TDG
Transport Canada Publishes Enforcement Action Summaries

Truck Driving on highway at sunset

A New Awareness Vehicle

Transport Canada has added a new item to the various informative offerings on the TDG home page. A link was added to an “Enforcement Action Summaries” listing to supplement existing guidance pages on topic-specific publications, orders, equivalency certificates, safety awareness material, etc.

This new page is intended to give the regulated community a better understanding of the types of offences that could subject them to penalties or orders to take corrective action. The objective is to provide an incentive to “deter wrongdoing” by demonstrating consequences to those who might choose to ignore the regulations; or, on a more positive note, provide an illustration of the advantages of understanding the regulations before an enforcement situation is encountered.

“I Fought the Law …” – or Ignorance is (Usually) No Excuse

Sections 22(3) and 40 of the TDG Act do provide for a defense of having taken “all reasonable measures” to comply with the Act. “Reasonable measures” would normally include acquiring and maintaining knowledge of the applicable regulations.

Although current enforcement activities are unlikely to result in the incarceration experienced by the misguided soul in Bobby Fuller’s 1966 classic hit, the TDG Act does provide for a range of consequences.

These consequences are represented in the published summaries under the following categories:

  1. Detention (of goods) notices
  2. Direction to remedy (non-compliances)
  3. Direction to “not import” or return DG to the point of origin
  4. Revocation of certificates
  5. Tickets (fines)
  6. Convictions (“guilty in court”)

Initial Offering

The current summary covers 24 enforcement actions from the period December 2014 to April 13, 2017, with the intent to update the list monthly. The list has basic sorting features and, when actions are directed at corporations under consequences d)-f) above, disclose names of the offender. Individuals (non-corporate offenders) are not named.

Of the 24 listings: 11 resulted in detention notices, 6 had tickets (ranging from $575 to $900), 5 were directions to remedy deficiencies and 2 were under stop import/return directions.

4 of the listings disclosed the names of corporations and only was the result of a ticket- i.e. presumably 5 of the tickets were issued to individuals.

The majority of the offences were related to TDGR Part 5 (“means of containment) violations (14), with 6 of these pertaining specifications and general requirements for highway tanks under CSA B-621. Documentation deficiencies were cited in 2 ($615 and $900) of the tickets issued.

Avoiding running afoul of regulations is avoided by obtaining knowledge of the content of the regulations with awareness of how they relate to a company’s or individual’s activities. Maintaining compliance also requires keeping abreast of changes that have a potential effect on the activities.

To consult the enforcement summary page at Transport Canada’s website, click on the link below:

http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/tdg/enforcement-actions-summaries.html

If you have any questions regarding the Transport Canada Enforcement Action Summaries, please contact ICC Compliance Center, Inc. at 1.888.442.9628 (USA) or 1.888.977.4834 (Canada).

PHMSA Penalties Increase

Chemical Drums Disposal

Enforcement of Hazardous Materials Program Procedures

Many have heard the phrase, “money makes the world go around”. The phrase was made popular by the stage and film show “Cabaret”. In fact, that phrase is the name of one of the songs in the show. For a snippet of the song featuring Liza Minnelli, listen here.

What does this phrase have to do with the US transport regulations you may ask? It comes down to a particular section of 49 CFR. In Subpart D of Part 107 Hazardous Materials Program Procedures is a section entitled “Enforcement”. Within that subpart are the possible penalties a company could be assessed for violations to the requirements of 49 CFR. In particular, take a look at Sections §107.329 regarding the maximum civil penalties which could be assessed to a company.

Maximum Penalties Increase

Here’s where things get tricky. Anyone working with these regulations is familiar with the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015.  Quite a mouthful, I know. This act basically requires federal agencies to adjust civil penalties each year to account for inflation. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is a federal agency. As such, on April 19, 2017, those penalties increased. Per the announcement:

The maximum civil penalty for a knowing violation is now $78,376, except that the maximum civil penalty is $182,877 for a violation that results in death, serious illness, or severe injury to any person or substantial destruction of property.

Also, there was an increase to the minimum penalty for violations related to training. The new value is now $471. To see the full ruling in PDF form, go here. These new penalties are effective immediately.

Why is this tricky? If you have the hardbound/paper copy of the regulations published in March of 2017 – it won’t have these increased penalties in it. If you use the electronic Code of Federal Regulations the changes are there.

So, take note! Things change fast in this world and you have to stay aware. For help with all of your regulatory needs including training contact ICC Compliance Center today.

Amazon: Hazmat Violations Lead to Hefty Fines

Pulled over by police officer

Violations & Fines

We have all had this experience: We are driving in our car on a long stretch of highway or a small suburban road and it happens.

We notice a flashing light in our rear view mirrors and we are pulled over by a friendly neighborhood member of law enforcement.

As you go into a brief moment of anger and confusion, you realize most likely this is going to result in a hit to your pocketbook. As the old saying goes, “You do the crime, you do the time.” In this case it is in the form of a check or money order. Following the regulations for the transportation of dangerous goods is certainly no exception. The world’s largest internet-based retailer is finding this out. Recently, Amazon has been hit with a $78,000 fine by the FAA for violating its Hazardous Materials Regulations.

When a package containing a highly flammable liquid began leaking en route to its destination, it was found to have no markings or labels and was also missing required paperwork. This incident is just one of numerous shipping violations Amazon has had within the last several years, totaling approximately $872,000 in fines.

UN Packaging New Labels

Penalties Have Become More Severe

Since the ValueJet Disaster in 1996, The FAA has taken a far more aggressive approach in the regulations of dangerous goods resulting in substantial fines for offenders. The FAA can impose up to $75,000 in civil penalties for each violation of hazardous-materials regulations and up to $175,000 for severe injury, illness, death or property damage. Clearly violations of hazardous material regulations can leave your company, whether it’s large or small, at a risk to substantial fines. The best way to reduce this risk is to get your company thoroughly trained in shipping hazardous materials by a reputable company.


For training and other information on how ICC can help you remain in compliance with dangerous goods regulations call us at 888.442.9628 (USA) or 888.977.4834 (Canada).

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”.
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What is the Cost of Doing Business Safely?

According to OSHA the Most Frequently Cited Standards


The following were the top 10 most frequently cited standards in fiscal year 2012 (October 1, 2011 through September 30, 2012):

  1. Fall protection, construction (29 CFR 1926.501) [related OSHA Safety and Health Topics page]
  2. Hazard communication standard, general industry (29 CFR 1910.1200) [related OSHA Safety and Health Topics page]
  3. Scaffolding, general requirements, construction (29 CFR 1926.451) [related OSHA Safety and Health Topics page]
  4. Respiratory protection, general industry (29 CFR 1910.134) [related OSHA Safety and Health Topics page]
  5. Continue reading “What is the Cost of Doing Business Safely?”

Federal Railway Administration Adjusts HAZMAT Fines

In a recent Final Rule, The Federal Railway Administration (FRA) has increased or modified its penalties for hazardous materials violations involving rail shipments.

The Final Rule, RIN 2130–ZA11, reflects Title III of Division C of MAP–21(Pub. L. 112–141), the Hazardous Materials Transportation Safety Improvement Act of 2012. This Act revised the maximum and minimum civil penalties for violations of Federal laws regarding hazardous materials transportation. FRA has therefore updated its references to the maximum and minimum civil penalties for hazardous materials violations in its own guidelines.
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PHMSA’s Civil Penalties for 2008

Recently, PHMSA published a listing of the 130 civil penalty cases it closed in the 2008 calendar year. The total dollar amount collected for these violations was over $1.1 million. While I fully support inspections and investigations that lead to penalties for non-compliance, it makes me wonder what the hazmat community can do to save themselves from these costly mistakes.

22 of the 130 cases involved some sort of training violation, usually in addition to other violations. As a trainer, that seems like one of the easiest requirements to comply with, putting that training to use on the job can be trickier. I have always seen training as the best way to make sure you are doing something right, and I imagine it applies to many of these cases, even if there were no training violations involved.

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