Toxic
The Zika Virus — Public Health Crisis and Regulatory Puzzle

Zika virus – the name itself sounds exotic and dangerous. It is believed to be a serious risk for pregnant women. And it’s due to arrive in North America. Just how great a danger is this virus, and how should research and medical facilities prepare for the regulatory burden?

First of all, Zika is not a new virus. It has been known since the 1950s in equatorial Africa and Asia, but only recently has it appeared to migrate to new territories, including South and Central America, the Caribbean and Mexico. It is primarily a mosquito-borne illness, transmitted by the Aedes genus of mosquitos. Possibly climate change has increased the populations of these mosquitos in the areas where Zika is spreading. Aedes mosquitos are found in some parts of the U.S., and although they are not currently believed to be in Canada, they may spread as the climate warms. Person-to-person transmission by body fluids is possible, but this would be relatively rare compared to the mosquito vector.

Zika is classed in the Flaviviridae family of viruses, along with dengue fever, West Nile virus and the notoriously dangerous yellow fever. However, compared to these, Zika is usually a mild affliction. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), only one in five persons infected with the virus shows any symptoms at all. For those who do fall ill, the symptoms Continue Reading…

IMDG
IMDG Code, 2014 Edition Erratum & Corrigenda II

December 2015 Errata and Corrigenda

IMDG issued an Erratum for “IMDG Code, 2014 Edition“. They have provided a link to customers to be able to download (PDF) and print it. Customers who purchased the e-reader version can access the erratum using the Internet Update/Check for Content Update function on The IMO Bookshelf. Customers who purchased the CD, electronic download and internet subscription versions need no correction.

Overpack Label
“OVERPACK” Markings – Overdone?

The Issue

The formalization of the overpack concept into the Canadian TDG regulations has been the subject of concern for domestic shippers of dangerous goods due to the wording for fully regulated (TDGR 4.10.1) products. The wording implies that even when the DG safety marks for packages within the overpack are visible, the overpack must still have an “OVERPACK” mark displayed. This leads to some additional labelling requirements, particularly for shippers of stretch-wrapped pallet loads.

Definition

We’ll pause to review the concept of an overpack, consistent among the various regulations (e.g. TDG, UN Model Recommendations, IMDG, IATA, & 49 CFR).
An overpack is non-standardized packaging that:

  1. Is used for handling convenience (e.g. to reduce multiple handling- I.e. 4 drums on a skid, allowing loading 4 at once rather than 4 trips, or 6 small containers in a “non-spec” master carton, or 48 small boxes stretch wrapped on a skid; a keg (small drum) in a non-spec box for stability, etc. )
  2. Cannot be used as a replacement for inadequate, required “standardized” packaging
  3. Is to be unopened between consignor and receiver
  4. Cannot interfere with the integrity of the standardized packaging (e.g. banding cutting into boxes on a pallet)

The common principle requires that the description of DG that cannot be seen once the overpack is in place will be reproduced on the outside of the overpack.

However, this could be misleading in that Continue Reading…

Danger Placard
Remembering Placards

Mnemonic Devices

How do you remember the meaning of something? Do you try to KISS it where KISS stands for – Keep It Simple Silly? Do you use mnemonics from elementary school and even through college to trigger your memory? I do, and boy how they make things easier. I bet you can remember ROY G BIV, the colors of the rainbow from art class. Music class they gave us easy ways to remember the treble clef with Every Good Boy Does Fine for the lines on the staff and FACE for the spaces. One of my favorites however, is PEMDAS to help remember the order of operations in math!

I am always looking for a fun way to help reinforce my memory. In the hazardous transportation industry there are so many things to remember or define. Oh and the acronyms!

What is a Placard?

Let’s take a look at placards. What is a placard? As defined in the Merriam – Webster dictionary a placard is defined as:

a large notice or sign put up in a public place or carried by people

Placards provide pertinent information about an area, a specific instruction, or a hazard. Placards are used in work places to communicate to people of special operating procedures. Placards are also used in transportation to warn of hazards that are present in a truck on the road, in a rail Continue Reading…

IMDG
IMDG Code, 2014 Edition Erratum

IMDG issued an Erratum for “IMDG Code, 2014 Edition“. There has been a misprint for the Class 7 fissile marking on page 261 of volume 1. They have provided a link to customers to be able to download (PDF) and print it. Customers who purchased the e-reader version can access the erratum using the Internet Update/Check for Content Update function on The IMO Bookshelf. Customers who purchased the CD, electronic download and internet subscription versions need no correction.

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…

Sailing Along – Significant Changes to the IMDG Code 37-14

The next edition of the IMDG Code will soon be available for use in January 2015, becoming mandatory in January 2016. This amendment sees additions (some of which are also incorporated into IATA – see Suzanne’s Blog of August 28th) to the DG list adding UN numbers for adsorbed gases and capacitors; and re-naming air bag modules/seat belt pretensioners to “Safety Devices”.

The latter will have 2 designations: “electrically initiated”, UN3268 (Class 9); or “pyrotechnic”, UN0503 (Class 1.4) depending on the classification. Parts 1, 2, 4 & 6 update Class 7 requirements for radioactive materials. These additions and changes require a series of modifications to the other parts of the Code.

The GHS reference has been updated to the 5th edition and the revised CSC International Convention for Safe Containers (including criteria for taking units out-of-service) has been added to the General Provisions in Part 1.

Column 16 in Part 3 (“the DG list”) has been split into “a)” and “b)” with the addition of new provisions in Part 7, to list codes and for stowage (“SWxx”- 7.1.5)/ handling (“Hxx” – 7.1.6) and Segregation (“SGxx” – 7.2.8) respectively. This modified system also results in a series of consequential changes throughout the other sections.

Required training for shipping DG by sea »

As expected, there is an exemption for Marine Pollutants in quantities of 5L/5kg, or less, net per package or inner Continue Reading…

PHMSA Issues NPRM HM-215M for Harmonization with International Standards

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has been committed to ensuring that the domestic Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) are kept current with international standards. Since these standards are updated at the United Nations (UN) level every two years, this requires frequent amendments. The latest round of amendments has been started with the issue of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on August 25.

The NPRM has been issued by DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) as Docket Nos. PHMSA-2013-0260, HM-215M. It contains revisions necessary for harmonization with the UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, the ICAO Technical Instructions for Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air, and the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG). The comment period is until October 24, 2014. PHMSA’s goal is to ensure harmonization with the above regulations for the 2015-2016 biennium.

You can follow the links at the bottom of this article to read the proposed rulemaking or comment on it at the Federal Rulemaking Portal.

Shipping Hazardous Materials by Ground in the USA certification »

The extensive docket is about 90 pages long, and covers a number of areas for change.

HMR Significant Updates HM-215M:

  • Marine pollutants – the NPRM would exempt packages of small packages of marine pollutants (up to 5 Liters or 5 kilograms) from the HMR, due to the low risk for these goods in transport. Also, Chlorotoluenes will Continue Reading…
PHMSA Modifies HMR Lithium Battery Provision

PHMSA modifies HMR Lithium Battery Provision — Harmonizing with UN Model Regulations, IATA, and IMDG Provisions

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has issued a final rule establishing new standards for air cargo shipments of various types of lithium batteries, including packaging requirements and safeguards for power cells that have been damaged or are headed for recycling.

PHMSA, in conjunction with the FAA, is modifying the HMR regarding the transportation of lithium batteries. These changes with help to ensure that battery shipments are able to withstand transport conditions and are packaged properly to reduce the possibility of damage while in transit.

The intent of the rule making is to strengthen the current regulatory framework by imposing more effective safeguards, including design testing to address risks related to internal short circuits, and enhanced packaging, hazard communication, and operational measures for various types and sizes of lithium batteries in specific transportation contexts. The rulemaking would respond to several recommendations issued by the National Transportation Safety Board.

The final rule is expected be published in the Federal Register sometime in the next 10 business days. According to DOT, voluntary compliance is encouraged when the final rule is published, but compliance is mandatory beginning six months after publication, around in February, 2015.

The final rule will:

  • Enhance packaging and hazard communication requirements for lithium batteries transported by air
  • Replace equivalent lithium content with Continue Reading…
IMDG Code Updates

Amendment 36-12 of IMDG code finalized
Just in time for the Holidays

The IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee has adopted Resolution MSC.328(90) finalizing Amendment 36-12 which updates the Volumes 1 and 2 of the 2012 IMDG version. These changes become mandatory January 1, 2014. Implementations can be made in part or in whole on a voluntary basis from January 1, 2013 thru December 31, 2013. Amendment 36-12 includes revisions, and additions required for shipping specific substances. In particular, Part 7- Transport Operations has the most substantial changes.

Some of the key changes are as follows:

  • Stowage and segregation provisions including rules separating Cargo Transport Units (CTU) and Vessel Types (7.3, 7.4, 7.5, 7.6, and 7.7)
  • Foodstuffs segregation rules have eliminated the categories “away from” and “separated from” and now have specific storage distance requirements (3.0 meters) when Class 8 or Class 6.1 substances are being transported in the same CTU. (1.2.1)
  • Keep away from heat has now been changed to “Protected from sources of heat” (7.1.2). Specifically this indicates a distance of 2.4 meters away from heated ship structures.  Also there is mention of protecting CTU’s stored on deck, from direct sunlight requiring them to be shaded.

10 new UN Numbers have been added to the Dangerous Good List and include:

  • UN 3498 Iodine Monochloride Liquid (a red liquid that reacts violently with water)
  • UN 3499 Capacitor (articles intended to store electrical energy)
  • 6 new substances under UN Continue Reading…