Health Canada recently issued a series of 6 new or updated guidance documents to assist stakeholders in maintaining compliance with various aspects of the Hazardous Products Act/Regulation (“WHMIS 2015”) and assist importers/exporters in comparing the Canadian requirements to those of the US 29CFR OSHA (“HCS 2012”). These documents are reviewed briefly below with the link to the Health Canada site where the full document is available.
a) Joint HC & OSHA Guidance
This 15-page document compares key features between WHMIS 2015 and HCS 2012 from the perspective of jurisdiction and responsibilities. A summary table is included that highlights the areas of: authority (Federal v. Provincial/Territorial or State); and responsibilities (Supplier v. Employer v. Worker) in each country.
The document was published July 31, 2019 and is available in PDF/HTML at:
Following the April 2018 amendment to re-introduce use of concentration ranges for confidentiality purposes, this 20-page document has been issued to provide guidance on how to apply the HPR s. 4.4 and 4.5. This document replaces the information in the Dec. 2016 Technical Guidance document. A table in the document provides a comparison of this aspect between WHMIS 1988, WHMIS 2015 (pre-April 2018 amendment), WHMIS 2015 as amended in 2018 and the US HCS 2012.
The document was published August 2, 2019 and is available in PDF/HTML at:
Effective July 31, 2019 the fines for civil penalties within the Department of Transportation are increased. This increase impacts the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Pipeline of Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The fines are increased as a result of the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015. This happens every year, so you would think it would have an abbreviation at this point. This act basically requires federal agencies to adjust civil penalties each year to account for inflation. A list of the increases for 49CFR is shown below. These are found in 49CFR Part 107. A definition for “Penalties of non-compliance” is found in 171.1. To see the full ruling with the changes to the other agencies, go here.
Maximum penalty for a hazardous materials violation is $81,1993.
Maximum penalty for hazardous materials violation that results in death, serious illness, or severe injury to any person or substantial destruction of property is $191,316
Minimum penalty for hazardous materials training violations is $493.
Maximum penalty for each pipeline safety violation is $218,647
Maximum penalty for a related series of pipeline safety violations is $2,186,465
Maximum penalty for liquefied natural gas pipeline safety violation $79,875
Maximum penalty for discrimination against employees providing pipeline safety information = $1,270
From time to time the Universe aligns and changes in the dangerous goods shipping regulations actually make our lives a bit easier. That is the case now that The United States Postal Service (USPS) has published new options for hazardous materials markings in their June 20th Postal Bulletin. USPS is now piloting the use of smaller Excepted Quantity and Limited Quantity marks incorporated into or applied adjacent to the address label which allows a minimum size of no less than 50 millimeters (1.97 inches) in height and width. For use of the smaller marks, you must first request authorization through the USPS Product Classification Group. Additionally The DOT has recently issued a special permit to allow a Limited Quantity mark of a minimum of 50 millimeters on each side when placed adjacent to the package tracking label. The Postal Service temporary authorizations are expected to align with DOT’s special permit process.
Limited Quantity Mark Excepted Quantity Mark
If you are interested you should request authorization through the USPS Product Classification group at the address below:
Manager, Product Classification 475 L’Enfant Plaza SW Rm 4446 Washington DC 20260
The request for authorization should include:
A description of the general products you are shipping;
Your company name and address;
The requestor contact information (name, email, phone, etc.); and
A picture of the proposed marking (size) on the postage label/address side of the package
Since 2010, World Hepatitis Day is observed on July 28th. The goal is to raise awareness of hepatitis as well as the prevention and treatment of the disease. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), hepatitis cause two in every three liver cancer deaths and overall 1.34 million deaths a year. We all need to be educated. This is not a disease found in just one country, a particular ethnicity or age. Here is the chance to educate ourselves.
Hepatitis is the inflammation of liver tissue. It is most commonly caused by a virus and there are five main ones commonly referred to as Types A, B, C, D and E. Types A and E are usually short-term (acute) diseases. Types B, C, and D are likely to become chronic. Type A is contracted by direct contact with fecal matter or drinking water contaminated with fecal matter. that has the virus in it. Type E is the result of indirect contact with fecal contaminated food and water. This is why many people are under the misconception that you can only get hepatitis in 3rd world countries where sanitation is not the best. Types B and C are caused by contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids such as blood. Type D can only happen if someone is currently infected with Type B.
Every year when teaching the concept of density to high schoolers, I would use the story of Archimedes and the king’s crown. They really enjoyed the part of him running naked through the streets shouting, “Eureka, I have found it.” Since that time, the concept of “eureka moments” has become a thing. The moment you finally realize, understand, or discover something is a “eureka moment”.
My most recent one occurred while updating ICC’s lithium battery courses. You see, I’ve always struggled with a few paragraphs in 49CFR 173.185. The paragraphs in question are (c)(1)(iii) and (c)(1)(iv) for those smaller or “excepted” cells and batteries. My brain just couldn’t comprehend or truly understand what they were telling me. Add to that the changes brought in by the interim final rule HM-224I and my brain was just fried. Both paragraphs are shown below for your reference.
173.185(c)(1)(iii) Except when lithium cells or batteries are packed with or contained in equipment in quantities not exceeding 5 kg net weight, the outer package that contains lithium cells or batteries must be appropriately marked: “PRIMARY LITHIUM BATTERIES—FORBIDDEN FOR TRANSPORT ABOARD PASSENGER AIRCRAFT”, “LITHIUM METAL BATTERIES—FORBIDDEN FOR TRANSPORT ABOARD PASSENGER AIRCRAFT”, “LITHIUM ION BATTERIES—FORBIDDEN FOR TRANSPORT ABOARD PASSENGER AIRCRAFT” or labeled with a “CARGO AIRCRAFT ONLY” label specified in §172.448 of this subchapter.
173.185(c)(1)(iv) For transportation by highway or rail only, the lithium content of the cell Continue Reading…
On May 7, 2019, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration announced there will be a public meeting scheduled for June 17, 2019 to solicit input on the development of the 2020 edition of the Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG). During the June 17 meeting, PHMSA will discuss different ways to determine the appropriate response protective distances for poisonous vapors resulting from spills involving dangerous goods considered toxic by inhalation in the “green pages” of the 2016 ERG. PHMSA will also discuss new methodologies and considerations for future editions of the ERG and outcomes of field experiments including ongoing research to better understand environmental effects on airborne toxic gas concentrations and other updates that will be published in the 2020 ERG. The 2020 ERG will be published in English, French, and Spanish and will increase public safety by improving emergency response procedures for hazardous material incidents across North America. For more information on how to be a part of the public meeting visit the link below:
PHMSA first published the ERG Guidebook in 1973 for use by emergency services personnel to provide guidance for first responders during the critical first 30 minutes of hazardous materials transportation incidents. Since 1980, PHMSA’s goal has been to provide free access of the ERG to all public emergency response personnel including fire-fighters, police, and rescue squads. PHMSA has distributed more than 14.5 Continue Reading…
When a train carrying flammable liquids is involved in an incident, first responders are often the first on scene. These types of incidents are not typical for first responders. They require a unique approach. And for that reason, Transport Canada has put out a video on how to respond to rail-car incidents that involve flammable liquids. Below are the factors and steps from the video when dealing with these types of incidents.
A Rail Car is involved in an accident and a fire starts on impact. The rail car is properly placarded with the appropriate class 3 flammable Placard. Below are the factors that can influence the fire as well as steps and tools to utilize during the incident.
Whether it’s Gasoline, Diesel, Ethanol, Crude oil, or bitumen, knowing the properties of each is important to first responders because all can behave differently under spill and fire conditions. This is where the importance of proper placarding will come into play as first responders can detect exactly what type of flammable substances are on the train based on the UN number. Below are important factors of flammable substances that would help first responders determine the proper course of action:
Viscosity- Gives an indication on how fast the fire can spread.
Density- Will determine if substance will sink or float if it is near a body of water.
ERAPs are unique to Canada, and are intended to ensure support for local responders in catastrophic spills, such as the 2013 Lac-Mégantic derailment. Essentially, they require consignor of significant amounts of high-risk dangerous goods to establish a specific protocol, often involving an on-call response team, that can assist local responders in case of a release. Transport Canada must review and approve the plan before the consignor can offer or import affected shipments (although the approval only has to be issued once.)
The amendment has three main goals:
clarify ERAP implementation and reporting;
enhance emergency preparedness and response; and
make housekeeping changes that address smaller issues.
The amendment replaces all the text of Part 7, although unamended requirements will remain the same. Changes also occur in Parts 1, 3 and 8.
Clarifying Implementation of ERAPs
The original requirements of Part 7 didn’t go into any detail as to how an ERAP would be implemented – presumably it would be by emergency responders or by the person with control of the released material, but it’s never been established precisely. The amendment addresses initial notification of an accident requiring ERAP response, and clarifies that the person with the ERAP Continue Reading…
Laurel and Hardy the comedy duo from the 1930’s coined the phrase, “Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into.” Sadly, I believe this is the situation DOT created with HM-224I which is an interim final rule published in March. When this new rule is taken into account along with the general frustration many shippers face when shipping lithium batteries, it is easy to see how the mess was made.
Basically, here’s what happened. The 49 CFR can be used to make air shipments along with going by ground and vessel. In the “old” version of the regulations, you were allowed to put lithium ion batteries on passenger planes as long as the net weight of the batteries was below 5 kg. Well, DOT has finally admitted it is NOT a good idea to put lithium ion batteries on passenger aircraft. They also wanted to be in closer alignment with the IATA which restricted ion batteries to cargo planes just a few years ago. This is where HM-224I comes into play.
One of the biggest changes is the addition of a phrase to section 173.185 for small powered or excepted batteries. It is paragraph (c)(1)(iii) that is causing the most trouble. Keep in mind nothing changed with the existing phrases in this paragraph. It is simply a matter of a new one being added. Also, this paragraph Continue Reading…
The International Labour Organization (ILO) was created in 1919. It is a United Nation’s agency that sets
standards, policies and programs for the work force. Comprised of workers, employers and governments
the main goals are to “promote rights at work, encourage decent employment
opportunities, enhance social protection and strengthen dialogue on
work-related issues.” Each branch, if
you will, has equal footing in regards to what programs and actions are
Starting in 2003, the ILO started “International Worker’s Memorial Day”
as a way to bring awareness to workers and the workplace including accidents,
diseases, safety and health. It has evolved
into the “International World Day for Safety and Health at Work” and is celebrated
every year on April 28. This date also
coincides with the International Commemoration Day for Dead and Injured Workers.
Since the ILO is celebrating 100 years of existence in 2019, they are looking
back at what the past 100 years and using that experience to look at the
current and future workplace. The theme
to this year’s event is “A Safe and Healthy Future of Work: Building on 100 Years
of Experience”. There is a fantastic
video on the ILO site found here
that focuses on this year’s theme. The longer
report covers the changes to the workforce overtime and what are some of the
upcoming changes. The numbers in it are staggering
when viewed from a global perspective.
It is well worth the read and is free to download.