When a Hazmat Incident Hits Close to Home

I was scrolling through my news feed this morning when a post from the local Fire Department info page caught my eye. I read the statements “Suspicious Package. Niagara County Hazmat Team and US Airforce Hazmat Team from Niagara Falls Air Base requested to scene.” and I immediately started to look for more information. The location of the scene is not only within a few hundred feet of Niagara Falls and the Canadian border, but it is approximately 8 miles from my office and only 1.5 miles from my daughter’s elementary school. In this industry, I hear about hazmat incidents every day, but this one hit close to home.

Thanks to social media, I was able to get real time updates on the situation from the Facebook pages of The Niagara Gazette, Niagara County Fire Wire and Niagara Falls Fire Department Calls and Info. These sources were reporting information broadcast over public scanners. Local news stations hadn’t yet started to report the story. An envelope with a suspicious material was discovered in the human resources department. Employees were evacuated as a precaution. The Air Reserve team was on site first, with the county team in route to assist them. The hazmat team was directed to take samples, check the package for any additional suspicious content and to photograph the package. Initial data lead the Hazmat Command to Continue Reading…

CNSC Moves to Modernize Regulations on Nuclear Substances

Canada, a country rich in geological resources, has long been involved in the production and transport of radioactive materials. This summer the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) began an in-depth review and overhaul of its regulations on such substances. Its goal is to ensure that Canada has an “effective, efficient and modern regulatory system that is both science-based and risk-informed.”

The CNSC, a part of Natural Resources Canada, regulates radioactive substances under the Atomic Energy Control Act (AECA). The Act covers thirteen regulations, including the General Nuclear Safety and Control Regulations and the Packaging and Transport of Nuclear Substances Regulations (PTNSR). These regulations are, in turn, referenced by other regulations such as the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations, which refer most of the classification and packaging requirements for radioactive materials to the PTNSR.

Regulations on radioactive substances must be updated frequently to keep abreast of international standards, such as safety standard from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). This standard, the Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material, is the foundation for harmonizing radioactive regulations on a worldwide basis. But CNSC must also ensure that its regulations reflect current Canadian concerns, from wastes from fracking, to the results of the Fukushima plant incident in Japan.

Therefore, the CNSC is turning to Canadian stakeholders for early feedback on the current state of the regulations. These opinions will be used Continue Reading…

TDGR Amendment 12 – Update

Labels, Markings, Placards, and more (OH MY!)

All in “Consolidation Bin” and “Overpack” amendments

As promised late last month, Transport Canada has published the Dangerous Goods Safety Marks (commonly referred to as the “12th”) Amendment to the Transportation of Dangerous Goods regulations (TDGR). The stated purpose of this amendment is to bring the TDGR a little closer to accepted international (UN Model, ICAO, IMDG) and US 49 CFR practices as well as improved communication of hazards to emergency responders. In addition the November 2013 & January 2014 proposed amendments have been issued under the title “Update of Standards”.

These regulations are “in force” on July 14 and 15 (respectively), 2014 – but the regulations existing on the day prior to these dates may continue to be used for 6 months following the “in force” dates.

These changes are arguably the most significant since Amendment 6 – if not since the basic “Clear Language” TDGR.

The TDGR now recognize the 17th (2011) edition of the UN Recommendations (“Orange Book” – despite the existence of the 18th – 2013 Ed.)

Placard Changes:

The current Parts 4.15 & 4.16 have been completely re-written with separate sections added to highlight areas that used to be in the Table to Part 4.15. The new Part 4.16 deals with the revised requirements for Danger placards and the previous “500 kg placarding exemption” is expanded Continue Reading…

TDG Update – Regulations Amending the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (Update of Standards)

On July 2, 2014, Transport Canada issued its amendment regarding updating the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (TDG) to reflect recent international standards, and to incorporate some new packaging standards. This amendment is intended to harmonize Canada’s regulations more fully with those used for international shipment, therefore simplifying international transport and improving safety. Please note that is a separate amendment from the one issued at the same time regarding safety marks.

The first thing you’ll notice in this amendment is the table in section 1.3.1, Table of Safety Standards and Safety Requirement Documents, has been extensively revised. Many standard references have been updated to more current versions; one of the most significant updates is the new reference to the Seventeenth Edition (2011) of the UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods. Also, some standards have been deleted, such as CAN/CGSB 43.150, “Performance Packagings for the Transportation of Dangerous Goods,” from the Canadian General Standards Board. Instead, new standards such as Transport Canada Standard TP14850, “Small Containers for Transport of Dangerous Goods, Classes 3, 4, 5, 6.1, 8 and 9” have been added. This will bring in a whole new system for selecting packagings for these classes. Other new standards will introduce UN packaging provisions for portable tanks and rail containers.

Not all standards have been updated; note, for example, that CAN/CGSB 43.125, “Packaging of Infectious Substances, Diagnostic Continue Reading…

TDGR Amendment 12 – Expected July 2, 2014

Updated Safety Marks

Reliable sources have indicated that the December 2012 proposal to overhaul placarding and other safety markings is expected to be published in the Canada Gazette Part II on Wednesday, July 2, 2014.

This amendment is intended to improve the harmonization between the marking requirements in the Canadian TDGR (Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations) and the various current international (UN Recommendations, 49CFR, ICAO, and IMDG) regulations.

Significant Changes

Although not an exhaustive list, significant changes, based on the original Gazette I notice, include: introduction of defined “overpacks” and their markings, implications in the LQ (“Limited Quantity”) provisions, etc.; phasing out of the older Class 5.2, LQ, Marine Pollutant, Fumigation marks in favor of the international versions; relaxation of the need to remove safety marks while any quantity of DG remain; completely re-working the Part 4.15 placarding requirements, including severely restricting the use of the “Danger” placard (e.g. only for loads of “small means of containment”), limiting the 500 kg exemption options; allowing the use of 2 placards or 4 labels (with UN #s) on IBC (“intermediate bulk containers”) totes; adding a requirement to mark “toxic-inhalation hazard” on Special Provision 23 DG packages; and other changes.

Word has it that the amendment will take effect July 14, although (again based on the original proposal) there may be transitional provisions for some aspects.

ICC is always up to date with current workplace Continue Reading…

Auditing – A Valuable Compliance Tool

Is everything in your workplace safe? Have you complied with all the regulations that apply? Are workers following safe procedures at all times? If you can’t say, “yes” to these questions, you may need an audit.

A safety audit is more than a quick look around. It’s defined as a planned and documented observation and evaluation of the workplace, looking at a specific set of behaviours or information. Audits can be targeted at many different safety issues.

    Common issues targeted:
  • General workplace safety, such as eliminating clutter;
  • Technical aspects, such as fire or electrical safety;
  • Procedures such as machine guarding or lockout; and
  • Regulatory compliance, such as occupational health and safety, or transportation regulations.

Keeping track of your observations is important. Auditors will use a checklist of things to look for, and to evaluate them in an objective format. An example of a checklist for office safety can be found on CCOHS’s website. Note that checklists should identify specific issues, and either judge them on a pass/fail scale, or a more detailed format that may grade performance as excellent/satisfactory/poor/unacceptable.

While there are many resources available, your checklist should be customized for your specific workplace. The safety concerns in an office setting are quite different from those in a manufacturing area. Also, generic checklists may not address the regulations that apply to your workplace. For example, a checklist designed for the United States will include Continue Reading…

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Do You Know Who is Training You?


Many people these days are calling themselves regulatory specialists, dangerous goods experts, or health and safety experts. The dangerous goods/hazardous materials field is a detailed, comprehensive topic requiring hands-on experience and a strong technical understanding of topics directly related to the industries we serve.

Finding the right training company is critical to ensuring that the processes and procedures you need to continue operating remain uninterrupted. Here are some questions you should consider when looking for trainers with the ‘right stuff’:

We’ve got the right stuff. Contact us today and find out more!

Download our Regulatory Specialists Bio (PDF) and learn about our team

1) What are their qualifications?

  1. What education and knowledge do your instructors have?

Meet our regulatory staff »

2) What experience do they have?

  1. How many Fortune 500 or multi-national companies have they helped train?
  2. How many satisfied customers have they trained over the years?
  3. What associations do they belong to?
  4. How do they find out about pending regulatory changes?

3) What other avenues do they offer?

  1. Can they provide the products and services that they are teaching you to use properly?

4) What is their approach to training?

  1. Are they offering the same course to everyone?
  2. Where can they train?
  3. Are they educated in training adults?
  4. Do they have an online option?

View our training locations and accommodations »

5) Are they the only person that will be working with you?

  1. Are they a one-person business?
  2. Do they have a team of experts supporting Continue Reading…
IATA Posts Addendum II to 55th Edition

IATA has released the second addendum to the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations 55th Edition.

Click here to view the PDF.

How to Beat the Heat – (Not Just for SPURS Fans)

If you work outdoors or are exposed to extreme heat you could be at risk for heat stress. Everybody can handle a little stress, but too much stress, in regards to heated working environments, can quickly turn into much more serious conditions such as, heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, rashes, and dehydration. Prevention of heat stress in workers is important. Recognition of potential elevated temperatures in the working environment is the responsibility of both employer and employee.

It doesn’t have to be really hot outside for heat stress to occur. Losing the opportunity to periodically cool down, rehydrate and rest allows the body’s temperature to keep rising. A person can get heat stress even when working in 70 degree weather. Air circulation, hydration, and frequent rest periods (or lack of all three) have the ability to amplify or diminish heat related symptoms. Employers should provide training to workers so they understand what heat stress is, how it affects their health and safety, and how it can be prevented.

Each year organizations like OSHA, and CDC publish warnings and potential health risks regarding the upcoming seasons. Below is the annual refresher on heat stress types and management provided by the CDC. Stay cool!

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related disorder. It occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature: the body’s temperature rises rapidly, the Continue Reading…

Canadian Government Tables Legislation to Introduce GHS

Is the Ball Finally Rolling?

On March 28, 2014, the Government of Canada tabled new legislation intended, among other things, to start the introduction of the Globally Harmonized System for Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). This legislation, included in Bill C-31, proposes amendments to the Hazardous Products Act which will, eventually, allow Health Canada to replace the Controlled Product Regulations (CPR) with a new regulation, the Hazardous Products Regulation (HPR). The CPR, and the HPR intended to replace it, create the main federal part of the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS). The HPR has come to be known as “WHMIS 2.0”, as it replaces the well-known WHMIS labels, symbols and Material Safety Data Sheets for a new, internationally harmonized, style.

As part of the federal government’s Economic Action Plan 2014, Bill C-31 proposes significant amendments to the Hazardous Products Act, including:

  • Expanded definitions of terms such as sell, supplier and hazardous waste
  • New definitions for “Safety data sheet” (SDS) and “hazardous product”, as used by the GHS, to replace the current definitions for “Material Safety Data Sheets” (MSDS) and “controlled product”
  • Specific requirements for products containing asbestos
  • Prohibitions against labels or SDSs that contain false or misleading information
  • Increased record-keeping requirements, such as keeping documentation on goods obtained from other suppliers, as well as goods sold to Canadian workplaces
  • Significant amendments to section 13 and 14, the main sections dealing with supplier obligations Continue Reading…