As much as we love getting together with hazmat pros from around the world at the Dangerous Goods Symposium every September, we have to admit there were several advantages to this year’s all-virtual event:
- You could attend sessions in your pajamas
- You could mutter objections to the speaker’s opinion without having everyone at your table look at you funny.
- You could go to the bathroom whenever you needed to.
But the single best thing about this year’s Symposium was that you could attend every session you wanted. And even if you missed one, you could watch the full streaming session the next day.
Now that the 2020 Symposium is in the books, we wanted to revisit our favorite moments—and make sure you could link to any of the streaming sessions you may have missed. Here are eleven of the top highlights—in no particular order—from the 2020 Dangerous Goods Symposium!
(NOTE: When you click on any of the session links in this post, you’ll be directed to the Events page, but you won’t see any sessions. Look for the box above Canada in the map on the right, then click the Past box to reveal links to all DG Symposium sessions.)
- Nick Warner on lithium battery fires. The videos from Warner—Cofounder and Principal of the Energy Storage Response Group—were a blast to watch (haha), but the message was even more impactful. If you’ve ever thought the numerous, highly detailed regulations about lithium battery transport might be excessive, watch these video and remember what workers and firefighters have to deal with when thermal runaway isn’t contained.
- Bridging the generational training gap. How do you effectively train people from four different generations? LaQuita Donald of Genuine Parts Company and Labelmaster’s Rhonda Jessop shared essential advice for any organization who values higher levels of competence for its people working in Dangerous Goods.
- Pros and cons of digital lithium battery training. What can go wrong during an online lithium battery training session? Just about everything—as we saw in a hilarious video from Geoff Leach of The Dangerous Goods Office Ltd. and Trevor Howard of Emirates.
- Regulatory updates, part 1. PHMSA’s Shane Kelly gave us a look behind the curtain at how rules are made to balance the needs of commerce and public safety, while Vinny Desiderio described how the U.S. Postal Inspection Service educates people about the dangers of mailing Dangerous Goods—and how they deal with shippers who don’t get the message.
- Chinese regulatory intricacies. Not only are Chinese Dangerous Goods regulations often more restrictive than those in Europe or the U.S.—their regulatory structure can be baffling, too. Terry Guo, of the Institute of Hazardous Material Management, shared a detailed breakdown of what hazmat organizations can expect when the y ship into, out of or within China.
- Compliance vs competence in hazmat training. “There’s a large gray area between what’s legally required and what can be considered competent,” said Suncor’s Jade Eldridge. “Compliance is the bare minimum, but competence is a higher bar. In reality, training just opens the door to the first stage of competence.”
- The new lithium battery test summary requirement. CHEMTREC’s Kevin Bryan detailed how organizations have responded to the requirement which took effect in January 2020, while George Kerchner of PRBA described key issues his group is urging the UN sub-committee to address.
- Updates on SAE’s G27 Lithium Battery Packaging Standards. They were supposed to take two years, but five years later they’re still not here. PRBA’s Kerchner outlined the daunting complexity that has delayed this much-awaited standard and described the benefits that may ultimately result from this committee’s work.
- Regulatory updates, part 2. PHMSA’s Duane Pfund and IATA’s Dave Brennan shared valuable insight into how much effort and collaboration go into every small change in the regulations. Meanwhile, Diego Gotelli of CIQUIME described his years of effort to build a harmonized framework governing packaging, documentation, inspections, violations and sanctions for Central and South America.
- De-mystifying explosives. Ben Barrett of DG Advisor, LLC has been working for the last six years with the UN GHS Sub-Committee to reclassify explosives for safer handling. From the mass explosion of Class 1.1 to the relatively harmless Class 1.4S, there are now 35 possible combinations of hazard class and compatibility group.
- Live lithium battery panel. The lithium battery panel was in session, and hazmat pros from all over the world were firing away with their best questions. From packaging standards to Competency Based Training to stricter penalties (and potential alternatives) for violations, this was a rare opportunity to get unfiltered insights from the world’s leading experts on lithium battery issues.
Thanks for joining us at the 2020 Dangerous Goods Symposium!
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