Changes at the U.S. D.O.T.
RSPA - the Research and Special Programs Administration's functions dealing with hazardous materials/dangerous goods compliance have been moved to the new Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). RSPA no longer exists.
PHMSA will oversee the safety of the more than 800,000 daily shipments of hazardous materials in the United States and the 64 percent of the nation’s energy that is transported by pipelines.
Research type personnel in RSPA have been moved to the new Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA).
RITA will be dedicated to the advancement of the department’s priorities for innovation and research in transportation technologies and concepts
Most of us will not notice much of a difference other than the new business cards used by compliance and enforcement personnel that we have been dealing with over the years. Their job functions will remain essentially the same in the new D.O.T. Administration.
U.S. Importers and brokers (and some carriers) have to do a good job in alerting their overseas associates about the new U.S. Regulation concerning primary lithium battery shipments to the U.S.
The packages must be marked:
‘‘Primary Lithium batteries-Forbidden for transport aboard passenger aircraft’’
The restriction does not apply to those primary batteries that are installed in apparatus and equipment or spare batteries packed in passengers’ checked luggage. However, the requirement for prevention of short circuits is still mandatory for all types of batteries.
Secondary (rechargeable) lithium batteries are used in camcorders, cell phones, and other
portable electronic devices and are not included in this emergency regulation by the U.S. D.O.T./RSPA. But they are regulated as UN 3090.
At a recent public comment meeting concerning the batteries FedEx and Air Transport Association spokesmen pointed out that packaging was the key to safety as opposed to banning the batteries. We agree with that position. Too often batteries that are excepted by virtue of special provision A-45 get no attention when it comes to packaging to prevent short circuits or the new marking requirement. It appears that those shippers (or their forwarders) just want to hear the magical phrase "not restricted per special provision A-45" and all references to good packaging and protection against short circuits and the new marking requirements are totally ignored.
We can't help but wonder if counterfeit batteries might be a significant factor in the incidents cited by the National Transportation Safety Board, the U.S. FAA, and the Air Line Pilots Association.
Next Problem concerning lithium batteries - cells & batteries for re-cycling.
Maybe we are making mountains out of molehills, but, by air, the last paragraph in P/I 903 states that discharged cells are forbidden from transport. A discharged cell is one where the voltage is 2 volts or lower or is 2/3 of the voltage of the undischarged cell. Does "discharged" mean "used?"
We think "yes!" Does 2 volts mean "dead?" We doubt that.
Used lithium batteries are shipped to Asia every day for re-cycling as non-restricted cargo.
24 hour Emergency Phone Contact
Effective April 1, 2005, the U.S. Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) require that
an aircraft operator:
- Place on the notification of pilot-in-command (NOPC) or in the cockpit of the aircraft a telephone number that can be contacted during an in-flight emergency to obtain information about any hazardous materials aboard the aircraft;
- retain and provide upon request a copy of the NOPC, or the information
contained in it, at the aircraft operator’s principal place of business, or the
airport of departure, for 90 days, and at the airport of departure until the flight
leg is completed; and
- make readily accessible, and provide upon request, a copy of the NOPC, or the information contained in it, at the planned airport of arrival until the flight leg is completed.
Excuse us, but, item number 1 refers to an in-flight emergency. With most aircraft the flight deck is manned by 2 persons. With an in-flight emergency, it would appear to us that neither one of those two vital crewmembers are going to be in a position to have a friendly chat with the manufacturer or their agency concerning the dangerous goods incident. The flight deck crew should be heading for the nearest airport after declaring an emergency. Preparations for a potential emergency landing, air traffic communications, possible dumping of fuel, instructions to cabin crew members would appear to be not only time consuming but would also require the utmost concentration. So, when would the crew member find the time to make a call?
Items 2 and 3 make sense. If an investigation is warranted, and surely it would, all of that information on the pilot notification form would be very important in a subsequent investigation. By having the information immediately accessible at the point of departure it could save that flight crew some valuable time if the originating airport could provide emergency responders at the destination airport with all of that vital information, relieving the flight crew of at least one function in an emergency.
Cigarette Lighters and Matches
Effective April 14, 2005, U.S. TSA will start enforcing a new security initiative banning all types of cigarette lighters and matches carried by passengers on all flights operating under U.S. jurisdiction. TSA originally stated that these items could be packed in checked luggage. However, it should be pointed out that the U.S. FAA bans matches and cigarette lighters from checked luggage as a safety issue and has had that rule in effect for many years.
TSA also bans the sale of lighters and matches in secure areas of airports (points beyond the screening areas).
Readers might wish to check the FAA information on hazardous materials carried by passengers.
Click on the following link to see what can, or can't, be carried on an aircraft - http://ash.faa.gov/these.asp
Security Training Programs
Since March 25, 2003, U.S. hazmat employers have had a responsibility to insure that their hazmat employees have had security awareness training. The employees must receive initial training within 90 days of hiring and recurrent security training every three years, which are the same requirements for hazardous materials training. We have been including the security awareness training as part of our initial and recurrent training since January 2003. Our training records reflect that this training has been accomplished. We also provide the employer with a copy of the D.O.T. Security Awareness Training Program so that the employer can proceed to train the other hazmat employees and we suggest that they ought to provide the training for other employees in related transportation functions even if they are not technically hazmat employees.
Feedback from hazmat employees that attend our training programs indicates that the employers rarely follow-up with the security training. We would point out that all hazmat employees must have received initial awareness training prior to March 24, 2006 or at their next recurrent training, whichever comes first.
U.S. Regulations may also require a more formal training program and U.S. companies should examine 49CFR 172.800-172.804 to determine compliance.
Hazardous Materials/Dangerous Goods Training
Check your training records now! We receive frequent telephone inquiries concerning expiration dates for re-training (recurrent training). We are not authorized to allow anyone to exceed the time limits on training. Please do not ask.
ICAO/IATA/IMO require 2 years between training programs for airline and ocean carrier personnel. The U.S. FAA requires annual training for U.S. Flag Carriers and their subcontractors.
Both ICAO and IMO allow the competent authority in each state (country) to determine the period between training programs for non-carrier personnel. U.S. shippers, forwarders, public warehouses and truckers are required to be re-trained at least every three years. Refer to 49CFR 172.704 for guidance..
The TSA has mandated security background checks for drivers with commercial drivers licenses (CDL) with Hazmat Endorsements. Estimated costs for such background checks are between $90 and $100. Whether the drivers or the companies will bear the costs is open to debate.
Upcoming Training Dates
March 9, 2005 - Recurrent Air Transportation
March 21-April 15, 2005 - reserved for in-house training programs
April 11-12-13, 2005 - Initial Air Transportation
May 24, 2005 - Recurrent Air Transportation
June 1, 2005 - Recurrent Ocean Transportation
June 7-8-9, 2005 - Initial Air Transportation
Allow us to get off our lecture platform and get on to our soap box for just a few minutes.
Thanks to New York's early morning WFAN radio personality Don Imus, Americans are finding out a lot about autism and at least some of the causes. Mercury contamination appears to be a major cause although more research has to be accomplished on the subject. Children's early vaccinations may be a significant factor in the increase in autism over the last ten or so years. Thimerosal is a mercury compound added to some vaccinations as a preservative.
Exposure to high levels of metallic, inorganic, or organic mercury can permanently damage the brain, kidneys, and developing fetus. Effects on brain functioning may result in irritability, shyness, tremors, changes in vision or hearing, and memory problems according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry in the U.S.
As part of the job training portion of our hazmat training programs we explain to attendees the importance of limiting your exposure from accidental spills. With the publicity that mercury exposure may be related to the drastic increase in autism ought to make us all give some thought on eliminating risks of exposure.
You and your children might be interested in the following links.