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.
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The extensive docket is about 90 pages long, and covers a number of areas for change.
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On July 2, 2014, Transport Canada issued its amendment regarding updating the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (TDG) to reflect recent international standards, and to incorporate some new packaging standards. This amendment is intended to harmonize Canada’s regulations more fully with those used for international shipment, therefore simplifying international transport and improving safety. Please note that is a separate amendment from the one issued at the same time regarding safety marks.
The first thing you’ll notice in this amendment is the table in section 1.3.1, Table of Safety Standards and Safety Requirement Documents, has been extensively revised. Many standard references have been updated to more current versions; one of the most significant updates is the new reference to the Seventeenth Edition (2011) of the UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods. Also, some standards have been deleted, such as CAN/CGSB 43.150, “Performance Packagings for the Transportation of Dangerous Goods,” from the Canadian General Standards Board. Instead, new standards such as Transport Canada Standard TP14850, “Small Containers for Transport of Dangerous Goods, Classes 3, 4, 5, 6.1, 8 and 9” have been added. This will bring in a whole new system for selecting packagings for these classes. Other new standards will introduce UN packaging provisions for portable tanks and rail containers.
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Is the Ball Finally Rolling?
On March 28, 2014, the Government of Canada tabled new legislation intended, among other things, to start the introduction of the Globally Harmonized System for Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). This legislation, included in Bill C-31, proposes amendments to the Hazardous Products Act which will, eventually, allow Health Canada to replace the Controlled Product Regulations (CPR) with a new regulation, the Hazardous Products Regulation (HPR). The CPR, and the HPR intended to replace it, create the main federal part of the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS). The HPR has come to be known as “WHMIS 2.0″, as it replaces the well-known WHMIS labels, symbols and Material Safety Data Sheets for a new, internationally harmonized, style.
As part of the federal government’s Economic Action Plan 2014, Bill C-31 proposes significant amendments to the Hazardous Products Act, including:
- Expanded definitions of terms such as sell, supplier and hazardous waste
- New definitions for “Safety data sheet” (SDS) and “hazardous product”, as used by the GHS, to replace the current definitions for “Material Safety Data Sheets” (MSDS) and “controlled product”
- Specific requirements for products containing asbestos
- Prohibitions against labels or SDSs that contain false or misleading information
- Increased record-keeping requirements, such as keeping documentation on goods obtained from other suppliers, as well as goods sold to Canadian workplaces
- Significant amendments to section 13 and 14, the main sections dealing with supplier obligations to provide labels and SDSs for hazardous products.
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By the end of this year, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will publish the next revision to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG). This revision, to be known as Amendment 37-14, will be optional to comply with starting on January 1, 2015, and will become mandatory on January 1, 2016.
What changes will we expect to see in this new revision? Perhaps not as many as in previous amendments, but there will be a number of significant issues addressed. These include:
- A clarification that lamps and light bulbs are not to be considered dangerous goods
- Significant revisions to the requirements for Class 7 radioactive substances
- Addition of shipping descriptions and packaging instructions for adsorbed gases
- Clarifications on classifying viscous flammable liquids
- Clarification on the design and dimensions of various marks, such as the marine pollutant and limited quantity markings, as well as the design and dimensions of labels and placards
- The lettering of the OVERPACK marking must be at least 12 mm high (Mandatory January 1, 2016)
The Dangerous Goods List, Chapter 3.2, will be altered by dividing column 16 (Stowage and segregation) in two, creating column 16a, Stowage, and 16b, Segregation. Codes for appropriate stowage and segregation will be assigned for each shipping description (these codes will be explained in Chapter 7.2).
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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.
The principle points behind this amendment are:
- Several new standards must be introduced in order to enhance compliance with the UN Recommendations in their current form. This means including standards for packagings such as cylinders (which currently have a TC (Transport Canada) specification), and UN-specification portable tanks. This will ensure that Canadians are using the most harmonized, as well as the most modern, packaging standards.
- A number of the existing standards referenced in TDG are not referenced in the most current version. For example, the current regulation has a reference for CSA Standard B339-08, “Cylinders, spheres, and tubes for the transportation of dangerous goods”, last amended in February 2005. The amendment will update this reference to the version published in March 2008.
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