Tag Archives: Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals

UN Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods Issues Report on Latest Session

The United Nations Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (COE) has issued a report on its sixth session, which was held this past December in Geneva, Switzerland.  The function of the COE is to ratify the work of the two sub-committees it oversees: the Transport of Dangerous Goods Sub-Committee and the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals Sub-Committee. With the 2011-2012 biennium concluding, both of these sub-committees issued a number of recommendations to the COE, which included developing amendments to:

Why should you be interested in the reports?

The reports included amended texts for the next editions of the UN Model Regulations, GHS and Manual of Tests and Criteria. The amendments are very likely to appear in a number of regulatory texts, most notably the 2015-2016 International Civil Aviation Organization’s Technical Instructions on the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods (ICAO TI); the 2014 Edition (Amendment 37) of the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code), the U.S. Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) and the European Agreements Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Rail and by Road. If you are a dangerous goods manager, I strongly recommend that you review these amendments to determine their potential impact on your company’s operations.

The various bodies responsible for regulating the transport of dangerous goods will be working to incorporate the amendments into their respective regulatory texts during the next year. Issues concerning these potential changes can be raised at the meetings of regulatory committees.  If an amendment has an impact on your company, it may not be too late to address it before it comes into force. If you are unfamiliar with the process for submitting comments to a regulatory committee, our team can assist you with communicating relevant issues appropriately.

The new 2013-2014 two-year work program will begin with the first meetings of the TDG and GHS Sub-Committees:

  • June 24-28, 2013: Transport of Dangerous Goods Sub-Committee, 43rd Session
  • July 1-3, 2013: Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals Sub-Committee, 25th Session

The following is a first in a series that will provide an overview of the changes included in the COE report. Today’s article will cover the UN Model Regulation, while future articles will tackle the GHS and Manual of Tests and Criteria.

Expected Changes to the UN Model Regulations

Chapter 1

  • There is a new section (1.1.1.9) that addresses lamps (light bulbs) containing dangerous goods. Broad exceptions have been provided for these lamps, provided that they do not contain radioactive material and do not contain mercury in quantities above those specified in Special Provision 366.
  • There are several new or revised definitions in Chapter 1.2, including “Exclusive use, Freight container, Large Salvage Packaging and Neutron radiation detector.”
  • There are a number of amendments to Chapter 1.5 related to the general requirements for transporting radioactive materials. These were developed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and subsequently will be included in the 18th revised edition of the UN Model Regulations.

Chapter 2

  • It was clarified in Chapter 2.0 that “articles (e.g. shock absorbers, air bags, etc.) are not assigned packing groups. For packing purposes, any requirement for a specific packaging performance level is set out in the applicable packing instruction.”
  • Also in Chapter 2.0, amendments were made to the precedence of hazards table to clarify the primary and subsidiary hazards associated with uranium hexafluoride in excepted packages. Since this is the only Hazard Class 7 material that can be transported in excepted packages, other hazard designations would not take precedence.
  • A note was added in Chapter 2.1 to clarify the meaning of “flash composition,” which primarily applies to the classification of fireworks.
  • In Chapter 2.2, the definition for Class 2 gases was revised to include a new category, “Adsorbed gas.” Adsorbed gas is a gas that, when packaged for transport, is adsorbed onto a solid porous material resulting in an internal receptacle pressure of less than 101.3 kPa at 20 °C and less than 300 kPa at 50 °C.
  • The exception in Chapter 2.3 that allows viscous flammable liquids with a flash point less than 23 °C to be re-classified as a Packing Group III flammable liquid was revised. The change consolidates the criteria to include a table with the applicable flow times and flash points.  In addition, the exception to flammable liquids transported in quantities of note more than 450 liters has been limited.
  • In Chapter 2.4, the self reactive substance (SRS) classification flow chart in figure 2.4.1 was revised to include additional considerations for determining whether a SRS can be transported in IBCs or portable tanks, and whether it can be excepted from classification as a SRS.
  • Similarly, the flow chart for classifying organic peroxides in Chapter 2.5 was revised.  Significant changes to the defining criteria and packing group assignment criteria for oxidizing solids were also made.
  • In Chapter 2.6, the exceptions for dried blood spots, faecal occult blood screening specimens, and blood intended for transfusion were clarified.  The major change here is that several products are no longer subject to the Model Regulations, including blood drawn in connection with transfusions, the preparation of blood products to be used for transfusion or transplantation, and any tissues or organs intended for use in transplantation.
  • Numerous amendments were adopted relative to the work of the IAEA in relation to the criteria and classification of radioactive materials.  The amendments include changes to the table for individual radionuclides in section 2.7.2.2.2; transport of fissile materials, classification of uranium hexafluoride; consumer products that either have received regulatory approval or do not individually exceed the activity limits for an exempt consignment; and exceptions for instruments or articles too small to bear the marking “RADIOACTIVE,” provided that they are transported in a package that bears the marking “RADIOACTIVE” on its internal surface in such a manner that a warning of the presence of radioactive material is visible on opening the package.
  • There were no changes to the criteria for corrosive substances but the discussion on this topic is ongoing within the TDG and GHS Sub-Committees.
  • In Chapter 2.9, amendments were adopted to account for revisions to the proper shipping name changes for asbestos and safety devices (previously air bags). Additionally, new proper shipping names were added for “Asymmetric capacitors” and “Packaging discarded, empty, uncleaned.”
  • A new note was added to section 2.9.4 to address lithium battery testing. The note reads:“Cells and batteries manufactured according to a type meeting the requirements of sub-section 38.3 of the Manual of Tests and Criteria, Revision 3, Amendment 1 or any subsequent revision and amendment applicable at the date of the type testing may continue to be transported, unless otherwise provided in these Regulations. Cell and battery types only meeting the requirements of the Manual of Tests and Criteria, Revision 3, are no longer valid. However, cells and batteries manufactured in conformity with such types before 1 July 2003 may continue to be transported if all other applicable requirements are fulfilled.”
  • A note was added highlighting and reinforcing the fact that batteries shall be of a type proved to meet the testing requirements of the Manual of Tests and Criteria, part III, sub-section 38.3, irrespective of whether the cells of which they are composed are of a tested type.

Chapter 3

As usual, there were numerous amendments to the Dangerous Goods List (DGL). While I won’t list all of the changes here, there are some worth highlighting:

  • A significant number of entries, mainly articles, have been assigned an “EO” designation in column 7b of the DGL, indicating that they are not authorized to be transported as Excepted Quantity shipments.  This was mainly a result of the fact that the entries are not authorized to be transported as excepted quantities in the ICAO TI, which does not authorize articles to be shipped as excepted quantities.
  • The packing group was deleted in column 5 for a number of entries because they are articles, which are not assigned packing groups in the DGL.  This includes the four lithium battery entries.  While this was decided a number of years ago, one has to wonder whether this really makes sense, and whether it has resulted in more confusion, frustrated shipments and frivolous violations without any improvement in safety.
  • The proper shipping name for UN 3268 was changed from “Air bag inflators, air bag modules or seat belt pretensioners” to “Safety devices, electrically initiated.” Doing so will allow a much wider array of articles used as safety devices to be shipped as dangerous goods.  It is important to note that Special Provision 280 was revised to clarify which articles can be transported under this entry. One has to question whether this amendment actually enhances hazard communication for emergency responders.
  • There is a total of 3526 dangerous goods entries in the 18th revised edition of the UN Model Regulations, including 20 new entries:
    • UN 3507 is a new uranium hexafluoride excepted package entry.
    • UN 3508 is a new asymmetric capacitor entry.
    • UN 3509 is a new entry for packaging materials that previously contained dangerous goods and have remaining residues.
    • 17 of the new entries accommodate adsorbed gases.

Special Provisions

  • A number of special provisions (SP) were added or amended.
  • SP 172 was revised to clarify when a primary or subsidiary risk label is required for a radioactive material.
  • SP 225 was amended to clarify the types of fire extinguishers covered (e.g. portable fire extinguishers for manual handling and operation).
  • SP 367 through 377 are new special provisions.
  • SP 367 explains that the proper shipping name “Paint related materials” may be used for consignments of packages containing both “Paint” and “Paint related material.” However, the proper shipping name “Paint related materials” cannot be used for shipments that contain only paint.
  • SP 372 applies to asymmetric capacitors with an energy storage capacity greater than 0.3 Wh.
  • SP 375 will provide significant relief for many shippers on UN 3077 and UN 3082, which are both environmentally hazardous substances.  These substances will not subject to the regulations when they are transported in single or combination packagings containing a net quantity per single or inner packaging of 5 liters or less for liquids or having a net mass of 5 kg or less for solids.
  • SP 376 addresses the transport of lithium cells or batteries identified as being damaged or defective.
  • SP 377 addresses lithium cells, lithium batteries and equipment containing such cells and batteries when they are transported for disposal or recycling.

Limited Quantity and Excepted Quantity Markings

  • limited-quantity-airThe primary change in Chapter 3.4 relates to the overall initiative to enhance the clarity of the way that markings and labels are specified in the UN Model Regulations.  In a nutshell, a number of marking descriptions and illustrations were assigned figure numbers, dimensions were added to the graphics, and the minimum width of the line forming the diamond was specified as 2 mm.  Considering that the amendments were intended for clarity and not substantive, a grandfather provision was added stating “the provisions from the 17th revised edition of the Model Regulations may continue to be applied until 31 December 2016.” Paragraph 3.4.9 was amended and 3.4.10 was added to clarify that the limited quantity mark with a “Y” can be used for land and sea transport while also bearing additional marks and labels required by the ICAO TI.
  • The only changes in Chapter 3.5 involved language enhancing the clarity of specifications for the “Excepted Quantity” mark and adding a grandfather provision in the same manner as the limited quantity mark.

Chapter 4

  • In Chapter 4.1 a new paragraph (4.1.1.5.2) was added to address the use of supplementary packagings within an outer packaging (e.g. an intermediate packaging or a receptacle inside a required inner packaging) in addition to what is required by the packing instructions.  This clarifies the fact that a shipper may always use supplemental packaging to provide additional protection that helps contain dangerous goods.
  • UN3373There were a number of amendments to various packing instructions that revise the types of packagings authorized.  Markings specified in the packing instructions, such as the Category B UN 3373 mark, were revised to include more specific information concerning the size and dimensions of the labels.
  • Packing Instruction P901 was amended to clarify the performance level for packaging intended for the transport of chemical kits.  The performance level is now more specifically tied to the packing group assignments of the contents.
  • Several new packing instructions have been added. They include:
    • P208, for adsorbed gases;
    • P505, for ammonium nitrate emulsions;
    • P805, for uranium hexafluoride excepted packages;
    • P908, for damaged and defective lithium batteries; and
    • P909, for lithium batteries transported for recycling or disposal.
  • There were a number of amendments to IBC04 through 06 to authorize certain IBCs intended for solids (e.g. replace “and 21H2” with “, 21H2, 31H1 and 31H2”).
  • A new large packaging packing instruction, LP903, was added for large format lithium batteries, such as those used in electric and hybrid vehicles. LP904 was added for damaged and defective lithium batteries.
  • In chapter 4.2 some editorial amendments were introduced.
  • A new portable tank provision, TP 41, was added. This provision for organometallic substances states that the two-and-a-half year internal examination can be waived or substituted by other test methods or inspection procedures specified by the competent authority or its authorized body.

Chapter 5

  • The most substantial changes in Chapter 5 involve specifications for marking, labeling and placarding.  All of the changes are afforded a transition date of December 31, 2015. Labelmaster will be making any necessary adjustments to our product line to ensure compliance for our customers.
  • Readers should pay careful attention to the new requirements in paragraph 5.1.2.1, where the lettering of the “OVERPACK” marking must now be at least 12 mm high.  The lettering of the “SALVAGE” marking is also required to be at least 12 mm high.
  • In  paragraph 5.2.1.1, the size of the UN number and the letters “UN” was clarified so that it now reads “the size of the UN number and the letters ‘UN’ shall be at least 12 mm high, except for packages of 30 liters capacity or less or of 30 kg maximum net mass and for cylinders of 60 litres water capacity when they shall be at least 6 mm in height and except for packages of 5 litres or 5 kg or less when they shall be of an appropriate size.” This was amended to clarify the packaging thresholds for determining the appropriate size of the marking.
  • Fumigation Warning MarkThe dimensions for the fumigation warning mark in Figure 5.5.1 have been enlarged to 400×300 mm.  Currently, the dimensions are 300×250 mm.
  • It will no longer be required to mark fumigated freight containers with the words “DANGEROUS CO2 (DRY ICE) INSIDE. VENTILATE THOROUGHLY BEFORE ENTERING” when solid carbon dioxide (CO2-dry ice) is used for cooling purposes. When substances presenting a risk of asphyxiation are used for cooling or conditioning purposes, such as dry ice (UN 1845), refrigerated liquid nitrogen (UN 1977) or refrigerated liquid argon (UN 1951), the container/vehicle must be externally marked with the new warning mark detailed in 5.5.3.6. Additionally, the specifications for this warning mark were clarified but no substantial changes were introduced.  A clarification of when the documentation must identify the coolant was introduced.  5.5.3.7.1 now reads, “Documents (such as a bill of lading or cargo manifest) associated with the transport of cargo transport units that contain or have contained substances used for cooling or conditioning purposes and have not been completely ventilated before transport shall include the following information:”

Chapter 6

  • The applicability of Chapter 6.1 was clarified by amending paragraph 6.1.1.1(d) to read “Packagings for liquids, other than combination packagings with a capacity exceeding 450 litres.” This is not entirely harmonized with DOT’s definition of non-bulk packagings in 171.8 of the HMR, which states that non-bulk packaging means a packaging which has:
    • A maximum capacity of 450 L (119 gallons) or less as a receptacle for a liquid;
    • A maximum net mass of 400 kg (882 pounds) or less and a maximum capacity of 450 L (119 gallons) or less as a receptacle for a solid; or
    • A water capacity of 454 kg (1000 pounds) or less as a receptacle for a gas as defined in § 173.115 of this subchapter.

    It will be interesting to see if PHMSA proposes any revisions to the non-bulk definition in the next HM-215 harmonization rule.

  • The required marking that indicates the year and month during which 1H, 3H and for plastic inner receptacles of composite IBCs was amended to provide flexibility in how the last two digits of the year of manufacture may be displayed in 6.1.3.1 (e). Also, a new note was added that reads: “NOTE: Other methods that provide the minimum required information in a durable, visible and legible form are also acceptable.”
  • In Chapter 6.2, amendments were made to clarify when updated ISO standards for the construction of gas receptacles must be used.  Generally the new standards will apply to new construction receptacles. Previously manufactured receptacles will be authorized so long as they continue to meet the periodic inspection and test requirements.  Grandfather provisions for continued manufacture under existing standards were included and several standards were updated to the latest revisions.
  • An alternative to the water bath test for “Receptacles, small, containing gas” (UN2037) and “Fuel cell cartridges containing flammable gas” (UN3478) was included in 6.2.4. The alternative method mirrors the method already provided for aerosols in the UN Model Regulations.
  • Numerous amendments were incorporated in Chapter 6.4 based on work conducted by the IAEA TRANSCC Committee, including new “excepted package” requirements for uranium hexafluoride in a quantity of less than 0.1 kg per package.
  • Minor amendments were introduced related to the IBC and large packaging stacking symbol in Chapter 6.5 and 6.6.

* * * * *

Labelmaster staff attend international dangerous goods transport meetings in order to keep our customers abreast of developments to international, regional, modal and domestic regulations. Our attendance also supports the organizations that we participate in, including the Dangerous Goods Advisory Council (DGAC), the Council on Safe Transportation of Hazardous Articles (COSTHA) and the Dangerous Goods Trainers Association (DGTA). Should you have any questions about the amendments outlined above, please don’t hesitate to contact me.