Hazmat hopes: A 2018 wish list from top Dangerous Goods professionals

Last November, we asked our readers a simple question: What’s your biggest wish for 2018 in the entire Dangerous Goods galaxy?

What regulation would you change? What stress-inducing process would you simplify? What one thing would you change to make your job easier—and the world safer?

DG pros from all over responded, with wishes ranging from highly specific technologies and regulatory improvements to sweeping, industry-wide transformations. One anonymous wish—“a shiny, new, Dangerous Goods Teleporter”—would put most of us out of work, but most of these wishes would be welcome throughout the world of hazmat transport.

Get ready for the 2018 Dangerous Goods Wish List!

Regulations reimagined

I wish the lithium battery regulations were simpler and more straightforward. It is extremely difficult trying to communicate these regulations clearly and make them easy to understand when talking with our leadership teams, customers, IT teams—all the way down to our hourly warehouse employees on the floor. As a company, we want to be compliant and abide by the regulations, but the complexity adds to the difficulty.

—Cody DeGrush, Hazardous Materials Manager, GEODIS

Apart from wanting stronger arms to carry around the 20 pounds of regulatory texts required for my Dangerous Goods shipping trainings, ideally I want the lithium battery regulations to stop changing so much—they make my head hurt and my trainees confused! I think the galaxy probably won’t grant me that wish for a while … although I did see a shooting star during the recent meteor shower, so maybe my luck will be changing!

—Jacqueline Hardt, Senior Safety and Hazardous Materials Consultant, Zoubek Consulting

My wish would be that the Limited Quantity regulations were written in plain language so they were easier to understand, explain and comply with.

—LaQuita Donald, Environment and Hazardous Materials Compliance Manager, Motion Industries

I would wish for greater clarity in the reciprocal usage permissions between Canada and the United States in reference to labels and placards. This issue causes a lot more grief than people suspect. The 49 CFR is pretty clear, but the Canada TDGR is not.

—Nikki Burgess, Regulatory Specialist, Labelmaster

What I would like to see is 49 CFR 172.101 changed to have the UN number in the second column of the hazardous materials table. The table is set up with the UN number in the middle of the shipping name [a previously used and no longer compliant format]. It would be nice if PHMSA could arrange the table so it reads left to right in the proper sequence; it confuses new employees that it is set up the current way.

—Richard Finnegan, EH&S Manager, Industrial Business, Veolia North America

More harmonization between regulations.

Tracie Cady, Service Manager, Labelmaster

Perfectly harmonized regulations.

—Rhonda Jessup, Global Learning Leader, Labelmaster

Inventions imagined

It would honestly be a universal (flexible) damaged lithium ion battery recovery box that is cheap and quick to produce and can be used with multiple products.

—Chris Harvey, Director, Recall Solutions, Stericycle

We need a cost-effective fire/explosion containment unit load device, which would be a game changer for DG safety for air transport. We need one of the promising new battery chemistries to prove to be practical, economical, and incapable of igniting or producing flammable gases.

—Neil McCulloch, Senior Manager, International Product Development, Labelmaster

One DG computer program to rule them all. From shipper paper creation to validation to delivery, every shipper [and] every carrier using the same program.

—Eric Fischer, Hazardous Materials Manager, Vanguard Logistics

Education remediation

I wish there were an accredited educational program, at the university level, that would attract young professionals to the Dangerous Goods community and establish DG as a legitimate professional path.

—Howard Skolnik, President/CEO, Skolnik Industries

[That] everyone knows the training requirements.

—Daniel Mynick, Associate Consultant, Labelmaster

I would wish that the hazmat-level education were equal across suppliers, vendors and customers. One of the most difficult areas to manage is a customer who does not understand that they sell limited quantities (because they think their products do not qualify as hazmat; e.g., hairspray or cologne) or lithium battery products. E-commerce demands fast express delivery service. This level of service cannot be achieved easily or cheaply.

—Erin Gaul, Senior Manager Hazardous Materials, GEODIS

Dreaming big

My wish is for all the hazmat heroes, who single-handedly keep their companies safe and compliant, to demonstrate the real business value of their efforts. A successful hazmat shipment is more than avoiding a fine—it’s actually saving money and making the company more profitable. I wish their stories and efforts could be celebrated more within their organizations so they got the resources and tools they needed to keep up with the complexity of DG transport.

—Rob Finn, VP of Marketing and Product Management, Labelmaster

If I could change anything in “my” DG galaxy, it would be a greater understanding by upper management of DG’s overall impact on our company. Our DG department has the opportunity to intervene at the earliest possible moment in the costing and vetting of new business opportunities, while creating and monitoring internal processes that align with regulatory compliance that improves both customer and company sustainability. The greatest hindrance in securing this level of sustainability is the lack of unwavering support by regional and global managements.

Rusty McMains, Global DG/HSE Specialist, CEVA Logistics

That the C-suite recognizes that maintaining a safe and compliant culture is not a cost center, but can actually be a profit center and a competitive advantage. In most cases, we see many companies possess an outdated technology and resource infrastructure, which results in added time and costs.

—Alan Schoen, President, Labelmaster

If there were one thing I would wish for it would be that Dangerous Goods, no matter where they are from, would always be transported in accordance with the requirements.

—Geoff Leach, Director, The Dangerous Goods Office

See more 2018 DG wishes below—and feel free to leave a comment and add your own!

Labelmaster is a full-service provider of goods and services for hazardous materials and Dangerous Goods professionals, shippers, transport operators and EH&S providers. See our full line of solutions at labelmaster.com.

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  1. Donna Edminster said:

    My wish for 2018 is that the US regulators would revise the regulations regarding Combustible Liquids to make it easier to import/export these materials.

  2. Gene Sanders said:

    I wish that our air travel system would let passengers know how much of what they take with them are Dangerous Goods, even if allowed, so that when they ship them from work they don’t do it undeclared.