Report From DGAC Conference & Expo: Day 3

Posted on 11/14/2011 by Roseanne Bottone

[Editor’s Note: Lion Technology Inc. instructor Roseanne Bottone is blogging from the Dangerous Goods Advisory Council (DGAC) Conference & Hazardous Materials Transportation Exposition. Daily, she will provide her observations and insights from the conference in order to keep our members up–to–date with the latest regulatory news.]
The third and final day of the DGAC conference began with a presentation by Gary Lupinacci from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). He spoke about the Certified Cargo Screening Program (CCSP). The 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 took effect in August of 2010 and requires the TSA to screen cargo at a level of security commensurate with checked baggage. As of August 2011, the CCSP has certified more than 1,200 entities, including freight forwarders, shippers, and independent cargo screening facilities. The goal is to screen 100% of international inbound cargo with a focus on the top countries delivering inbound cargo to the U.S. (In descending order: the UK, Japan, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Brazil, South Korea, China, Switzerland, Peru, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Italy, Spain, United Arab Emerates, Israel, Australia, Belgium and Chile). No shipments are accepted at all from Yemen or Somalia.
The Subcommittee on Transportation Security and Infrastructure Protection is considering the following bills introduced by Rep. Markey (D–MA):
  • H.R. 6275 Air Cargo Security Act of 2010 to establish federalized screening centers; and
  • H.R. 6410 Air Cargo Security Act to screen 100% of all cargo transported on all–cargo aircraft.
In addition, a similar proposal, S 3954 Air Cargo Security Act, introduced by Sen. Casey (D–PA), is being considered by the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
Debora Hooper, Manager of Global Transportation Regulations for a major specialty chemical corporation, spoke about the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) for the classification and labeling of hazardous substances. Ms. Hooper addressed the testing criteria and analyses result parameters–enough numbers to make your head spin–as she spoke about the toxicological effects of chemicals/products on fish, crustaceans, and algae. Unless you’re a chemist or a lab analyst, this is what you need to know:
  • The purpose of GHS classification of environmentally hazardous substances is to identify and communicate materials that have a persistent, toxic, and bio–accumulative affect on aquatic life.
  • The EHS criteria will result in a significant increase in materials regulated as hazardous.
  • You must have data on the materials you ship. You can test using the EHS criteria or generate the data in other ways, such as looking at an (M)SDS for the transportation information (Section 14), the ecological effects (Section 12), the composition (Section 3), and the physical and chemical properties (Section 9).
  • If you don’t have data to prove your material is non–hazardous and others have data showing it is hazardous, then you have to regulate it as hazardous as well.
  • A major issue with the EHS rules is that not everyone is familiar with the international requirements. Some commented that carriers are stopping packages that have GHS marking, not realizing that materials can be an environmentally hazardous substance, BUT not a DOT marine pollutant.
The day ended with a “speed dating” question–and–answer session with the regulators and conference presenters. I chatted with Paul Bomgardner, Chief of the Hazardous Materials Division of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). I asked him about the typical problems his field officers find regarding hazmat when they inspect vehicles on the road. These are the top culprits:
  • Incomplete, illegible, or incorrect shipping papers (usually the fault lies with the shipper here);
  • Improper and unsafe load securement; and
  • Placards that are wrong, missing all together, missing on one side, not applied square–on–point, or faded.
Lastly, I spoke with Ross McLachlan, Deputy Manager of the Dangerous Goods Office for the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority. He told me that many folks don’t realize that all of the state and operator variations are potentially applicable to a shipper. The IATA regulations added references to particular variations under packaging instructions, shipping paper requirements and throughout the regulations, but they are only reminders. Shippers are required to follow all of the requirements of the states of origin, transit and destination. I asked for a clarification of what is meant by “transit.” He said transit does not include over–flight for most shipments, unless specifically indicated in a state variation. It may, however, include over–flight for some exemptions for forbidden materials. Certainly, if an airplane lands in a state, those state’s variations will be applicable.
That wraps up the news from the 33rd Annual DGAC Conference in Tampa, Florida. I hope these reports gave you some insight into what’s happening in the regulatory world, as well as information you can put to use in managing your transportation safety programs.

Tags: DOT, GHS, hazmat shipping

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