Health Canada has released an overview of proposed amendments that will introduce the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) into Canada. These amendments are intended to align the Workplace Hazardous Materials System (WHMIS) with the United States version of the GHS, known as Hazcom 2012 in the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). The announcement can be found on Health Canada’s website, at http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/consult/_2013/ghs-sgh/amendments-modifications-eng.php.
In this overview, considered a “prepublication” (that is, not officially published in the Canada Gazette at this point), Health Canada lays out the major areas in that will change. Note that these changes may require amendments to a number of regulations, such as the Controlled Product Regulations (CPR), the Consumer Chemicals and Containers Regulations (CCCR), the Hazardous Materials Information Review Act and Regulations (HMIRA and HMIRR), and the Food and Drug Regulations (FDR).
The current Controlled Products Regulations will be replaced with a new regulation called the Hazardous Products Regulations, or HPR. These will continue to cover workplace chemicals; presumably, GHS will not be extended to consumer products until the CCCR are amended as appropriate.
The major areas where changes will occur are:
Classification of hazardous products;
Labelling of hazardous products;
Preparation of Safety Data Sheets (SDSs), previously known as Material Safety Data Sheets;
Exemptions (full or partial) from the regulations.
In general, it appears Health Canada is attempting to keep the classification system consistent with OSHA. However, there are a number of differences noted, such as:
OSHA has a group of hazards known as “Hazards Not Otherwise Classified”, or HNOCs. There is no set definition of this term, which is used to capture hazards that are apparent in the use of a product, but not covered by the GHS system. Health Canada comments “[t]he criminal law framework of Canadian legislation and regulations for workplace hazardous chemicals does not provide the latitude to require the classification of a substance without specifying the criteria by which a supplier must determine whether the substance is classified.” Therefore, Health Canada will have to provide a specific definition in the regulations as to what a HNOC really is.
GHS and Hazcom 2012 do not cover Biohazardous Infectious Substances, as covered currently in the CPR. However, Health Canada has decided to maintain them as a type of health hazard in the HPR.
2. Labelling of Hazardous Products
Health Canada proposes to align the HPR with OSHA’s Hazcom 2012 with regards to label requirements in most areas.
Differences will appear for the following:
Carcinogenicity – as opposed to Hazcom 2012, carcinogens in all categories will have to be identified (and a label warning given) at concentrations of 0.1% or higher.
Physical and Health Hazards Not Otherwise Specified – Since these are considered to be serious workplace hazards, Health Canada has assigned specific pictograms and statements for these, as well as the signal word “DANGER”.
Biohazardous Infectious Materials – the CPR will maintain the current WHMIS symbol (the biohazard symbol in a black circle), with the signal word “DANGER” and assigned warning phrases.
Information on the label will still have to be provided in both French and English, according to the Official Languages Act.
The requirement to label fully even very small containers has already caused concern in the US under Hazcom 2012, due to the difficulties in printing and attaching labels to such containers. Health Canada proposes to include a provision that, for containers less than 100 millilitres in volume, precautionary statements may be omitted.
3. Safety Data Sheets (SDSs)
Health Canada proposes adopting the 16-heading GHS format for Safety Data Sheets, replacing the current 9-heading format in the CPR. As in Hazcom 2012, sections 12 to 15 (which cover environmental and other regulations not directly controlled by Health Canada) will be optional and not enforced.
Some important provisions are:
Biohazards will have their own specific format, covered by an appendix to the HPR.
SDSs will still have to be provided, as requested by the user, in both official languages.
SDSs will not have to be updated on a fixed 3-year schedule; however, they must be accurate “at the time of sale or import”.
Due to the necessity of harmonizing with GHS and Hazcom 2012, Health Canada explains “some of the current exemptions [in the CPR] would be removed, some would be retained without modification (other than amendments required as a consequence of other amendments), some would be retained with modification, and a few new exemptions would be created….”
Significant changes proposed include:
Elimination of the specific exemption for flavours and fragrances.
The exemption for a generic SDS would be removed, but Health Canada says “it would be allowed by policy”.
The current labelling exemption for “bulk products” would be extended to products sold without packaging of any sort, since labelling information will now automatically be included on the SDS.
The exemptions for confidential business information, as provided by the HMIRA and HMIRR, will be kept.
Specific exemptions for radioactive and biohazardous materials will be provided.
Exemptions for laboratory samples will now include the concept of “bailed” product – that is, “a product in relation to which there is a transfer of possession but not ownership; for example a laboratory sample sent for analysis or a product provided to a third party for processing.”
These changes will usher in a new era of WHMIS in Canada. As we have seen in the United States, there may be many unforeseen complications when switching systems so completely. Therefore, Health Canada has requested stakeholders to provide early comments and input as soon as possible. The deadline for these comments on the “prepublication” version is September 15, 2013; of course, further comments may be made upon publication in Canada Gazette I.
Comments and questions for Health Canada should be directed to:
Just like the rest of society, the transportation industry is not immune to scammers trying to help themselves to some unearned cash. And in the days of e-commerce, it’s getting even easier.
Recently, our attention was brought to some scammers fraudulently representing themselves as the International Air Transport Association (IATA). These fraudsters have concocted an e-mail scolding the recipients for not paying for their “Annual Review of Codes,” and threatening that if the deadline for payment is missed, recipients will lose their “assigned IATA airline codes.” They then instruct recipients to obtain a repeat copy of the invoice (which, of course, the targets never received in the first place) from an e-mail address that looks similar, but not quite identical, to the official IATA one.
Of course, if you do not actually run an airline, you may quickly recognize that something is wrong. But the scammers obviously hope that such official-looking invoices may fool some recipients into paying first, and asking questions afterwards.
Here’s what the current scam text looks like. Note, of course, that scammers will frequently change the wording slightly to avoid being pegged as spam.
“Dear IATA Code Holder,
Your company have exceeded the deadline for the Annual Review of Codes. As of this time we still have not received payment for your 2013 Annual Review fees. Please be advised that failure to pay the invoice for your 2013 Annual Review fees which has already exceeded the deadline date will result in the recall of your assigned IATA airline codes.
Should you require an electronic copy of this invoice please advise, and one will be sent to you by e-mail.
If you have made payment already, please provide the full banking details so that we may follow this up with our finance department and locate the payment. Please note any payment recently made, may not have had a chance to be reflected in our accounts.
Please be sure to quote your airline name, and assigned codes. This way it will be clear to us which airline we are dealing with when we receive your e-mail.
Thank You and Best Regards,
MITA/CODING Tel + 514 874 020 Fax + 514 390 677 Accounts@iatapayment.org International Air Transport Association 800, Place Victoria, P.O. Box 113 Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H4Z 1M1″
Here are some of the tipoffs of a scam in this e-mail:
The e-mail is not addressed to a specific individual, department or even a company, despite its attempt to pass itself off as a response to a specific transaction.
The e-mail requests that the recipients identify themselves in the return e-mail, along with “full banking details”. No invoice number is provided; instead, the target is told to ask for another copy.
Minor grammatical errors, such as “your company have”, and unorthodox capitalization of words are a common sign of a scam.
Both the telephone number and fax number are missing their last digit. This reduces the likelihood that the recipient will try to obtain clarification from the real IATA by telephone – this would give the scam away immediately!
Most telling of all is the e-mail address and signature. In the e-mail that came to our attention, the name of a real IATA employee was used. However, the e-mail address and digital signature are not those of IATA.
All official IATA e-mails use the “@iata.org” domain.
Every outgoing e-mail from “@iata.org” has a digital signature with a certificate issued by GlobalSign, a trusted digital certificate authority. This digital signature allows you to verify the authenticity of the e-mail and that it is from IATA.
An authentic IATA invoice or an IATA payment reminder will never request settlement payment into a non-IATA bank account.
IATA will never ask you to respond to an email address other than “@iata.org”.
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, 2013, that incorporated the new civil penalties. These involve:
Increasing the maximum fine possible from $55,000 up to $75,000, for knowingly violating the law;
Revising the maximum penalty from $110,000 to $175,000 , for knowingly violation the law in a way that results in “death, serious illness or severe injury” to a person, or which causes substantial destruction of property; and
Eliminating the minimum civil penalty amount, since most fines are well over the previous set minimum of $250. However, a minimum penalty will be retained for training violations, now to be set at $450.
The updated sections of the HMR include:
§ 107.329, Maximum penalties,
Appendix A to Subpart D of Part 107 – Guidelines for Civil Penalties, and
§ 171.1, Applicability of Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) to persons and functions.
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.
In Part 209 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (49 CFR), the FRA has made the following changes:
The maximum civil penalty has been increased to $75,000 from $50,000 for “knowing violations” of any requirement of a Federal hazardous materials transportation law. This also applies to violations regarding orders, special permits or approvals issued by the DOT.
The maximum fine has been increased from $100,000 to $175,000 if the violation results in death, serious illness or severe injury to any person, or substantial destruction of property.
The minimum civil penalty of $250 was eliminated. However, a minimum civil penalty of $450 was retained for violations regarding training.
The amendments under the Hazardous Materials Transportation Safety Improvement Act of 2012 became effective on October 1, 2012. FRA will use the new set of fines for violations that have occurred from that date onwards.
We’ve turned our clocks backwards, started our holiday preparations, and maybe even bought new calendars for 2013. But there’s one other thing that should be on our minds for the New Year, at least for shippers in the United States. We must make sure that our shipping descriptions are in order.
In 2006, a Final Rule, Docket No. PHMSA–06–25476, known as HM-215I, was issued by the Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). The goal of this rule was to bring the US Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (49 CFR) into line with the current UN Recommendations for Transport of Dangerous Goods. One major change was that the shipping description order, as described in 49 CFR section 172.202(a), would be rearranged to reflect the international standard.
Originally, the shipping description order was prescribed as:
Shipping name, hazard class, identification number and packing group (if applicable)
However, HM-215I changed this order to:
Identification number, shipping name, hazard class, and packing group (if applicable)
PHMSA recognized that making this change would take some time, and granted a six-year transition period. After all, making this change would include retraining workers who prepare or read shipping papers, reprogramming computerized document systems, and rewriting standard operating procedures regarding shipping papers. However, the transition period is reaching its end. Starting on January 1, 2013, shipping papers must be in the “identification number first” order.
Note that this change should not affect Canadian shipments to the United States. Under Canada’s Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (TDG), the shipping description may be given in either order – the shipping name first, or identification number first. Under the reciprocity provisions of 49 CFR sections 171.12 and 171.22, either order should be acceptable for a Canadian shipment into the United States.
If you have questions about how this change will affect your operations, please contact ICC The Compliance Center Inc. at 1-888-977-4834 (Canada) or 1-888-442-9628 (USA).