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August 2009 Newsletter

Training – it’s the law!

If you have had any doubts about whether you need training or just who within your organization needs training you should check the U.S. DOT/PHMSA-DGAC pamphlet dealing with these issues. You can download the pamphlet by clicking on this link http://www.phmsa.dot.gov/...Program_Guide.pdf

In the current economic environment we are all trying our best to operate our businesses as economically as possible. However, where employee or public safety is involved, hazmat/dangerous goods training programs are not areas where you can afford to be frugal. Potential law suits due to accidents, employee safety and lost time from injuries or worse, fines from government agencies, or loss of your good reputation with business peers, all should dictate that you must have a safe, reliable, and well-trained staff.

Many years ago we received a letter from an up and coming freight forwarder that is now a giant in the industry. The writer complimented us concerning a warehouse-driver type of course that we conducted. The author stated that he no longer had damaged hazardous materials shipments but damages and claims for general cargo had been almost totally eliminated because the employees treated all forms of cargo with care. And that is how it should be. Those of us involved with distribution and transportation should be providing excellent service to all of our clients. The end result is loyal clients, steady business, and a safe environment.

Safety is the law, but it is also good business.

So? Who needs to be trained?

From the pamphlet listed above, a hazmat employee may be a person (including a self-employed person or an owner-operator of a motor vehicle) who:

  • Determines the hazard class of a hazardous material
  • Selects a hazardous materials packaging
  • Places warning signs, blocks wheels, and sets brakes on tank cars placed for loading or unloading with closures open
  • Fills or loads a hazardous materials packaging
  • Secures a closure on a filled hazardous materials package or container
  • Marks a package to indicate that it contains a hazardous material
  • Labels a package to indicate that it contains a hazardous material
  • Prepares a hazardous materials shipping paper
  • Provides and maintains hazardous materials emergency response information
  • Reviews a hazardous materials shipping paper to verify compliance with the HMR or international equivalents
  • For persons importing a hazardous material in to the United States, provides the shipper with information as to the requirements of the HMR that apply to the shipment of the material while in the United States
  • Certifies that a hazardous material is in proper condition for transportation in conformance with the requirements of the HMR
  • Blocks and braces a hazardous materials package in a freight container or transport vehicle
  • Segregates a hazardous materials package in a freight container or transport vehicle from incompatible cargo
  • Selects, provides, or affixes placards for a freight container or transport vehicle to indicate that it is carrying hazardous materials
  • Loads or unloads hazardous materials for the purpose of transportation
  • Tests, reconditions, or repairs hazmat packaging • Operates a vehicle used to transport hazmats

If you perform any of the above you must be trained.

Have you checked your training records lately?
Upcoming Dangerous Goods Training Dates at JFK and on the web (All Feature Lithium Batteries)

  • Dangerous Goods by Air - Recurrent August 11
  • Dangerous Goods by Air – Initial August 25-26-27
  • Dangerous Goods by Ocean – Recurrent September 22
  • Domestic Cosmetics Shippers On-Line Program available 24/7
  • In-House Training subject to schedule availability.

Our complete 2009 training schedule is posted on this website.

Click on TRAINING on our opening page in order to reserve your place now. Remember, if you ship, handle, or transport dangerous goods, U.S. Transportation Law as well as International Laws you must receive initial training and then recurrent training every two or three years thereafter, depending on the mode of transportation.

Lithium Batteries

We’re beginning to believe that no newsletter is complete without some new information on lithium batteries.

The U.S. D.O.T./PHMSA will be issuing a new set of proposed regulations before the end of the year. In addition to trying to harmonize the regulations with the international standards, PHMSA will clarify certain relaxations of the regulations for batteries shipped by highway and other issues.

Since we are on the subject anyway, we thought we might bring up some items that a significant number of shippers pay little attention to….

UN Tests for lithium batteries:

  • Test 1: Altitude Simulation
  • Test 2: Thermal Test
  • Test 3: Vibration
  • Test 4: Shock
  • Test 5: External Short Circuit
  • Test 6: Impact
  • Test 7: Overcharge
  • Test 8: Forced Discharge

These tests are vital to the everyday safety of lithium batteries in transportation and in personal use. We would not handle those batteries if the MSDS did not state specifically that the batteries were “UN Tested”. For “guardhouse lawyers”, no, this does not mean the batteries were actually tested by the U.N. but that the batteries successfully passed all the tests conducted by a responsible test laboratory with the proper technical equipment to perform the tests according to the U.N. Manual of Tests – the orange book.

Rechargeable lithium batteries manufactured after 1 January 2009 must be marked with the watt-hour rating so that we can determine if the batteries may be shipped under class 9 or as an exemption from that classification, but there are still very strict regulations that must be followed.

Our soap box:

We rant and rave and preach about safety in transportation most of the time.

Truckers: Remember to block and brace your cargo, keep your documents on a clipboard or in a pouch on your driver’s side door, keep your doors locked and don’t use your handheld cell phone while driving and, above all, don’t text message when driving your vehicle.

Lost, stolen or tampered cargo

Transport Canada has just released interim order concerning dangerous goods that are lost, stolen or otherwise unlawfully tampered with. You can read the order by clicking here: http://www.tc.gc.ca/tdg/clear/interimorder.htm

Dangerous Goods Advisory Council

For over thirty years the DGAC has been a leader in promoting safety in transportation. The council has been an advocate for the chemical industry and transporters of dangerous goods/hazardous materials. Your company should seriously consider becoming a member of this outstanding organization.

Mark your calendar:
31st Annual Conference & Hazardous Materials Transportation Exposition
November 18-20, 2009,
Grand Hyatt San Antonio,
600 East Market Street,
San Antonio, TX 78205

Check out DGAC’s website for details – www.dgac.org

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