[ID] => 9975
[post_author] => 34
[post_date] => 2018-08-16 08:48:51
[post_date_gmt] => 2018-08-16 07:48:51
[post_content] => For two days every year, dangerous goods experts from across the UK and Ireland gather in the leafy wilds of Northamptonshire to discuss matters of common interest. The meeting, the UK’s main forum for the sector, is organised by the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) on behalf of the UK Department for Transport (DfT).
This year’s Dangerous Goods Seminar, the 33rd annual event, took place once more – though possibly for the last time – at the Daventry Court Hotel on 5 and 6 June and drew an enthusiastic and varied crowd of experienced and tyro dangerous goods professionals. It is always impressive to see that VCA manages to reach out to those new to the industry, offering an attractively low delegate fee (the government cannot be seen to be making money from outreach events) and a cleverly designed programme to accommodate delegates of all levels of knowledge.
As ever, the seminar began with a primer session presented by Keith White of VCA’s Dangerous Goods Office, designed to help those new to the sector to understand the alphabet soup of acronyms, the structure of the regulations that govern the transport of dangerous goods across all modes, and the way in which the UK government interacts with the regulated industries and other stakeholders. As usual, senior regulators made themselves available during the breaks and over breakfast on the second day so that delegates to talk to them directly about problems and any issues they were having in applying the regulations.
START WITH ROAD
After a brief introduction by the seminar’s regular chairman, HCB’s editor-in-chief Peter Mackay, the serious business began with a series of updates on the main changes to have been agreed by the modal authorities over the past year, which will mostly take effect from the beginning of 2019. Many of these changes derive from the 20th revised edition of the UN Recommendations on the transport of dangerous goods – aka the ‘Model Regulations’ – which was adopted at the end of 2016 and published in early 2017. These changes are largely common to the different modal regulations.
Darren Freezor, head of the International Team at DfT’s Dangerous Goods Division, introduced some of the main changes that will appear in the 2019 text of ADR, which covers the transport of dangerous goods by road. Among these are the adoption of 12 new UN entries – UN 3537 to 3548 – for articles containing dangerous goods, nos. These new entries were adopted by the UN Sub-committee of Experts on the transport of dangerous goods (TDG) after a lot of hard work by the UK in particular, and aim to avoid the need to agree further UN entries for specific articles. They also aim to avoid the use of UN 3363 for such articles, which fails to provide an idea of the hazards presented by particular articles.
The new entries for articles do not apply to explosives (Class 1), infectious substances (Division 6.2) or radioactives (Class 7). A multilateral special agreement, M312, to permit the use of the new entries ahead of the amendment’s entry into force next year was initiated by France in April 2018 and has so far been counter-signed by Germany and the UK, allowing the use of the new entries in domestic transport in those countries and in international transport between them.
The 2019 version of ADR will include a new Chapter 2.8, designed to mirror the provisions on the classification of corrosive substances in the same chapter of the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). This will offer consistency throughout the supply chain, from manufacture through transport to the end user.
Greater clarity has been provided on the classification of ammonium-based fertilisers, particularly those that fall into Class 1 or Division 5.1. The changes include an ADR-specific key to the use of Part 3, Section 39 of the Manual of Tests and Criteria.
Some relief has been provided for those shipping fuel containment systems for vehicles – for instance, CNG, LPG or hydrogen tanks for cars. The packing provisions and Chapter 6.2 will not apply if certain conditions are met.
As ever, there are more changes to the provisions for the transport of lithium batteries. It has been confirmed that cargo transport units containing lithium batteries – which are being used for power storage rather than transport – will be assigned to UN 3536. There are some new exemptions for private household equipment.
There are also some changes to the provisions for the testing of cylinders. A new special provision 674 sets out requirements for samples of overmoulded cylinders to be used for tests, their traceability, the statistical assessment of test results and what to do in the case of failure. This approach will be monitored and may be extended to other types of cylinder in the future.
Finally, a new Chapter 7.1.7 has been added to cover substances stabilised by temperature control other than those that are already assigned to Division 4.1 or 5.2.
Darren concluded by reminding the audience that they should “never be afraid” to contact the department: emails should be addressed to email@example.com.
ALL AT SEA AGAIN
Changes to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code were introduced by Helen North, who has in recent years been working in the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) but has since the VCA seminar returned to DfT as deputy head of the Dangerous Goods Division.
IMDG Code Amendment 39-18 was adopted by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in May 2018, shortly before the VCA seminar. The number ’39-18’ means that it is the 39th amendment and it was adopted in 2018; confusingly, though, it takes effect on 1 January 2019, but only on a voluntary basis – Amendment 38-16 can still be used until 31 December 2019.
Amendment 39-18 harmonises with the 20th revised edition of the UN Model Regulations and so contains many of the same changes that the other modal regulations do. In addition, however, there are a number of changes specific to the sea mode, particularly in the area of stowage and segregation.
Amendment 39-18 includes for the first time provisions for that IMO is calling ‘road gas elements vehicles’ – these are similar to ‘battery-vehicles’ in RID and ADR, although the definition is different. This may be amended in future editions, Helen suggested. The provisions include a new definition in 1.2.1 and an amendment to 4.2.6 and Chapter 6.8. These ‘RGEVs’ are authorised only for use on short international voyages and the substances that they can carry are assigned to special provision 974.
The IMDG Code will harmonise with ADR in terms of size limits for viscous flammable liquids. This involves changes in 18.104.22.168 of the Code, which covers the assignment of packing groups to flammable liquids, and extends the maximum quantity per package from 30 litres to 450 litres.
IMO has done some more work on segregation and has developed 18 Segregation Group Codes (SGG); these will be listed in column (16b) of the Dangerous Goods List alongside the existing 75 Segregation Codes (SG). There have been some changes to a few SG codes for clarity. There is also a new segregation exemption table in 22.214.171.124.4.
In column (16a) there have been some changes to the stowage categories for articles of Class 1, which are designed to remove some unintended tightening of the requirements. A new SW30 has been adopted for jet perforating guns (UN 0124) to allow for easier transport to and from offshore installations.
Special provision 29 has been revised to align with the UN Model Regulations; the additional text referring to bales has been moved to a new SP 973.
The IMO takes a different view of SP 363, which in the UN Model Regulations merely states: “No other requirements of these Regulations apply”. In the IMDG Code, however, this is followed with the words: “… except for SP 972, Chapter 5.4, part 7 and column 16a and 16b of the Dangerous Goods List.” It also includes size specifications for the marine pollutant mark for UN 3530.
There are some amendments to the documentation required for excepted packages of Class 7 material and a new 126.96.36.199 dealing with the location of excepted packages.
Section 7.3.7 on cargo transport units under temperature control has been completely restructured to reflect the UN changes on polymerising substances. Finally, the Supplement contains a new consolidated version of the Emergency Schedules (EmS) and Medical First Aid Guide (MFAG) that takes into account revisions made in the past four years.
TRAINED FOR FLIGHT
Eric Gillett, policy specialist on dangerous goods for the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), spoke at length about competency-based training. The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has introduced this concept in many areas of aviation regulation, including pilot training, and is now planning to extend it to dangerous goods.
Currently, the ICAO Technical Instructions list out categories of personnel and indicate the level of training each category is required to receive, although this is not all-encompassing. ICAO also lists those entities whose personnel require training and the ‘minimum aspects’ that must be covered. However, it is being increasingly acknowledged that tests to verify trainees’ understanding may not verify that they are competent to carry out their roles; it is also felt that some organisations train their personnel simply to pass the test, rather than to be competent.
The aim of competency-based training is to ensure that trained personnel can demonstrate through their behaviour that they are competent. However, there are some differences between the current requirements and the proposed text that has been put forward by ICAO. Implementation has now been delayed from its proposed January 2019 deadline to give the ICAO Dangerous Goods Panel time to complete further work and confer with other panels.
It seems likely, Eric said, that implementation of competency-based training requirements will not take place before 2021; if this is the case, training programmes developed prior to 2021 will be able to be used until 2023, at which point competency-based training will become mandatory.
The UK CAA believes that competency-based training could enhance safety in the transport of dangerous goods by air, but also feels that CAA-approved training courses are already based on competence, which can only be tested through practical activities. The main challenge lies in open-access shipper courses, Eric said.
CAA is planning to develop and publish guidance on competency-based training for those categories of personnel currently identified in the Technical Instructions; this will tie together the regulatory provisions and specimen examples of training specifications, adapted competency models, and competency performance criteria that reference observable behaviour. This will be made available as and when ICAO finalises the requirements.
AIR MODE CHANGES
Eric moved on to look at some of the changes that will appear in the 2019-2020 edition of the Technical Instructions. Unlike the other modes, these take effect promptly on 1 January 2019. They do, though, rest to a large degree on the changes in the 20th revised edition of the UN Model Regulations, including the use of the word ‘hazard’ rather than ‘risk’ throughout the text.
Perhaps not surprisingly, there are plenty of changes to the lithium battery provisions in the 2019-2020 text. Packing instructions 965 (for lithium ion cells and batteries) and 968 (for lithium metal) have been amended; section IA and IB cells and batteries must not be packed in the same outer packaging with substances and articles of classes/divisions 1 (other than 1.4S), 2.1, 3, 4.1 or 5.1; section II cells and batteries must not be packed in the same outer packaging with any other dangerous goods.
To clarify what is meant by ‘packed with’, packing instructions 966 and 969 have been amended to specify that the number of cells or batteries in each package “must not exceed the appropriate number required for the equipment’s operation, plus two spare sets”.
New stowage provisions state that section IA and IB cells or batteries must not be stowed next to or in a position that would allow interaction with packages or overpacks containing dangerous goods that bear a hazard label of classes/divisions 1 (other than 1.4S), 2.1, 3, 4.1 or 5.1.
The notification to the pilot in command (NOTOC) will have to specify the aerodrome where packages of UN 3480 and 3090 lithium batteries are to be unloaded.
More detail has been provided for the loading of battery-powered mobility aids, particularly relating to the removal and securement of batteries and cabling; it is now specified that only one spare battery may be carried.
Elsewhere, special provision A78, which deals with radioactive materials with one or more subsidiary hazards, has been revised. Packing Instruction 951 has been amended to refer shippers to need to comply with the relevant parts of PI 950 for vehicles powered by both a flammable liquid and a flammable gas.
There is some relaxation in the segregation requirement for UN 3528 engines and machinery, which no longer will need to be segregated from packages containing dangerous goods of Division 5.1.
The passenger provisions have been revised and simplified. It includes a clarification that dangerous goods are forbidden unless specifically listed in Table 8-1 and for personal use only. The new-fangled battery-powered baggage, when equipped with a lithium metal battery or batteries exceeding 0.3 g lithium content or 2.7 Wh must be carried in the cabin, unless the battery/ies are removed.
KEEP IT IN THE BOX
There are likely to be yet more changes to the lithium battery provisions in the future but at least the regulators appear to be trying to take a more practical approach. Liz Girling from VCA’s Dangerous Goods Office brought the meeting up to date with the latest thinking. The problem with lithium batteries is that there is a danger of a thermal runaway in the case of damage to the batteries, overcharging, short-circuits or protracted use. Once a thermal runaway starts, aircraft fire suppression systems cannot cope.
One response is to take the same approach as with explosives: to contain the hazard within a container. At the end of 2015, the UN Sub-committee of experts decided to look at developing a packaging standard and awarded a contract to the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) – this was thought to be a more rapid route to a standard, as SAE expected to come up with something within 18 months. The project was initiated in March 2016 but, Liz said, progress has been slow, despite – or perhaps because of? – regular monthly teleconferences and periodic in-person meetings.
SAE is currently working on a fifth draft of the standard. Liz explained that there are lot of interests involved and they may not always be pulling in the same direction; in addition, she said, there has been an element of mission creep, with the group now looking also at battery testing.
There are a number of problems with the SAE draft standard, Liz said – although this may have changed by now. Firstly, it is built around a very specific piece of testing equipment, which is not an ideal situation; that equipment is also very expensive, which will have to be reflected in the cost of testing. The test acceptance criteria are largely based on consideration of air transport but take into account abnormal conditions – the transport regulations only consider hazards that might appear during the “normal conditions of transport”. The draft also includes some “rather subjective” pass/fail criteria, Liz said. Battery suppliers are concerned that it will increase costs through the supply chain.
The UN Sub-committee of Experts is now taking an alternative approach through an inter-sessional working group, which is aiming to create a series of classification tests that could be used to create what would be effectively packing groups for lithium batteries. The working group is looking at properties such as the likely initiation of a thermal runaway and the impact of such an event, the potential for runaway to spread to adjacent batteries, the effect of the volume and comparative energy density of different consignment, and so on.
In an ideal world, the issue would be solved by changing battery technology, and there are movements in this direction. Solid state lithium batteries, for instance, have a much lower risk of thermal runaway but, currently, are regulated in the same way as other lithium batteries. Other battery chemistries exist, such as sodium ion batteries, which can be completely shorted out with no risk during transport.
The UK, though, believes that a simpler solution lies in packaging provisions; Liz remarked that when Chapter 6.1 was developed, it dealt with the known risks at the time – lithium batteries were then unknown. Packing instructions have already been developed to deal with damaged and defective lithium batteries, which include additional tests. The UK is considering a proposal to the UN that much of this new text could be moved into Chapter 6.1, with a few modifications and possibly some additional package tests. The results of those tests could be indicated by a new prefix or suffix on the package, with an additional ‘rating’ mark to help shippers and enforcement personnel.
OFF THE CLIFF
It would not have been possible to hold an event of this kind this year without a mention of the UK’s planned exit from the EU; Roh Hathlia, head of DfT’s Dangerous Goods Division, explained the plans with help from Darren Freezor.
Firstly, Brexit should not impact the dangerous goods regulations. ADR (road) and RID (rail) will continue to be applied to domestic and international transport via the Carriage of Dangerous Goods etc (CDG) Regulations. These regulations are drawn up by supra-national bodies rather than the EU, although the UK is currently required by the EU Framework Directive to apply them to domestic transport.
What will have to change is that the texts of the CDG 2009 and 2011 regulations will need to be amended to remove references to EU directives and make direct reference to the regulatory agreements.
It is now planned that the Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 will be laid in parliament early in 2019 – hopefully early in February. It will be a small statutory instrument (SI), Roh said: it will include changes to definitions and the removal of some clauses referring to the EU. This schedule should give just enough time to have the revised legislation in place before the UK’s exit from the EU, planned for 29 March 2019.
The UK is also taking the opportunity to re-introduce a requirement for road tankers carrying petroleum to be fitted with vapour recovery equipment. This will be done via a separate SI from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), due to be laid in parliament late in 2018.
[A consultation document regarding the CDG changes was opened for comment on 13 August; the comment period closed on 6 September.]
The second part of this report on the VCA Dangerous Goods Seminar in next month’s issue will look at presentations relating to enforcement, inspection and other matters.
[post_title] => UK: Ready or not...
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VCA's annual Dangerous Goods Seminar provided an update on the transport regulations and an insight into a post-Brexit world