[ID] => 11308
[post_author] => 34
[post_date] => 2019-07-29 09:05:21
[post_date_gmt] => 2019-07-29 08:05:21
[post_content] => Hazardous materials professionals today are expected to take on more responsibility than ever before. Where in the past the roles of environmental, safety and hazardous materials compliance were spread across an organisation, increasingly those responsibilities rest on the shoulders of fewer and fewer individuals, even in large firms.
From hazardous materials/dangerous goods shipping to hazardous waste management, air and water compliance, environmental reporting, emergency preparedness, workplace safety and more, professionals need a broad range of expertise to keep their facilities in compliance, avoid fines and penalties, and protect employees.
On top of expanded responsibilities, industry professionals are faced with regulations that change constantly. Staying up to date is a full-time job in itself.
UPDATE TO RCRA
One of the biggest changes rolling across the US in 2019 is a major update to the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) hazardous waste regulations.
Known as the ‘Generator Improvements Rule’, a 300+ page rulemaking finalised in 2016, EPA’s wholesale revisions of the hazardous waste regulations introduced many more stringent requirements (and some new reliefs) for facilities that generate and store hazardous waste, including but not nearly limited to:
- Completely re-organised regulatory text in 40 CFR Part 262;
- Expanded marking and labeling requirements for containers; and
- Bolstered reporting, recordkeeping, and contingency plan rules.
The Generator Improvements Rule represents the most significant changes made to US hazardous waste regulations since the 1980s—changes that US EPA estimates will impact nearly 700,000 facilities nationwide when all is said and done.
As of this writing, approximately half of US states have adopted some or all of the new requirements into their state-level regulations. The remaining states are prepared to incorporate the changes in 2020 and early 2021. For organisations with facilities in multiple states, this presents the challenge of keeping track of when and where the new rules take effect.
To help EHS professionals grasp the landmark RCRA updates and take the steps needed to comply, Lion Technology recently overhauled its nationwide hazardous waste workshops, online programs, and live webinars to incorporate the new regulations and call attention to areas that are now stricter than before. Lion also tracks the latest state adoption initiatives and updates professionals in its weekly e-newsletter.
One change that’s never a surprise for hazardous materials professionals is the annual increase to civil penalties for violations of the US Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR). DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) boosted the maximum civil penalty for 2019 late last year—and may increase it again before the year ends. As it stands, the maximum civil penalty (for incidents that do not result in death, serious illness, severe injury, or property damage) is now $79,976 per day, per violation. For hazmat training violations, the minimum
penalty rose to $481.
This year, a DOT harmonisation rulemaking that’s taken nearly a year to be finalized, HM 215-O, will incorporate the latest versions of the ICAO Technical Instructions, IMDG Code, UN Manual of Tests and Criteria, and the 7th Revised Edition of the GHS—bringing more change for shippers and freight forwarders.
Shippers who complete Lion’s hazardous materials training get access to Lion’s version of the 49 CFR hazmat regulations, which are updated throughout the year to stay more current - and easier to navigate - than the Code of Federal Regulations manual. Lion also launched a suite of hazardous materials consulting services in 2019 to provide more in-depth assistance with hazmat classification, step-by-step hazmat shipping guides, and environmental compliance.
LET’S GO ELECTRIC
As more and more of everyday life becomes reliant on digital communication, some wonder why analogue shipping papers remain the norm for hazardous materials transportation. That may change soon, too.
In summer 2019, PHMSA teamed up with Transport Canada to announce a three-year ‘sandbox program’ to study replacing paper hazardous materials shipping papers with electronic documentation. With an electronic system in place, emergency responders could access information remotely during transportation incidents, avoid the risk of entering the vehicle, and respond more promptly.
In addition to the safety benefits, a change to electronic hazmat documents could save shippers and carriers the cost of printing and maintaining this paperwork.
US EPA launched its own electronic portal for hazardous waste manifests (e-manifests) in 2018 and is encouraging more generators, transporters and receiving facilities to get on board with the new system—in part by instituting higher user fees for submitting paper documentation.
For lithium battery shippers, 1 January 2019 was an important date: the deadline to implement new markings and labels on all shipments of lithium ion and metal cells and batteries.
For US DOT in 2019, the end of the two-year phase-in period for new marks and labels was the first of many changes to the lithium battery rules. In March 2019, PHMSA published an Interim Final Rule to adopt ‘emergency revisions’ added to international codes in 2016, including:
- A prohibition against standalone lithium-ion cells and batteries as cargo on passenger aircraft;
- A 30 per cent state-of-charge limit for some battery shipments; and
- Restrictions on the use of alternative provisions for small batteries.
But even when harmonising with international regulations, PHMSA added two unique changes of its own. First, US regulators added a narrow exception to the passenger aircraft prohibition for lithium cells or batteries specifically used for medical devices, in order to ensure delivery to areas of the country with limited cargo aircraft service.
Second, PHMSA created a new, unique requirement at 49 CFR 173.185(c)(1)(iii) to require the Cargo Aircraft Only label (or one of three alternate markings) on packages containing:
- Excepted lithium batteries shipped alone (UN 3480 and 3090); and
- Excepted lithium batteries with a net weight greater than 5kg shipped in or with equipment (UN 3481 and 3091).
Lion provided training throughout 2019 for lithium battery shippers with a continuously updated online course, live webinars, and a one-day workshop at the company’s headquarters in northern New Jersey. The final Shipping Lithium Batteries Webinar of the year is scheduled for 17 December and the 2020 schedule will be available soon.
EXPERIENCE IS KEY
In more than forty years as a leader in hazardous materials and environmental training, Lion Technology has consistently provided learning opportunities that keep professionals ahead of the regulatory changes that impact their industries.
With its expanding catalogue of online courses and another jam-packed year of workshops ahead, the company is ready to help professionals stay one step ahead of whatever changes are to come in 2020. Because for hazardous materials professionals, one thing is for sure: change is always on the way.
This article was prepared for HCB by Lion Technology. For full details on Lion’s capabilities and services in the areas of environmental protection, hazardous waste management, hazmat shipping and health and safety, visit www.lion.com.
[post_title] => Compliance: Change is constant
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[post_name] => compliance-change-constant
[post_modified] => 2019-07-29 09:05:21
[post_modified_gmt] => 2019-07-29 08:05:21
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[guid] => https://www.hcblive.com/?p=11308
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