Why You Need the Most Updated Regulatory Texts

The Bible, Shakespeare and Transport Regulations

“Woe is me” is a phrase heard by many. It basically means someone is unhappy or distressed. The Bible uses this phrase in several locations including Job 10:15, Isaiah 6:5 and Psalms 120:5. Shakespeare later used this same expression when writing for his tragic character Ophelia in “Hamlet”. Existing and operating in the world of regulations can also bring on this feeling. It is difficult enough learning the basics of any regulation, but to truly “know” it takes time, patience and work. This process is complicated by the fact that many regulations change. Is it really necessary to have the newest, latest regulation? To answer that question it is time to look to the regulations.

International Air Transport Association (IATA):

For many, these are the Air Regulations. In this instance, the regulation is updated YEARLY. A new edition goes into effect on January 1st of any given year and ends on December 31st of that same year. The Regulation is currently on its 56th Edition. To showcase some of the changes that could apply to a variety of shippers, please read the following:

  1. The List of Dangerous Goods has new entries and/or updates to existing substances
  2. Packing Instructions for Lithium Batteries was updated to include not only a change but also a new addition
  3. Section 7 – Marking and Labeling for Limited Quantities has new information

Continue Reading…

Can You Really Ship HazMat/DG Without Following the Regulations?

Can someone ship hazardous materials/dangerous goods without using regulatory publications?

This is often a question we ask ourselves when assisting customers. There are so many if’s, and’s, and but’s in the regulations, it’s hard to imagine someone shipping hazardous products without them. The regulations are just large instruction manuals on how to safely ship dangerous materials. We often have customers call and question why their shipment was rejected. After listening to their story, we can usually find the answer right in the regulations. When we tell a customer why their shipment may have been rejected, customers normally see why having a copy of the current regulations is so important. Every company shipping hazardous materials/dangerous goods should have all the regulatory manuals for the modes of transportation which they ship.

“That’s how we have always done it.”

This is something we hear very often, actually.

Just because that’s how you have always done it doesn’t mean it is compliant. The regulations are updated often for a reason – to ensure safety for everyone involved with shipping hazardous materials/dangerous goods. Recently, many of the regulations have been updated to include new UN numbers. The new shipping names and UN numbers will affect the way that companies label and document these products. This could easily become a scenario where “we’ve always done it this way” may lead to penalties or fines.

“These books are Continue Reading…

PHMSA Withdraws NPRM

PHMSA has decided to not move forward to amend HMR 49 CFR 171-180 that would require CMTV loaders and unloaders to perform a risk assessment prior to activities and implement safety procedures based on the results.

On March 11, 2011 PHMSA published a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) based on their regulatory assessment, public comments and the completion of a supplementary policy analysis to address risks associated with loading and unloading operations. Also included in this proposal was additional training and qualification requirements for loading personnel.

PHMSA’s regulatory assessment cited “human error” as the reason for most cargo-related accidents. This decision was based on a 10 year study of CMTV incidents between 2000 and 2009. The study claimed that the human factor was attributed to inattention to detail while loading or unloading, attendance requirements, leaving valves in the open or closed position, failure to segregate incompatible materials, and improper hose connections and filling practices that result in over-pressurized CMTV’s. Over 3,500 of these incidents during the study period resulted in a total of $68 million in damages.

Public comments to the proposed amendment regarding performing risk assessments expressed concern over redundancy by facilities and carriers, as well as the record-keeping efforts for such a task, declared as “burdensome”.

Comments on PHMSA’s recommendation that operators perform an annual refresher under direct observation of actual duties and drills was strongly opposed Continue Reading…

A New Year, New Requirements for Identification Numbers

New shipping name labels sizes are required as of January 1, 2014

As the start of a new year approaches, it’s time for parties, resolutions – and to check our dangerous goods/hazmat procedures, and see what’s changing. If you are a shipper of non-bulk packagings, one thing to watch out for is the new size limit for identification numbers that will be introduced in many regulations for 2014.

Identification numbers (which cover UN numbers, NA numbers and ID numbers) are the main way for packages to be identified as to their contents, in a format that does not depend on language. In the past, incidents have occurred because these numbers were marked on dangerous goods packages, but were not large enough to be seen easily. Therefore, the United Nations has, in the UN Recommendations for Dangerous Goods, established minimum size requirements.

The size minimums are:

  • For packages with a capacity of 5 Litres or net mass of 5 kilograms or less, the size should be “an appropriate size,” based on the size of the container.
  • For packages containing more than 5 Litres or kilograms, up to  a maximum capacity of 30 Litres or net mass of 30 kilograms, the letters and numbers of the marking must be at least 6 millimeters (1/4 inch) tall.
  • For packages exceeding 30 Litres capacity, or 30 kilograms net mass, the letters and numbers of the marking must be at least 12 millimeters (1/2 inch) tall.

These size minimums will Continue Reading…

PHMSA Increases Potential Fines for Non-Compliance

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has increased the potential penalties for failing to comply with the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR).

Under Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations (49 CFR), hazardous materials must be transported in accordance the rules set out in Parts 100-185 of the HMR. Failing to follow these minimum standards can result in serious risk to the public, as well as environmental and property damage. Therefore, the potential penalties for lack of compliance must be appropriate. These penalties are set by Congress, but must be reflected in the HMR itself. Civil penalties are fines; there are criminal penalties involving prison sentences for violations that are “willful or reckless”.

Penalties must be kept current, and reflect not only inflationary changes, but also the government’s concern ab that the regulations are taken seriously by stakeholders. Therefore, on July 6, 2012, the U.S. Congress revised the maximum and minimum civil penalties for a “knowing violation” of the Federal hazardous material transportation law, or legal requirements under that law, such as regulations, special permits, inspectors’ orders or special approvals issued under that law. Details on these new penalties may be found in 49 U.S.C. 5123(a). The new penalties take effect on violations that occurred on or after October 1, 2012.

To follow Congress’ lead, PHMSA issued a Final Rule ([Docket No. PHMSA–2012–0257 (HM–258)], RIN 2137–AE96) on April 17, Continue Reading…

20 Years Ago

Time flies. Can you believe that it has been 20 years since RSPA (now PHMSA) published docket HM-126F regarding training?

Final rule HM-126F is now incorporated into the 49 CFR regulations Part 172 Subpart H. Subpart H stipulates that:

    1. A hazmat employer shall ensure that each of its hazmat employees is trained in accordance with the requirements prescribed in this subpart
    2. Employees may not perform functions without appropriate training
    3. Training may be provided by the hazmat employer or other public or private sources
    4. A hazmat employer shall ensure that each of its hazmat employees is tested by appropriate means on the topics covered

Hazmat employee training must include the following:

  1. General awareness/familiarization training
  2. Function-specific training
  3. Safety training
  4. Security awareness training
  5. In-depth security training

Often times both function-specific and in-depth security training is better done onsite by the employer. It is the employer’s responsibility to certify that the hazmat employee can perform their job, and do so safely.

For more than 25 years, ICC has provided companies with training that complies with these regulations. We offer training that complies with the general awareness/familiarization, security awareness, safety and some function specific topics.

Ask us about our scheduled public training for ground, air or ocean at our facilities across North American. We also offer GHS training, and new OSHA compliant safety training.

Call 888.442.9628 for more information. Have a problem? We have a solution.

The Rulemaking Process

Have you ever been curious about how a rulemaking is published?  Have you ever wondered how you can participate in the rulemaking process?

We came across a link we want to share from The Office of the Federal Register. When you follow this link https://www.federalregister.gov/learn/tutorials, then scroll down to Tutorials, you will see A Guide to the Rulemaking Process containing answers to the questions below.

Gavel and books

Before the proposed rule

What gives agencies the authority to issue regulations?

How does an agency decide to begin rulemaking?

When can the public learn that an agency plans to start a rulemaking?

How does an agency involve the public in developing a proposed rule?

What is the role of the President in developing a proposed rule?

The proposed rule

What is the purpose of the proposed rule?

How is the proposed rule structured?

What is the time period for the public to submit comments?

Why do agencies re-open comments or issue multiple proposed rules?

Do agencies have additional options for gathering public comments?

Why should you consider submitting electronic comments?

Before the final rule

How do public comments affect the final rule?

What is the role of the President in developing a final rule?

The final rule

How is the final rule structured?

When do final rules go into effect?

Can an agency issue a final rule without publishing a proposed rule?

What are interim final rules and direct final rules?

After the final rule

How are final rules integrated into the CFR?

How is Continue Reading…

Derailment in Columbus, Ohio

At about 2 a.m. Wednesday, approximately 11 cars of a Norfolk Southern train derailed southeast of the Ohio State University campus. This track location is north of the downtown area in an industrial section just blocks from residences.

Emergency responders imposed a mile wide evacuation zone, as flames shot skyward. Authorities stated that three of the burning rail cars contained ethanol. In the daylight, authorities decided to let the fire burn itself out. There is no immediate cause known for the derailment. Two people were injured as they ran toward the accident scene before the flammable vapor ignited in an explosion. They were able to get themselves to the hospital.

The American Red Cross opened an evacuation center at the state fairgrounds and was assisting about 50 individuals.

Norfolk Southern said two locomotives and three of the 98 freight cars were removed from the scene without incident.

Ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol) is a flammable liquid made by fermentation of a biomass. The flash point for ethanol is -114°C. Although flammability is a major hazard, it is also classified as a depressant drug when ingested. The level of intoxication is determined by the alcohol concentration in the brain. Ethanol is used for a variety of purposes, including, but not limited to: solvent for resins, dyes, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, beverages, antifreeze, explosives and cleaning preparations.

Onsite Training Comes to Houston

ICC Compliance Center is proud to introduce onsite training in the Houston area. We currently provide various types of hazardous materials/dangerous goods training and certification to meet our customers’ requirements, including live-classroom, web-based or instructor-led webinars and onsite training.

We Bring the Classroom to You

Our regulatory specialists will come to a location of your choice, eliminating any travel expenses for your employees (ex. gas, airfare, hotel, rental car and dining).

Our experienced staff can develop and deliver many types of programs created especially for your company’s individual dangerous goods and hazardous materials requirements (products, modes of transport, shipping systems, etc.), together with practical suggestions for effective implementation.

Customized Onsite Training Gives You Control Over:

  • Course structure
  • Class location, size and audience
  • Class schedule – schedule the training around your company’s workload
  • Confidential information – With only your employees present, sensitive and proprietary issues can be addressed and used as examples during class
  • Course retention – Studies have proven workers are able to learn more when they study together. The effects of a shared training experience continue long after the seminar has ended

Meet ICC’s Trainer in Houston

David Lyle FordDavid Lyle Ford has recently joined our team as a Regulatory Specialist, and specializes in dangerous goods, i.e. CFR 49, TDG, IATA, and IMDG. David came to ICC from a global petrochemical manufacturer where he was responsible for all modes of transport including railroad, highway, sea and Continue Reading…

UN Performance Packaging – Filling Limits

UN Packaging codes reveal necessary information about a package’s specifications.  They provide concise answers to questions of:
what it can hold, how much, where it was authorized, when it was made, etc.
The UN packaging code, however, doesn’t always tell the whole story…

Although there may be other test levels achieved, these may not be reflected on the packaging itself.  For example, take a steel drum that has successfully passed the most stringent tests (PG I), and is marked accordingly with the ‘X’ performance level.  This package, in all probability, can/has also passed the less rigorous tests required to meet both the ‘Y’ and ‘Z’ performance level. (Referencing a testing certificate, a test report, or the registration of a successfully tested package, will confirm this.)

So what does this all mean?
Filling limits for single or composite packaging, containing less hazardous material for which they were tested & marked (e.g. PG III material in a PG I packaging), can be re-calculated as per below.

Provided all the performance criteria can still be achieved by the higher relative density product, the following will apply:

For liquids:

a.  A packing group I packaging may be used for a packing group II material with a specific gravity not exceeding the greater of 1.8, or 1.5 times the specific gravity marked on the packaging.

b. A packing group I packaging may be used for a packing group III material with Continue Reading…