The extent and complexity that shippers of dangerous goods have to face was amply demonstrated by the breadth of presentations at last year's DGAC annual conference
The primary aim of the Dangerous Goods Advisory Council’s (DGAC) annual conference and exhibition may be to keep attendees up to speed with regulatory developments and the technical services on show, but it also acts as a meeting point for professionals in the industry. So it was, then, that more than 200 of those professionals turned up to the Hotel Albuquerque in New Mexico this past 2 to 4 November, not just to hear from and meet some senior regulators but also to catch up with old friends and make some new ones.
The first part of this two-part report on the meeting (HCB Monthly March 2016, page 87) covered presentations by some US regulators and other expert speakers. We left that report with John Carter of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), who handed over to his colleague Angel Collaku, manager of the Compliance and Enforcement Division, who gave some interesting statistics on inspection and enforcement activities and looked in particular at incidents involving lithium batteries.
Since March 2004, Angel said, FAA has initiated 112 cases relating to lithium batteries, of which 89 related to shippers. Of those, 11 are currently open. Most cases come to FAA because an incident has occurred, he said – implying that there are plenty of other non-compliant shipments that fail to come to light. The main problem for FAA is that the universe of lithium battery shippers is almost infinite, which makes outreach difficult.
RIGHT AND WRONG
Angel also introduced delegates to a new compliance philosophy, as laid out in FAA Order 8000.373. This recognises that most cases of non-compliance result from poor training, bad procedures or ignorance – in other words, errors. That means they can be corrected. It follows that enforcement should address the root causes and not just levy penalties.
That new enforcement programme is laid down in a modification to FAA Order 2150.3B. It has been developed over the past few years through risk-based decision-making groups and enshrines FAA’s core beliefs on oversight and compliance. In particular, Angel explained, it looks at outcomes, not processes. “A cycle of violation-penalty-violation-penalty does not fix the safety problem,” he said.
The enforcement programme applies only to certificate holders – i.e. air carriers. Angel pointed out that there are more than 100,000 shippers and it is impossible for FAA to have a relationship with each of them, although he said the approach will be applied to shippers as appropriate.
The second day of the conference began with an interesting presentation by Aaron Montgomery, president of Ouray Environmental Services, who looked at the management of emergency incidents around the world. The level of response is triggered by regulations, human safety and economics, he said. North America and Europe have very good environmental contractors and 99 per cent of operations do not need oversight, he said. However, for a small number of high-hazard incidents and for operations elsewhere in the world some level of expert oversight is necessary.
National approaches to environmental protection vary according to the level of prosperity, Aaron observed. In the US, for instance, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations really kicked in in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Rising levels of income and a growing middle class in other parts of the world is now leading to the development of similar provisions elsewhere.
A former regulator, Bob Richard, now vice-president of regulations and compliance at Labelmaster Services, took a look at packaging damage and asked: what level of damage is acceptable? “The good thing about being a DGAC member is that we can share the pain,” he began. What he was seeking was a consensus as to what counts as “damage” and how to get consistency among airline acceptance staff. A petition for rulemaking might help clarify the issue but, he said, enforcement is uneven and an assessment of “unacceptable” damage is necessarily subjective.
There are inconsistencies between the provisions of the US Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) and those in the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) Technical Instructions and the Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has issued some letters of interpretation on the subject. Clearly a package needs to be able to withstand the “normal conditions” of transport but do small holes in the fibreboard affect a packages ability to do that?
The problem for shippers is that repackaging costs for packages that have been rejected because they have small holes or minor damage are significant and such rejections also delay shipments. Bob showed a series of pictures of damaged packages that had been rejected, asking for a show of hands to get a feeling of whether the audience agreed – there was disagreement over many of them, which only confirmed the subjective nature of the problem.
ANSWER IN YOUR HANDS
DGAC members can play a role in resolving the issue, Bob suggested. They can implement guidance for employees to define acceptable and unacceptable damage; they can address the subject during employee training; they can conduct tests to clarify the types of damage that are of most concern; and they can work through the Council to petition PHMSA and facilitate the development of practical guidance.
There may not have been many in the audience who ship crude oil by rail but a presentation on the subject by Sara Peters, senior associate with King & Spalding, showed how regulatory activity can have wider implications. Incidents involving crude oil and other flammable liquids carried in rail tank cars are low-probability but high-consequence and, after the Lac-Mégantic disaster in July 2013, regulators in the US and Canada issued a number of new measures. There was, though, huge public pressure on PHMSA to rule on tank car design and operations.
In a wide-ranging final rule published in May 2015, PHMSA introduced a number of provisions, including a unique concept in HMR – rules based on train configuration, with definitions for “high hazard flammable trains” (HFFTs) and “high hazard flammable unit trains”. The rule also looked at operational issues such as brakes, routing and speed limits, as well as the characteristics of crude oils.
What the rulemaking failed to address, Sara noted, was the root cause of recent derailments, which are generally related to the track.
The rule does not in fact ban existing DOT-111 tank cars – they will, for example, be able to be used in non-HFFTs. However, Sara said, it is most likely that the railroads will require the new DOT-117 tank cars for all Class 3 products, including those not involved in recent incidents, to avoid unworkable train management. This could lead to demand for the retrofitting or replacement of as many as 40,000 extra tank cars, making the already dubious cost/benefit assessment even worse. Furthermore, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) will require more sampling of crude oils throughout the supply chain, which raises risks to personnel. Part of this is to determine the packing group, even though this has no impact on the key provisions other than the retrofit provisions.
The rulemaking spurred a number of challenges; there are currently six federal court cases in progress and five administrative appeals. On the other side, there is pressure for further regulation, with some seeking an accelerated retrofit schedule.
NEWS FROM GENEVA
After a break for lunch and the presentation of the George L Wilson award to Dave Sonnemann for his lifetime commitment to safety in the transport of dangerous goods, delegates returned to hear about more international matters, beginning with a paper by consultant Paul Brigandi on recent developments in the Globally Harmonised System (GHS) of classification and labelling of chemicals.
The work of the GHS Sub-committee of experts in the 2013-2014 biennium resulted in a new physical hazard class for desensitised explosives, a new hazard category for pyrophoric gases, and some guidance, clarifications and corrections. A small packaging label example was also added.
Of great interest to DGAC members was a new paragraph 22.214.171.124.4 on the use of GHS pictograms in transport:
In transport, a GHS pictogram not required by the UN Model Regulations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods should only appear as part of a complete GHS label (see 126.96.36.199.4.1) and not independently.
The Sub-committee has a large agenda for the 2015-2016 biennium, Paul reported. Work is continuing in a number of areas, including the preparation of a “global list” of chemicals, hazards posed by nanomaterials and dust explosions, and the labelling of small packages. New topics include a review of Chapter 2.1 to develop guidance for workplace storage and handling of explosives, and the classification of flammable gases.
The work of the companion Sub-committee of Experts on the transport of dangerous goods (TDG) over the same period was reported by Aaron Wiener, international transportation specialist at PHMSA. He looked at the work to develop the 19th revised edition of the UN Model Regulations over the previous two years as well as the Sub-committee’s plans for the 2015-2016 biennium.
Regular HCB readers should by now be well aware of the latest round of amendments but Aaron picked out some of the highlights:
- the new Class 9 label/placard for lithium batteries
- new shipping names for fuel in engines and machinery
- provisions for polymerising substances
- testing of polymeric beads
- revised definitions relating to aerosols and gas cylinders, and
- classification of uranium hexafluoride
At the time of the DGAC conference the TDG Sub-committee had only held the first of its four planned meetings for the current biennium, so there was not too much on which to report. Again, those deliberations have been reported in greater length in HCB’s January and February 2016 issues but as a reminder Aaron mentioned the following topics:
- provisions for the transport of solid propellants by air
- classification of desensitised explosives
- alignment of corrosivity classification with GHS, and
- fuel tanks for gas-powered vehicles
Ongoing discussions over the rest of the biennium will address dangerous goods in machinery and apparatus, the classification of flammable gases and, through the working group on explosives, tests and criteria for flash composition. Eagle-eyed readers may have spotted that much of the work of the TDG Sub-committee is now running parallel to discussions at the GHS Sub-committee and the two bodies have agreed to work together to a greater degree.
SEA AND AIR
Attendees did not have much time to digest the latest from the Sub-committees before returning from a coffee break to hear about activities at the modal regulators, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and ICAO.
Amy Parker, lead chemical engineer in the US Coast Guard’s (USCG) Hazardous Materials Division, brought news from London and reminded the audience that Amendment 37-14 to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code would become mandatory as from 1 January 2016.
She reported on the second meeting of IMO’s Sub-committee on Carriage of Cargoes and Containers (CCC), which took place in September 2015, and the 23rd and 24th sessions of the Editorial and Technical Group (E&T) in May and September 2015. The first of those E&T meetings agreed some editorial corrections to Amendment 37-14, even though it had been available for use since 1 January 2015. The session also looked at the amendments found in the 19th revised edition of the Model Regulations, which will form the basis of the next version of the IMDG Code, Amendment 36-16.
The meeting also agreed a revision of DSC/Circ.12, Guidance on the continued use of existing IMO type portable tanks and road tank vehicles, and made amendments to MSC.1/Circ.1442 on inspection programmes for cargo transport units (CTUs) carrying dangerous goods.
At CCC, Germany proposed improvements to the provisions for the marking of fumigated CTUs, which were adopted for Amendment 38-16.
Another proposal from Germany, on training, provided more contentious. One aspect was the inclusion in Chapter 1.3 of competency-based testing along the lines of those adopted by ICAO. The main problem is the variation in national capabilities and there was no consensus on the proposal. The idea of introducing a dangerous goods safety adviser (DGSA) provision for marine transport was also rejected.
Revisions to the segregation provisions for materials of Divisions 2.1 and 4.3 were accepted. This will now require them to be “separated from” each other, rather than “away from”, and will necessitate their carriage in separate holds when under deck. Some changes were also agreed to the stowage provisions for certain radioactive materials.
CCC also agreed to a German proposal to harmonise the assignment of BK2 codes with those in the UN Model Regulations. This will result in the removal of “BK2” in Column 13 of the Dangerous Goods List from UN Nos 1402, 1446, 1469, 1485, 2211 and 3314.
The meeting also agreed to a proposal from the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) to update the segregation requirements to include organometallic substances. The US proposed the revision of the stowage categories for certain Class 1 goods; this was not immediately adopted but the E&T Group is working on a rationalised approach.
South Korea’s proposal to identify UN Nos 2294, 2296 and 2057 as marine pollutants, based on their GESAMP Hazard Profiles, was accepted. It was also agreed to amend the tank provision for 15 substances identified as marine pollutants from T1 to T2. South Korea was also keep to add text to clarify the use of GESAMP Hazard Profiles for the classification of marine pollutants; there was no consensus on this and E&T agreed that self-classification should be maintained.
Two further proposals from Germany (remembering that Germany holds the chair of CCC) involved the replacement of special packing provision B2 with text of more specific relevance to marine transport, and a modification of the special provisions relating to lithium batteries in vehicles, engines and machinery. It was agreed that both needed some editorial changes.
Amy turned finally to the issue of container weighing, a topic that is uppermost in the minds of many shippers right now ahead of the entry into force of new requirements on 1 July this year. USCG is not planning to add any further regulation, she said, as it considers that the provisions are adequately covered in existing regulations.
Labelmaster’s Neil McCulloch reported on the session of ICAO’s Dangerous Goods Panel in October 2015. Again, this meeting was covered in great detail in a report by Geoff Leach in the February 2016 issue of HCB Monthly. What is more, some of the Panel’s decisions in relation to lithium batteries have since been overtaken by events (HCB Monthly March 2016, page 94).
OVER THE WALL
The final morning invited delegates to choose from a number of presentations, each of which was of interest. HCB chose to sit in on a paper by Robert Kiefer and Eric Sun from REACH24 on China’s regulatory system for hazardous chemicals. Robert began with an explanation of the legal framework for China’s implementation of GHS, which gave the audience an idea of what they had let themselves in for.
The legal framework for provisions in China derives from legislation made by the People’s Council and implemented by State Council legislation. In the case of GHS the relevant administrative law is Decree 591. The various relevant ministries apply this law through their own measures, with reference to compulsory or recommended standards. The most important of these is the State Administration of Work Safety’s (SAWS) Order 53, which deals with registration.
China implemented GHS in 2011 and has now updated to the fourth revised edition. Standards for classification can be found in the GB 30000 series, of which there are currently 29. Two of those are new, dealing with aspiration hazards and substances hazardous to the ozone layer. An additional standard on work safety signage is currently in development.
There are overlapping lists of chemicals that need to be consulted – used of the Inventory of Hazardous Chemicals is mandatory. This lists more than 2,800 substances, not all of which are considered dangerous goods in transport.
All those shipping chemicals to China will need to be aware of the national approach to safety data sheets (SDSs). There are two relevant standards: GB/T 16483-2008 on the structure of SDSs and GB/T 17519-2013 on the detail. It is imperative that a 24/7 emergency telephone number must be a domestic landline rather than a mobile phone. Another important point to note is that all goods arriving in China must bear a GHS label in Chinese.
China’s Inventory of Hazardous Chemicals – the C&L Inventory – was updated in February 2015 and includes several changes; it is, though, smaller than the previous version issued in 2002. Guidance on the Inventory was issued in August 2015. Robert noted that mixtures containing 70 per cent or more of listed chemicals are subject to the requirements.
Eric took over to explain the structure of the transport of dangerous goods regulations, which traditionally has involved several different ministries, although this is now being brought under the Ministry of Transport (MOT). China applies the international rules, Eric said, although there are some differences.
As with GHS, Decree 591 is the overarching legislation. This is implemented through MOT Order 1 of 2015 (rail transport of dangerous goods), Order 2 of 2013 (road transport of dangerous goods) and Order 10 of 1996 (transport of dangerous goods by inland waterway). This last Order is currently being revised and a new version is expected in 2016, which will likely be more consistent with the IMDG Code. As for air transport, the provisions are found in CCAR-276-R1, which took effect in March 2014.
The technical details are, again, found in a range of standards. The most important are GB 6944-2012 on classification and GB 12268-2012, which is the Dangerous Goods List. Both are based on the 16th revised edition of the UN Model Regulations. Packing symbols are covered in GB 190-2009, which is based on the 15th revised edition. Other standards cover excepted quantities, limited quantities and organic peroxides, but these are not necessarily acceptable in all provinces or cities, Eric warned.
There is a separate list of dangerous goods permitted for transport by air, which was updated in 2015. A trial list of dangerous goods prohibited for carriage by inland waterway was also published in 2015. Safety codes for the inspection of packagings were published in 2009, one for each transport mode.
Eric then reported on developments since the devastating explosion in Tianjin in August 2015. The facility where the blast occurred had been state-owned and still had some ties with the authorities; however, it was not registered with SAWS. Eric said there are around 8,000 warehouses in China storing dangerous goods. State bodies say that 70 per cent of them are licensed, although industry estimates put the figure as low as 20 per cent.
There have been no new regulations since the explosion but inspection and enforcement have been ramped up. For instance, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) reiterated its Order 30-2012 on the compulsory inspection at the port of all import/export cargoes of hazardous chemicals listed in the C&L Inventory; other port regulations require the inspection of 236 other substances. There is no mandatory inspection of other dangerous goods but random inspections are likely, Eric said.
WRAP THIS UP
To bring the conferenced to a close, Charles Betts, director of PHMSA’s Standards and Rulemaking Division, came back to the podium to report on recent changes within the Administration. He said that four lives had been lost in the transport of hazardous materials in 2015 and that safety is PHMSA’s number one priority.
The new administrator, Marie Therese Dominguez, who joined in August 2015, has initiated an Agency Safety Action Plan (ASAP), a department-wide initiative to identify ways to improve safety by leveraging existing responsibilities and capabilities, especially in training.
ASAP will affect enforcement initiatives, Charles said. It will examine the effectiveness and consistency of activities via data analysis and the refinement of risk-based decision-making tools.
An organisation assessment is also underway, with the aim of improving PHMSA’s responsiveness to industry developments. “We don’t want another wholesale reorganisation of PHMSA,” Charles said. “There may be changes but that is not the main aim.” Some of those changes may involve combination of certain activities of the hazardous materials and pipelines sides of the agency. PHMSA’s data collection and analysis activities are also being assessed.
PHMSA is currently in the process of growing its headcount by around 25 per cent. This is a response to the US drive towards energy independence and many of the new jobs will be in pipeline inspection.
It will be interesting to see what effect these changes have had when the 38th DGAC conference rolls around this coming 24 to 26 October in Orlando, Florida. Full details can be found at www.dgac.org.[post_title] => A lot to learn [post_excerpt] =>
The extent and complexity that shippers of dangerous goods have to face was amply demonstrated by the breadth of presentations at last year's DGAC annual conference
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