ICC's Regulatory Helpdesk
Regulatory Helpdesk: June 4

Variation packaging cushioning material, excepted quantity packaging, UN packaging testing, distributor deadlines for WHMIS 2015, Mexico GHS, and compatibility

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.

Variation Packaging (4GV) Cushioning Material

Q. Can I substitute a different cushioning material in a variation box?
A. In general: “No.” When a UN-standardized package is specified. The various regulations (49 CFR, IATA DGR, IMDG Code, and TDGR), or the standards referenced within them, restrict the user to assembling the package according to the manufacturer’s instructions. These instructions are based on the components used in the submitted test/design reports on which the approval is based. 49 CFR §178.601(g)(4)(iv) even goes to the point of specifically requiring the same type of cushioning as was used in the submission.

Excepted Quantity Packaging

Q. Is it always necessary for the shipper to have performance test results on packaging used to ship “excepted quantities”?
A. This depends on the mode or jurisdiction of transport. 49 CFR [§173.4a(f)], IATA DGR (§2.6.6) and IMDG Code (§3.5.3) all require that the shipper ensure that testing has been done and documented. This doesn’t need to be externally certified or approved. TDGR [§1.17.1(3)] does not require specific testing, only that packaging is “… designed, constructed, filled, Continue Reading…
Countdown to WHMIS Deadline: Safety Data Sheets

WHMIS Update Man reaching across table with SDS

WHMIS 2015 SDS Requirements

Next in our WHMIS 2015 series we’ll discuss the Safety Data Sheet (SDS), formerly known as the Material Safety Data sheet or MSDS.

There were significant changes to the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) when WHMIS 2015 was adopted including the WHMIS 2015 classification and label elements in section 2. In addition, the SDS must be provided in English and French.

The required elements on a WHMIS 2015 SDS are outlined on Government Canada’s Website

Note that when preparing the SDS, each section, heading and specific information element is mandatory, even if you do not have the information to go into that section. When that is the case, “not available” or “not applicable” can be used in place of the data.

The SDS must be available and accurate at the time of sale. The good news, is under the federal rule, the SDS no longer expires. However, provincial rules may require that the SDS is updated every 3 years; this is true for British Columbia and the Yukon territory.

However, there is a requirement to update the SDS when new significant information becomes available. The question becomes, how do you know if new information is available, if you don’t review your SDS on a regular basis.

A few other points of interest regarding the SDS include:

  • The SDS must have the identity of the Canadian supplier. The exception to this Continue Reading…
Countdown to WHMIS 2015 Deadline: Training Requirements

WHMIS 2015 update man working at oil refinery

WHMIS 2015 Training Requirements

Next in our WHMIS 2015 countdown series, we will discuss training requirements under the new regulation.

With the WHMIS deadline fast approaching and workplaces updating their labels and safety data sheets, one must not forget that employees will need to understand what the changes all mean.

In Canada, if a workplace uses hazardous products, then the worker must be educated and trained on the hazards of those products. This would apply to workers who are exposed to the products during their day to day work routine, anyone who stores, handles or disposes of hazardous products, supervisors or managers who meet the above criteria, and anyone involved with emergency response.

Education vs Training

What is the difference between education and training? Let’s look at the definitions, courtesy of CCOHS:

Education
Refers to general or portable information such as how WHMIS works and the hazards of the products. For example, you will learn about the hazard classes (e.g., why a product is called a corrosive, and what information you can find on labels and SDSs).
Training
Refers to the site- and job-specific information to employees that will cover your workplace’s procedures for storage, handling, use, disposal, emergencies, spills, and what to do in unusual situations.

Suggested topics for education and training include:

  • Information on the supplier label, such as the signal word, hazard and precautionary phrases and pictograms; what do they mean?
  • Information on the workplace Continue Reading…
WHMIS Logo
Countdown to WHMIS 2015 Deadlines

WHMIS Update

Compliance Dates are Right Around the Corner

Are you truly ready? There is only a month left until the WHMIS 2015 deadline for Manufacturer’s and Importers to comply with the new requirements. Distributors have just a bit longer with a compliance date of August 31, 2018.

Phase Timing Suppliers Employer*
Manufacturers and Importers Distributors
Phase 1 From February 11, 2015 to May 31, 2018 WHMIS 1988 or WHMIS 2015 WHMIS 1988 or WHMIS 2015 Consult F/P/T regulator
Phase 2 From June 1, 2018 to August 31, 2018 WHMIS 2015 WHMIS 1988 or WHMIS 2015 WHMIS 1988 or WHMIS 2015
Phase 3 From September 1, 2018 to November 30, 2018 WHMIS 2015 WHMIS 2015 WHMIS 1988 or WHMIS 2015
Completion December 1, 2018 WHMIS 2015 WHMIS 2015 WHMIS 2015
* Consult appropriate FPT OHS regulator to confirm requirements and transition timing.

The Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR) were published in the Canada Gazette on February 11, 2015. This amendment aligned the HPR with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). The GHS system, which is being implemented around the world effects the classification, labeling, safety data sheets and worker education and training.

The HPR set out specific classification criteria. If a product meets the definition of a hazardous product, then the workplace is covered by the WHMIS regulations and a WHMIS program must be in place.

Hopefully by now, you are well under way to ensure compliance with the deadline. ICC Compliance Center’s checklist is a useful tool to make sure you have all of Continue Reading…

ICC's Regulatory Helpdesk
Regulatory Helpdesk: April 16

WHMIS 2015 concentration ranges, training, overpacks, segregation and non-DG in DG packaging

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.

New WHMIS 2015 Concentration Ranges

Q. There is a very specific list of approved concentration ranges listed in the CA regulations.  We had previously set up our ranges to be .1-10%, 10-20%, 20-30%, etc. (groupings of 10) and always included the “trade secret” caveat after our concentration list. Would this still be considered “compliant” for Canada, meaning using our ranges vs. their list of ranges?
A. There is a Regulatory Impact Assessment file that was sent out to stakeholders by Health Canada a couple days before the new amendment appeared in the Gazette II.

Under the comments received section of that file was the following:

Use of the prescribed ranges

One stakeholder agreed with the proposed amendment as it read in the context of the CGI publications, but asked for the following clarification: can smaller ranges be used if they (1) fall within an existing range, e.g. using 3.8-4.5% rather than 3-5% (as listed), or (2) when combining up to three prescribed ranges, e.g. combining ranges (e), (f), and (g) would be 5-30% but using 6-28% instead. Health Canada clarified that the prescribed concentration ranges are Continue Reading…

WHMIS 2015 Concentration Ranges – Finally Some SDS ‘Relief’

WHMIS Update

Health Canada Amendment to the HPR (Hazardous Product Regulations)

Health Canada published a proposed amendment to the HPR (Hazardous Product Regulations), which included an option to use specified concentration ranges for ingredients rather than the exact or actual chemical concentration on their SDSs (safety data sheets) (October 21, 2017).

That proposed amendment to allow ranges, would offer industry some Confidential Business Information (CBI) protection of formulations without having to go through a potentially costly CBI application claim under the Hazardous Materials Information Review Act (HMIRA).

Ahhh….’Relief’

After receiving comments and questions on the proposed amendment to allow the use of concentration ranges on SDSs, Health Canada has advised that the amendment has been approved and registered as of April 4, 2018. The approved amendment has yet to appear in the official Gazette II publication, but is expected to appear on April 18, 2018. Since it is officially registered, the amendment is effective, and can be applied, now.

The Details…

Health Canada, through this new amendment, is giving the option to suppliers, to list prescribed concentration ranges for ingredients on SDSs, without having to apply for a potentially costly exemption, in accordance with the HMIRA.

Suppliers may use this option when they wish to protect exact concentrations, or ‘actual concentration ranges’, which they feel are trade secrets.

The following are the approved, prescribed, list of concentration ranges:

0.1 – 1.0%
0.5 – 1.5%
1.0 – 5.0%
3.0 – 7.0%
5.0 Continue Reading…
Regulatory Helpdesk: February 19 & 26

Shipments to Puerto Rico, Non-hazardous substances, the Overpack label, and Aviation Regulated Liquids or Solids

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.

Shipping to Puerto Rico

Q.  If 49 CFR is used to make a vessel shipment of limited quantities from the mainland US to Puerto Rico is a shipping paper required? I’m asking because limited quantities don’t require shipping papers.

A. Technically that is true. Shipping papers are not needed for US GROUND shipments. You have to read the fine print in paragraph 173.150(b) which is the section on limited quantities for flammable and combustible liquids. It that paragraph it says, ” … is not subject to the shipping paper requirements of subpart C of part 172 of this subchapter, unless the material meets the definition of a hazardous substance, hazardous waste, marine pollutant, or is offered for transportation and transported by aircraft or vessel, and is eligible for the exceptions provided in §173.156 of this part“.

Non-hazardous substances under WHMIS 2015

Q.Customer called and asked if SDS’s were required for non-hazardous substances and where to find this in the WHMIS 2015 Regulations?

A.The answer to your question can be found below in WHMIS 2015, which states that safety data sheets only pertain to a hazardous product, therefore Continue Reading…

Safety Data Sheets (SDS)
GHS SDS Ingredient Disclosure

Young female Industrial Worker

Another SDS ‘Headache’

If you are supplying chemical products that require Safety Data Sheets (SDS’s) to multiple countries, you are also likely to know this headache well.

With the implementation of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification & Labeling (GHS) around the world progressing, issues are beginning to appear which emphasize points where…. Maybe requirements are not so ‘harmonized’. One such issue, is ingredient disclosure requirements on SDS’s for mixtures across different regions of the world.

The United Nation’s (UN’s) GHS system, does contain some standardized recommendations for SDS, including that SDS’s should be provided only for chemicals classified as ‘hazardous’, SDS’s should contain basic minimum information (e.g., 16 sections with specific headings), as well as more detailed recommended guidance on how to prepare each section of the SDS.

Ingredient disclosure recommendations, in particular, appear in Annex 4 of the GHS. In general, the GHS recommends that for a mixture classified as hazardous, the SDS should list all ‘hazardous’ ingredients, which are individually hazardous to health or the environment, when the ingredients are present above concentration cutoff levels. There’s several parts of that general requirement, which can be viewed as a ‘can of worms’.

Are the cutoff levels the same for each region of the world? How should one handle ingredient disclosure when you are in a region that doesn’t regulate environmental hazards on SDS’s? Are ‘non-hazardous’ chemical mixtures really not Continue Reading…

Regulatory Helpdesk: January 29

WHMIS Labels Format, How ICAO and IATA are Related, Shipping Residues, and IATA Documentation

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.

WHMIS Labels Format

Q. Is there a specified format for WHMIS 2015 workplace labels?
A. No. The information is specified but not the format. Pictograms may assist employees in quickly identifying the hazards/precautions; and may simplify employer creation of substitute “supplier” labels.

This is especially true when employees have been trained in the GHS-based WHMIS 2015 system. Employers must ensure training has been provided if GHS pictograms are used on workplace labels during the transition period.

ICAO/IATA Relationship

Q. Is a risk of non-compliance in using IATA DGR given that government regulations specify compliance with ICAO Technical instructions?
A. IATA DGR states in §1.14 that they contain all of the ICAO TI requirements and add additional restrictions. Thus, complying with IATA DGR will ensure compliance with ICAO TI. As with all regulations, it is important to keep aware of amendments/corrigenda between publication dates.

Shipping Residues (TDG)

Q. When we are shipping residues…. Can we and how do we indicate ‘Residue last contained’ on the transport document.
A. If the quantity of dangerous goods in a means of containment is less than 10 per cent of the Continue Reading…
Regulatory Helpdesk: January 22, 2018

Shipping Alkaline Batteries, IBC Pressure Gauges, and SDS Expiry Under WHMIS 2015

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.

Shipping Spent Alkaline Batteries (49 CFR)

Q. Can spent alkaline batteries (Duracell) be shipped to a recycling facility by ground without being declared dangerous goods?
A. Assuming that these are dry alkaline batteries that are used or spent for recycling, they are not required to be shipped as dangerous goods by ground in the USA per 172.102 Provision 130 (d) provided they are rated under 9 volts per below.

Ground Transport (US DOT): 49 CFR 172.102 SPECIAL PROVISION 130

Used or spent battery exception. Used or spent dry batteries of both non-rechargeable and rechargeable designs, with a marked rating up to 9-volt that are combined in the same package and transported by highway or rail for recycling, reconditioning, or disposal are not subject to this special provision or any other requirement of the HMR.

Pressure Gauge Requirements for IBCs

Q. What are the pressure gauge testing requirements for 31A IBCs?
A. I referred the customer to 178.814 d (1) (2) which lists 2 consecutive tests that must be administered with a rating of 65kPa first followed by 200kPa.

Can You Use Capital Letters (TDG)?

Q. Do Continue Reading…