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A Reminder – US Shipping Description Changes Becoming Mandatory for 2013

by Barbara Foster on November 15, 2012 at 11:57 am · in Barbara's Blog, Industry News, Regulations, Uncategorized

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.
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PHMSA Issues ANPRM on “Reverse Logistics”

by Barbara Foster on July 23, 2012 at 8:00 am · in Barbara's Blog, Industry News, Regulations

How many times have you gotten something home from a store, and then decided it had to go back? Returns by customers, which then have to be returned by the store to distribution centers, are a fact of life for retailers today, enough that the process has its own name – “reverse logistics”. And while it’s easy enough to do for DVDs or clothing, if the returned product is a hazardous material, it can become a regulatory nightmare. Therefore, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has announced an Advanced Notification of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) to study how this process should be regulated in the United States.

Nowadays, many consumer products contain hazardous materials – not just obvious chemicals, such as paints and cleaning products, but battery-powered electronics such as cellphones, and engine-driven equipment such as lawnmowers and snowblowers. Unfortunately, staff receiving the returned material at stores may not be trained in the proper way to handle and prepare hazardous materials.

For example, if a can of flammable paint or a broken mp3 player is returned to a store, the employees must (1) identify it as hazardous, (2) repackage it as a hazardous material, and (3) provide appropriate hazard communication, such as package labels and shipping documents. To make matters even more complicated, the “Consumer Commodity (ORM-D)” provisions that allowed many such products to be transported easily are being phased out. While the “Limited Quantity” provisions that are replacing consumer commodities also provide relief from most requirements, store personnel will have be retrained to understand the new system.
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IATA Stresses Backing for Use of Biofuels

by ICC Compliance Center on June 19, 2012 at 8:00 am · in Industry News, Products

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is asking governments to support the development of biofuels to ensure the emerging industry is a staple supplier for air travel and help to reduce carbon emissions.

The group’s annual general meeting in Beijing is this week (June 11-15, 2012) and IATA chief executive Tony Tyler said that airlines have undertaken many flights using such fuels, but supply is low and cost is prohibitively high.

As such, governments need to adopt policies to help support the commercialization of biofuels to “bring up the volume and bring down the price,” Tyler said, according to Businessweek.

The conference is even devoting a panel discussing the topic of the commercialization of biofuels. The IATA represents 240 airlines including American Airlines and British Airways. Its members comprise 84 percent of global air traffic.

The low carbon fuel is seen as a potential way for the airline industry to halt its spiraling emissions totals. Although the industry accounts for only 3 percent of global CO2 emissions, it is the fastest growing source of such gasses, Businessweek reports.

Airlines United and Alaska have been taking test flights using biofuels since November. In January, German carrier Lufthansa announced it was ending trials using biofuels to power flights due to a lack of reliable supplies. The trial saw Lufthansa carry out 1,187 biofuel flights between Hamburg and Frankfurt.
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Transport Canada Publishes Proposed Amendment 11

by Barbara Foster on March 19, 2012 at 8:00 am · in Barbara's Blog, Industry News, Regulations

On March 10, 2012, Transport Canada published a proposed amendment to the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (TDGR) in Canada Gazette 1. This amendment, called Amendment 11, will, when finalized, address a number of problematic points in the current TDG System.

The significant changes proposed in Amendment 11 include the following:

  • The definition of “person” will be changed for clarity, and a definition of “organization” will be added. This is to align with the meanings already established in the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act (TDGA), in 2009.
  • Section 1.15, the “150 kg exemption”, is proposed to be changed allow for easier ransport of consumer-type aerosols. The proposed change will allow up to six aerosol containers to be transported in an outer packaging that is not UN specification. This fixes a problem introduced in Amendment 6; the current regulations allow most products transported under these provisions to be transported in non-standardized packaging, but does not exempt Class 2 materials. This was aimed at requiring cylinders to be tested and certified, but aerosols were not given an exception for their outer packagings. Companies that use section 1.15 to transport small, consumer-type aerosols are currently required to obtain a permit that exempts them from this requirement.
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Ontario Ministry of Labour Initiates February Safety Blitz

by Barbara Foster on February 13, 2012 at 8:00 am · in Announcements, Barbara's Blog, Industry News, Regulations

The Ontario Ministry of Labour (MOL) has announced that it will be conducting a blitz program of inspections targeting Ontario workplaces, concentrating on materials handling. The blitz will last throughout the month of February.

“Materials handling” includes common actions such as lifting, setting down, carrying, pushing or pulling materials. (Note that this is not restricted to hazardous materials; materials such as brick, stone and earth would also be covered.) The main concern of the Ministry is that improper handling of materials can result in musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). MSDs cover damage to soft tissues, such as muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves and other parts of the body that might be strained, torn, irritated or otherwise damaged.

The stakes are high – the Ministry estimates that more than 40 per cent of Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) claims, as well as lost time due to injuries, are caused by MSDs. Therefore, inspectors (sometimes accompanied by ergonomists) will be visiting Ontario workplaces to ensure that workers are able to minimize these risks.

The blitz will concentrate on the following types of workplaces:
• construction;
• healthcare;
• mining; and
• industrial establishments.
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