On June 1, 2016, Transport Canada issued an amendment to the “Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations” (TDG) under the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act. This amendment substantially revises the requirements for reporting spills of dangerous goods during transportation. It also addresses changes to air shipment of lithium ion batteries and makes various minor corrections and changes. The “Reporting Requirements and International Restrictions on Lithium Batteries Amendment” reflects concerns that the previous requirements for reporting spills, called “accidental releases,” was inefficient and didn’t allow the reporting parties to evaluate the risk to the public when deciding if a release had to be reported.
On April 28, 2016, Transport Canada issued its latest Protective Direction. This Direction, number 36, will replace a previous one, Protective Direction 32, with more detailed instructions for rail carriers.
Protective Directions are rules that are not included in Canada’s Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (TDG). Instead, they are announced by Transport Canada, and are published on their website. Usually, these directives are used when Transport Canada believes it’s important to bring in a new rule quickly in order to protect the public. Since amending the regulations can take months or longer, Part 13 of TDG allows them to use this method to respond to important issues with appropriate speed.
Protective Direction 36 requires Canadian Class I rail carriers to either publish information on the carrier’s website, or provide information to designated Emergency Planning Officials (EPOs) of each jurisdiction through which the carrier transports dangerous goods. This information includes:
- Aggregate information on the nature and volume of dangerous goods that the rail carrier transported by railway car through the last calendar year (broken down by quarter);
- The number of unit trains loaded with dangerous goods operated in the jurisdiction in the last year (again, broken down by quarter); and
- The percentage of railway cars carrying dangerous goods that were operated by the rail carrier through the jurisdiction in the last calendar year.
Rail carriers transporting dangerous goods by railway car in a province must, by March 15 of the following year, publish on its website a report in both official languages detailing the dangerous goods shipments, including the percentage of cars that were loaded with dangerous goods, the top ten dangerous goods carried, the percentage of these top ten goods as part of the dangerous goods transported in this province, and the percentage of all residual dangerous goods on the total dangerous goods transported in that province.
Further details are given in the Protective Direction about how the rail carrier must communicate with the designated Emergency Planning Official in each jurisdiction, and how they must provide information to the agency CANUTEC to improve communication during accidents.
Protective Direction 36 replaces the earlier Protective Direction 32, and takes effect on April 28, 2016, the day it was issued. The full text of the Direction can be found at http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/tdg/safety-menu-1281.html.
Do you have any further questions about Protective Directions? Contact ICC Compliance Center here at 888-442-9628 (U.S.) or 888-977-4834 (Canada), and ask for one of our regulatory specialists.
A public notice has been posted by Transport Canada. The info is below:
The Transportation of Dangerous Goods Directorate will begin work on updating the Transport Canada Standard TP14877, “Containers for Transport of Dangerous Goods by Rail”, December 2013. The standard covers large means of containment used in the handling, offering for transport and transporting of dangerous goods by rail. The update will focus on incorporating recent regulatory changes and proposals that have been consulted with the TP14877 Consultative Committee. The TP14877 Consultative Committee is comprised of various key stakeholders with extensive knowledge and expertise in regards to various aspects associated to the transportation of dangerous goods by rail.
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 are described as flu-like: fever, joint and muscle pain, inflammation of the eyes (conjunctivitis) and a rash. Although there is no cure, and the virus does not respond to antibiotics, the infection normally resolves without treatment within a week. Fatalities are extremely rare. In other words, Zika is, for most people, a mildly unpleasant illness that they recover from quickly. Even better, exposure to Zika usually results in lasting immunity.
So, why has Zika become such a big issue in public health? While most people only become mildly ill when infected with Zika, the infection appears to be correlated to increases in two much more serious conditions: the neurological condition called Guillain-Barré syndrome (which can be triggered by a number of infections), and most tragically, the birth defect called microcephaly.
Microcephaly is a condition where a baby’s head is smaller than normal, and often includes abnormal brain development. The CDC indicates “problems can range from mild to severe and are often lifelong. In some cases, these problems can be life-threatening.”
It should be noted that we don’t yet have a conclusive linking of Zika to microcephaly, but some relatively strong evidence has been gathered. There appears to be a statistical increase in microcephaly in the children of mothers infected by Zika, as well as evidence that the virus can pass the placental barrier. The virus has been found in the brains of affected infants. So, it seems at least plausible that there is connection between the condition and exposure to the virus during fetal development. We don’t yet know just how likely the condition will be if the mother is infected with the virus, and we don’t know if it can occur at any stage in fetal development, or if there is only a short window of time for the defect to arise.
It would appear, therefore, that the main public health issue is the risk to developing fetuses. This is not a new problem; pathogens such as those responsible for rubella (German measles) and toxoplasmosis are also known to cause serious birth defects. But Zika has gathered headlines due to its fast spread, its previously unknown status to the public, and the difficulty in avoiding exposure to mosquitos if you live in an area where the disease is prevalent.
Based on mosquito distribution, it’s likely that Zika will obtain at least a foothold into the United States. Canada may be at less risk due to its colder climate, but there is a possibility of spread as global temperatures warm. The CDC and Health Canada have put out advisories to help people protect themselves from exposure to the virus. But medical facilities and laboratories must also take steps to prepare for Zika’s arrival, from preparing the infrastructure to send samples for analysis and diagnosis, to disposing of contaminated linens.
The first step in transporting infectious substances is to classify it according to either the U.S. “Hazardous Materials Regulations” of 49 CFR, or Canada’s “Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations”. Although many disease organisms have accepted classifications established for them (such as those found in the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations), Zika virus is so new to North America that there has not yet been an official classification assigned.
Pathogens fall under two categories. Category A is used for organisms that are “transported in a form that, when exposure to it occurs, is capable of causing permanent disability, life-threatening or fatal disease in otherwise healthy humans or animals.” Pathogens that do not meet that criteria will be classed as Category B, less hazardous.
Although it is not immediately dangerous to the person affected, Zika is capable of causing permanent disability (birth defects) or life-threatening conditions (Guillain-Barré syndrome). However, it is not likely to cause these effects simply from a spill in transportation – it appears that direct blood contact is necessary to contract the disease. Unless the Department of Transportation or Transport Canada make an official determination of the appropriate category, as they did in the SARS outbreak, the decision will be the shipper’s, and should be guided by medical or scientific personnel. It may be noted that many other viruses in the Flaviviridae family have a split classification; they are placed in Category A when transported as a culture (artificially propagated to increase the virus concentration), but Category B when transported in samples in their natural state, such as blood or other body fluids.
Once the classification has been determined, packaging must be selected for Category A or B as appropriate. Obviously, the highly dangerous Category A organisms will require a much more secure packaging, one which must be approved to a standard created by the United Nations. Category B packages do not have to meet UN specification, but they must follow the regulations for construction and use. Note that ICC Compliance Center can provide packagings for various needs, from shipping small samples to disposing of contaminated linens as hazardous waste.
Once assembled, you must identify the package as containing Category A or B substances with the appropriate safety marks and labels. Note that Category B substances do not have to show the Class 6.2 label, but must show a diamond with the applicable UN number, UN3373, in the center. Category A pathogens will require full dangerous goods shipping papers. Most regulations exempt Category B from some or all of the shipping paper requirements. While placards are not required for Class 6.2 materials under the “Hazardous Materials Regulations” in the U.S., Canada does require placards if the shipment exceeds 500 kilograms or is subject to an Emergency Response Assistance Plan (ERAP). And, of course, personnel performing dangerous goods functions must be trained and certified in the appropriate regulations.
If you intend to ship pathogens outside your own country (for example, for international research efforts), remember that exporting and importing of infectious substances will involve additional regulations, such as the CDC’s Import Permit Program.
Do you have questions about how to transport infectious substances? Need labels, packaging or other supplies for such shipments? Contact ICC Compliance Center here at 888-442-9628 (U.S.) or 888-977-4834 (Canada), and ask for one of our regulatory specialists.
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 if the total of all dangerous goods on board does not exceed 500 kilograms. Although section 1.16 itself does not mention it directly, Transport Canada has reportedly interpreted that this quantity would include limited quantities under section 1.17, and other exempted goods. So, if you have 300 kilograms of regulated material, and 400 kilograms of limited quantities on board, you could not use this exemption.
Package size is restricted to no more than 30 kilograms for classes other than class 2. Packaging for liquids and solids does not have to be UN specification, but containers of gases must meet the standards set out in Part 5, Means of Containment. Non-specification packaging must be designed, constructed, filled, closed, secured, and maintained so that it will not leak during normal conditions of transport.
Once we check the total weight of shipment, and the weight of the individual packages, we can move on to hazard communication. The packages themselves must be marked and labelled as regular dangerous goods as per Part 4; however, they may alternatively display the labels required by regulations under either the Hazardous Products Act or the Pest Control Product Act. This would allow packages not to show TDG marks and labels if a WHMIS label or a “Pest Control Product Regulation” label can be seen on the outside.
Note that when this section was first written, labels for hazardous consumer products would also be acceptable, since the “Consumer Chemicals and Containers Regulations” (CCCR 2001) came under the Hazardous Products Act. However, the CCCR 2001 was afterwards moved to the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act. Transport Canada has never updated section 1.16 to address this, so consumer labels should not be used as a way of satisfying section 1.16.
Next we come to shipping document requirements. Here’s where the exemption still gives some useful relief; instead of a normal shipping document, with its many requirements, the shipping paper under the 500 kilogram exemption merely needs to include the class of dangerous goods, and the number of means of containment for that class. The wording for this is given specifically as “Class X, number of means of containment Y.” The regulation gives an example of a shipment with ten packages of Class 3, and twelve packages of Class 8, as follows:
Class 3, number of means of containment, 10
Class 8, number of means of containment, 12
Other requirements, such as total weight on board and the date of shipment, do not apply. This makes it useful, for example, for goods such as work supplies that are kept permanently on a vehicle, but do not qualify for other exemptions. The document can be written up for the standard quantity of supplies, and left in the vehicle permanently.
Since the shipment is exempted from all of Part 4, Dangerous Goods Safety Marks, placards are not required, even if the load contains goods that would require placarding for any amount.
Not all types of dangerous goods can be transported under this exemption. Section 1.16(2) lists various classes of goods which cannot use this exemption. This includes most explosives (except for those in Class 1.4S), radioactives, infectious substances, toxic gases and liquid toxic materials in Packing Group I, Class 4.2 or 4.3 materials in Packing Group I, Class 2.1 gases if in cylinders exceeding 46 Litres, and Class 5.2 materials that are not allowed to be transported as limited quantities. Also, any material that requires an Emergency Response Assistance Plan (ERAP) or which requires control and emergency temperatures cannot be shipped under these provisions.
To sum up, this is an oddly specific set of conditions for an exemption, which can probably be traced back to its origin as a permit designed for a specific situation. Furthermore, some of the benefits of using it have been removed over time. But if you’re looking for a way, for example, to put several 20 Litre pails of paint in a vehicle, this would remove the requirement for you to use UN specification packaging, or to complete a full shipping document. You wouldn’t even need to put TDG labels on the pails, if they displayed WHMIS labels. For some shippers, these benefits still make section 1.16 worth using.
Remember, of course, that simply because your shipment totals less than 500 kilograms, you do not have to use these provisions; like most exemptions, section 1.16 is optional.
Do you have any questions about this or other exemptions in the TDG Regulations? Contact ICC Compliance Center here at 888-442-9628 (U.S.) or 888-977-4834 (Canada), and ask for one of our regulatory specialists. We can help you find the easiest and most efficient method to ship your goods.
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.
Continue reading “TDG Amendments Takes Effect”
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.
Continue reading “Transport Canada Unveils Proposed Amendment to Safety Standards”
So, you want to bend the rules? What happens when you have a scenario where following the regulations to ship your dangerous goods becomes impractical to the point of impossibility?
This blog entry will speak to what the process is for applying for an Equivalency Certificate in Canada as per the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Clear Language Regulations.
Generally when people ship dangerous goods, the process becomes a matter of reading and complying with everything the regulations state. However, below are some scenarios where following exactly what the regulations state is… shall we say… less than ideal.
Continue reading “Applying for an Equivalency Certificate in Canada”
Transport Canada has posted a bulletin for shipping infectious substances (RDIMS#8210418).
In the overview, Transport Canada reviews what an infectious substance is: anything that is known or reasonably believed to cause disease in humans or animals. This substance can be in blood, body fluids, body parts, organs, tissue or cultures. The responsibility of the consignor is to: train, classify, package, mark/label, document, placard and have an ERAP in place, if necessary. In addition to the definition found in section 1.4 of TDG (Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations), the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has regulations that apply to lab safety and the import of human pathogens into Canada. Please keep in mind that provincial governments may have additional regulations in place.
Continue reading “Shipping Infectious Substances – TDG”
Transport Canada published in Canada Gazette, Part I, the amendment titled “Part 4 Dangerous Goods Safety Marks”. Notable changes include:
- introduction of overpacks
- modifications to the use of the DANGER placard
- introduction of new safety marks (3)
- new proposal for placarding large means of containment
Let’s start with the overpacks. Currently under TDG, overpacks are not recognized although they are being used. And this is causing enforcement issues. TC considers an overpack to be a large means of containment. The definition for overpacks will be added to section 1.4 of TDG. Safety marks for overpacks is covered in section 4.10.1. As part of this section, when the overpack has a capacity ≥ 1.8 m3, then safety marks must appear on two opposite sides of the overpack.
Continue reading “Part 4 Dangerous Goods Safety Marks Amendment”