Chemical Safety and Back to School

Every year around this time a feeling of nostalgia gets me. As soon as the first sign about “back to school” shows up in a store or on TV, I am transported to my previous life. For over 10 years I taught high school science. Each year there were plans to make, supplies to buy, and students to meet. Thinking on it now from the perspective of a safety professional, it is amazing the chemical hazards present in an everyday school situation.

Being a science teacher it was easy to engage students in their own learning. Usually, all it took was setting up some demonstrations of some basic chemical reactions and everyone was read to go. A few of the more common ones were called Colored Fire, Sugar Snake, and Elephant’s Toothpaste. In each one of these, hazardous chemicals are used to make the reaction. For the Colored Fire, alcohol solutions of various metals are used. The Sugar Snake involves the use of concentrated sulfuric acid. In Elephant’s toothpaste a hydrogen peroxide solution is used. As a teacher you always had to model good safety habits including the proper personal protective equipment and keep students far enough away for the actual demonstration to be safe.

Colored Fire

Sugar Snake

Elephant’s Toothpaste

Elsewhere in the school building there were other hazardous chemicals. Consider the toner in the copy room. Also, the Custodial department Continue Reading…

TDG
Know Your Exemptions – the 500 Kilogram Exemption (TDG Section 1.16)

Like most regulations based on the UN Recommendations for the Transport of Dangerous Goods, Canada’s “Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations” (TDG) includes a number of exemptions. These provide easier and more cost-effective ways for shipping low-risk materials. However, each exemption needs to be carefully studied. If you don’t comply with all the requirements, you are not entitled to any part of the exemption.

One of the most misunderstood exemptions in TDG is found in section 1.16, the “500 Kilogram Exemption.” The provisions in this section originated in a long-ago series of permits intended to make shipment of small quantities of dangerous goods easier. Over the years, changes to this section have reduced its effectiveness; it still may be a helpful exemption in certain specific cases, but it must be used appropriately.

The first myth about the 500 kilogram exemption is that it is a total exemption from all requirements of TDG. This is far from the truth. At best, the exemption relieves the shipper from Part 3 (Documentation), Part 4 (Dangerous Goods Safety Marks) and Part 5 (Means of Containment). All other requirements of TDG will still apply. This includes, for example, the requirement that the carrier and all handlers must be TDG-certified. At one point, receivers were exempted from Part 6, Training, but this relief was removed in an amendment several years ago.

Obviously, the exemption only applies Continue Reading…

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…

Safety Data Sheets (SDS)
Looney Tunes, “Of Mice and Men,” and Safety Data Sheets

Which way do I go, George?

John Steinbeck’s novella “Of Mice and Men” is often a required reading for many school children. Though published in 1937 about a story of migrant workers in the Great Depression, it has many themes that are still powerful today. What many don’t know is that one of Steinbeck’s characters from this story is parodied in a classic Looney Tunes cartoon.

Of Fox and Hounds

In this cartoon, Willoughby the dog is fooled by George the fox. Willoughby is voiced by Tex Avery, while George’s voice is done by Mel Blanc.

Now what does this have to do with Safety Data Sheets or SDS? Often when tasked with writing a SDS one can feel like poor Willoughby. All of the information is available, but which way do you go. Which way do you go?

ICC Compliance Center can help and it won’t be in the way of George in the cartoon. We offer five different SDS Services.

But how do I choose which is right for me?

  1. SDS Creation: The process is simple. Send us a basic product information sheet, the raw materials SDS documents, and the countries involved and we can write an SDS for you that meets the requirements of OSHA HazCom 2012, WHMIS, European REACH, or European CLP. We even offer to sign a non-disclosure agreement to keep your product information private.
  2. SDS Reformats and Revisions: Most companies already Continue Reading…
TDG
TDG Amendments Takes Effect

Have You Made Your TDG Updates Yet?

The holiday rush for 2014 is over. Our parties have been held, and our gifts are unwrapped and appreciated. But if you’re a dangerous goods shipper or carrier, you can’t relax just yet. New requirements from Transport Canada become mandatory, January 15, 2015. So, it’s time to make sure that everything in in compliance with the new system.

Back on July 2, 2014. Transport Canada issued two amendments to the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (TDG). One was called the Safety Mark Amendment, and the second was the Update of Standards Amendment. Both will have important effects on dangerous goods shipping procedures, and will need to be addressed immediately if you want your shipments to remain in compliance.

If your organization hasn’t already done so, it will need to review these amendments and make all necessary changes as soon as possible. Here are some of the most critical changes:

  • Non-bulk packaging must now be selected for ground shipment using a standard published by Transport Canada, called Transport Canada Standard TP14850E, “Small Containers for Transport of Dangerous Goods, Classes 3, 4, 5, 6.1, 8 and, 9, a Transport Canada Standard.” Note that this is available as a free download from the Transport Canada site at http://www.tc.gc.ca/publications/en/tp14850/pdf/hr/tp14850e.pdf
  • Consignors of dangerous goods must keep on file a “proof of classification” for all dangerous goods they offer 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 Continue Reading…

Ebola Outbreak Puts Stress on Shippers of Infectious Substances

The headlines are frightening – Ebola virus, one of the most deadly viruses known, has broken out in several African countries. Medical authorities are concerned that it could spread beyond that region, carried by travellers all over the world. Laboratories in North America and Europe are on alert for patients showing suspicious symptoms. This, in turn, means that samples and specimens must be transported for testing and verification. How can the medical community deal with transportation of such high-risk materials?

Shipping biological substances training »

Ebola virus is considered a “hemorrhagic fever,” which affects the blood system. Its virulence is astonishing, with a fatality rate of between 50 and 90 percent. Combine this with the ability to be transmitted through casual contact, and the lack of specific vaccines or treatment, and it’s understandable why Ebola is such a feared disease. Therefore, it is all the more essential that transporters make sure that they comply with all legal and safety requirements.

Ebola virus is one of the few pathogens that is always classed as a Category A infectious substance, even in its uncultured form. The shipping description will be:

  • Identification number – UN2814
  • Shipping name – Infectious substance, affecting humans
  • Class – 6.2 (Infectious substances)
  • Packing group – Class 6.2 is not assigned packing groups

Procedures for shipping samples suspected of containing the virus will depend upon the regulations involved – the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) for Continue Reading…

IMDG Logo
Upcoming Changes to the IMDG Code for 2015

By the end of this year, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will publish the next revision to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG). This revision, to be known as Amendment 37-14, will be optional to comply with starting on January 1, 2015, and will become mandatory on January 1, 2016.

What changes will we expect to see in this new revision? Perhaps not as many as in previous amendments, but there will be a number of significant issues addressed. These include:

  • A clarification that lamps and light bulbs are not to be considered dangerous goods
  • Significant revisions to the requirements for Class 7 radioactive substances
  • Addition of shipping descriptions and packaging instructions for adsorbed gases
  • Clarifications on classifying viscous flammable liquids
  • Clarification on the design and dimensions of various marks, such as the marine pollutant and limited quantity markings, as well as the design and dimensions of labels and placards
  • The lettering of the OVERPACK marking must be at least 12 mm high (Mandatory January 1, 2016)

The Dangerous Goods List, Chapter 3.2, will be altered by dividing column 16 (Stowage and segregation) in two, creating column 16a, Stowage, and 16b, Segregation. Codes for appropriate stowage and segregation will be assigned for each shipping description (these codes will be explained in Chapter 7.2).

There will be a number of revisions to shipping descriptions. One important one affects the automotive industry – the shipping names 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…

Transport Canada Unveils Proposed Amendment to Safety Standards

On November 16, Transport Canada published proposed changes to certain safety standards in the Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) Regulations. These changes can be found in Canada Gazette I, and may be accessed online at http://gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p1/2013/2013-11-16/html/reg5-eng.html.

It may appear at first that these are merely technical changes and updates. Transport Canada says that the main reason for the amendment is that some of the standards need their references updated to the most current version, and some of them need to be introduced for the first time. However, if the amendment is finalized in Gazette II, some of the implications are significant for Canadian shippers and carriers.

The principle points behind this amendment are:

  1. Several new standards must be introduced in order to enhance compliance with the UN Recommendations in their current form. This means including standards for packagings such as cylinders (which currently have a TC (Transport Canada) specification), and UN-specification portable tanks. This will ensure that Canadians are using the most harmonized, as  well as the most modern, packaging standards.
  2. A number of the existing standards referenced in TDG are not referenced in the most current version. For example, the current regulation has a reference for CSA Standard B339-08, “Cylinders, spheres, and tubes for the transportation of dangerous goods”, last amended in February 2005. The amendment will update this reference to the version published in March 2008.
  3. Currently, there is a standard for Continue Reading…