Regulatory Helpdesk: January 8, 2018

3 Questions from our Regulatory Helpdesk

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.

Disclosing Concentration Ranges Under WHMIS 2015

Q. Do I have to indicate “Proprietary” on a WHMIS (M)SDS when masking actual concentrations with ranges?
A. It depends. WHMIS 1988 accepted the use of concentration ranges on MSDS to mask confidential business information (CBI) without requiring any indication.

WHMIS 2015 does not currently allow the use of ranges other than the concentration range actually present for a variable substance (also, unlike WHMIS 1988, ranges cannot be used to allow a single SDS for a series of different but similar products).

Products subject to an approved masking under the HMIR Act do have to, in both versions, reference the exemption authorization on the (M)SDS.

A CBI amendment under consideration may re-introduce the permissible use of ranges to unilaterally mask actual concentrations. This proposal as currently written requires a statement in the SDS when a range is used that’s wider than the actual concentration range, to protect CBI. We’ll have to wait for the final amendment to answer the question going forward …

IMDG or TDG?

Q. Does a shipment within Canada by vessel from Newfoundland require placarding according to the IMDG Code or do the provisions of the TDGR apply?
A. That depends on destination and route of the vessel. The Marine Amendment to the TDGR clarifies the application of the IMDG Code regarding voyages between 2 Canadian destinations. If the voyage remains north of the port of New York (or Portland, Oregon on the west coast) and the vessel is never more than 120 nautical miles (222 km) from shore, then TDGR applies as of Dec. 13, 2017. You should verify the route with your carrier, recognizing that a particular carrier may choose not to accept the use of exemptions.

Shipping Between Locations (49 CFR)

Q. I use flammable hazardous materials in the course of my business and need to transport them between locations. Must I follow all 49 CFR requirements?
A. It depends on the type and  quantity (containers and load) of the substance you are transporting. There are 3 main provisions that could reduce the regulatory burden:

  • Flammable liquid with higher flash point re-classified as combustible and exempted under 49 CFR§173.150(f); or
  • Qualifies under conditional (partial) exemptions as “material of trade” under 49 CFR§173.6; or
  • Qualifies under conditional (partial) exemptions for “limited quantity” under 49 CFR§173.150(b),(c).

“Reverse logistics” conditional (partial) exemptions may apply if the business is a retailer who returns material to a supplier for credit.

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