the busy malls and stores, and simply shopping from the comfort of our own homes. To make this option even more enticing some retailers are even offering free 2-day shipping during the holiday season. While this seems like a win-win situation for all there are some obstacles that have been coming to the surface, and unfortunately we are not just talking about late deliveries.  According to the Office of Hazardous Materials Safety, the world’s largest internet retailer, Amazon, has seen a sharp increase in reports of shipments allegedly violating the U.S. Department of Transportation regulations. In 2009, Amazon only had two incident reports, but that number jumped to 32 in 2016 before reaching 42 so far this year. This has caused Amazon to ultimately respond as they soon plan on adding new penalty fees for packages that fail to comply with its safety requirements.

Incidents

The main issue here is many third-party sellers on Amazon aren’t trained to ship dangerous goods, and simply don’t understand that what they are shipping is indeed hazardous. These third-party sellers often don’t realize what actions need to be taken per the Hazardous Material Regulations that exist to safeguard those who may come in contact with the dangerous goods. For that reason, often times the correct labeling, packaging, and paperwork required to Continue Reading…

Fire Safety
NFPA’s Fire Prevention Week 2018
2018 Fire Prevention Week -  Look Listen Learn

October 7 – 13 Is Fire Prevention Week

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has designated the week of October 7th-13th as Fire Prevention Week. This date was chosen as the Great Chicago fire started on October 8, 1871. Each year a theme for the week is chosen in an effort to keep fire safety present in people’s minds. This year’s theme is “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware – fire can happen anywhere.

Those 3 words are simplistic but necessary when it comes to fire prevention, preparedness and risk. It carries over from the home, to the workplace and more. Look is for people to look around their home, office and workplace. Listen is mainly focused on the sound of smoke or fire alarms. Learn is about knowing multiple ways out of a room. Here are some further thoughts on each word for you to consider.

Look for places fire could start:

  • Cooking areas
  • Heating equipment
  • Electrical and lighting equipment
  • Candles

Listen for the sound of the smoke alarm:

  • Take them seriously
  • Know where are they located in the home, office and workplace
  • Test them monthly
  • Replace any over 10 years old

Learn two ways out of every room:

  • Have an escape plan in the home, office and workplace
  • Set a meeting place
  • Know the path from each exit to the outside
  • Keep the areas near the exit points easily accessible

The NFPA Continue Reading…

ICC's Regulatory Helpdesk
Regulatory Helpdesk Sept 17

Welcome back to the Regulatory Helpdesk where we answer your dangerous goods & hazmat questions. We’re here to help you become independent with – and understand the whys and hows of – the regulations.

Is Paperwork Required for my Shipment? (TDG)

Q: Do I need to send paperwork to ship a class 2.2 empty oxygen cylinder through ground in Canada?
A: The TDGR 2.14(b) classifies a compressed gas as Division 2.2 if it has no other hazard class properties and has an absolute pressure less than 280 kPa at 20O C. Thus, if the cylinder only contained a Class 2.2 gas without other subsidiary hazards and the pressure is now below 179 kPa gauge, then it’s not DG and the regulations don’t apply. This means that the Class 2.2 labels must be removed.

How do I ship a product that is regulated by DOT, but is not regulated by IMDG?

Q: Can you please help me with the following?
  • HazMat is Class 3 Combustible Liquid w/i U.S. (fp of 168 F).
  • It is shipped in IBC (bulk packaging) and non-bulk.
  • If to be shipped by vessel in an IBC it would be a Class 3 Combustible Liquid per US DOT but not a Class 3 per IMDG.
How would one ship this HazMat in a bulk packaging by vessel when it must first be transported by highway to reach the port? If shipped as Continue Reading…
Lithium
How Can a Laptop Bring down an Airplane?

Airplane in Flight

Cell Phone Fire Aboard Airplane

If you have seen the news, recently a cellphone aboard an airplane caught fire before take-off, leading to an evacuation (FOX News).

When I first saw this story, I was grateful that this event took place before the airplane took off and they were able to get everyone off of the airplane safely. But a few questions arose, what if it happened in the air, and what if it happened to a laptop computer in cargo?  Well, regulators had previously believed that a flame-retardant gas required in airliner cargo holds would be able to suppress any type of single lithium battery fire. This gas, called halon is a liquefied, compressed gas that can stop the spread of fire by chemically disrupting its combustion.

However, recent tests conducted by the Federal Aviation Administration found the halon gas suppression systems can’t put out a battery fire once it combines with other highly flammable material, such as the gas in an aerosol can or cosmetics. The potential dangerous combination can cause flames to spread, overwhelming the fire suppression systems in airplane cargo holds, meaning it is possible under the right circumstances that a single laptop battery could catch fire and cause an airliner to crash. The possibility is such a concern that the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), the biggest pilot union in North America, is now thinking Continue Reading…

Close up eye rainbow color
National Eye Exam Month and PPE

Snellen Eye Chart

August is National Eye Exam Month

It is always a great time when a bunch of safety professionals get together to chat. This happened this past weekend when several of us in the field ended up on someone’s back patio. There were five of us discussing what we see at various facilities. A topic that was recurrent throughout was Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) particularly eye protection. This got me to thinking about how ICC can help get the word out about this. Oddly enough, August is National Eye Exam Month. Let’s put these two together and see what happens.

Back in 1989, Sears Optical created National Eye Exam Month. Many ophthalmologists and optometrists take this time to focus on eye safety. Just for general knowledge, an ophthalmologist is someone who specializes in medical and surgical eye disease, whereas an optometrist is a medical doctor who specialist in eye and vision care. Most of us spend at least 40 hours at work a week with many doing more. A large number of us work at computers, outside or even near chemicals. This puts stress on our eyes. Depending on your age, an eye exam could be useful even if you have no symptoms. The American Optometric Association provides some basic guidelines around when to get an exam.

Eye Exam Schedule

Friday the 13th square icon
Superstitions in Reference to Safety

Black cat on a beach

We have another Friday the 13th in July. Let’s take a look at a few more superstitions to see how they might impact safety in the workplace and home. As a reminder, a superstition for the purpose of this blog is a belief or notion that while irrational and not scientific seem to persist in society.

Superstition #1:
A black cat crossing your path brings bad luck

While many ancient civilizations held cats in high esteem like the Egyptians, there are others who feared them. In the Middle Ages people were very afraid of witches and magic. Throughout that craze, the belief was a witch could disguise or transform herself into a cat. The cat could then move more easily around a town causing mischief and mayhem. Cats were often blamed for disease outbreaks such as the plague.

Many sites have certain cleanliness standards. Those standards could include washing hands before and after work or leaving contaminated clothing at the facility. Now those rules don’t speak specifically to black cats, but you get my meaning. There is certainly nothing in any regulations in regards to having animals at home where they are often kept as pets. Certain city rules may limit the number of animals you can have or bans against certain breeds. I won’t go into my personal opinion on that topic. Animals at home just need to be taken care Continue Reading…