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June 2008 Newsletter

Upcoming Dangerous Goods Training Dates at JFK and on the web

  • June 3, Transporting Radioactive Material
  • June 10, Dangerous Goods by Ocean - Recurrent Training
  • June 17-18-19, Dangerous Goods by Air - Initial Training - limited openings
  • August 5, Dangerous Goods by Air - Recurrent Training
  • August 12-13-14, Dangerous Goods by Air - Initial Training
  • On Line Training Program for the Cosmetics Industry - available 24/7.

Our complete 2007 training schedule is posted on this website.

Check your current training records - if you are close to the expiration date make your reservations now for any of our classes throughout the year. We always remind attendees a few days prior to the class.

U.S. Independence Day - July 4, 2008

Are you planning on shooting off some fireworks?

We all know that fireworks can be terribly dangerous when shipped by air or any other mode of transportation. But when it comes to celebrating our national holiday we tend to forget those dangers in transportation by loading up our vehicles with consumer fireworks and then participating in firework displays at family picnics and backyard barbeques.

Your writer has been involved with hazardous materials for more than 42 years and we learned a lot about the dangers of fireworks very early on. As young parents of small children we were very concerned about our children's safety so we never used fireworks and taught our children to avoid any fireworks used by neighbors. Our children are now adults with young children of their own and they follow those same rules with their children.

In our July 2006 Newsletter, we made the following comment:

"Each year at this time newspapers and TV news programs detail numerous tragedies caused by fireworks. Children are particularly vulnerable because they trust their parents and other adults. We can recount many stories of children victimized by thoughtless adults who should have left fireworks displays to the professionals.  Children who have had hands or fingers blown off are not unusual stories in newspapers published on July 5th each year. Others have lost their lives due to carelessness or stupidity in handling fireworks.

In our community a couple of years ago, a young father was firing off rocket-type fireworks in order to entertain his family and neighbors at a block party. One rocket never fired and after a couple of minutes he went to inspect the faulty rocket. As he leaned over the firing tube, the rocket roared to life and decapitated the poor soul. After the rocket hit the man, it went wildly into a wooded area behind his home and set fire to trees.

Last week, on a highway in a neighboring community, the county police pulled over a truck with out-of-state license plate for a routine inspection. The truck contained 9000 lbs. (4082 kg.) of  fireworks - enough explosives to destroy every building within 300 metres. The truck was not placarded. The driver had false shipping papers. The driver had no HAZMAT training nor a DOT Hazmat Registration."

Please! Avoid a potential tragedy. Don't play with fireworks.

Facts & figures

  • In 2005, 10,800 people were treated at hospital emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries. More than half (54%) of 2005 fireworks injuries were burns. Contusions and lacerations were second (29%), and were twice as common as burns when the injury was to any part of the head or face, including the eye. Hands or fingers were the part of the body injured in 30% of the incidents.  In 24% of the cases, the eye was involved; other parts of the face or head accounted for 20% of the injuries.

  • The highest risks of fireworks injury are to school-age children. In 2005, nearly half of the people injured by fireworks were under the age of 15.  The highest injury rate relative to population was for ages 10-14 with nearly 3 times the risk of the entire population.

  • Males accounted for nearly 7 out of every 10 (69%) fireworks injuries.

  • Based on the amount of time and quantities in use, fireworks pose a higher risk of fire death than any other consumer product. Although cigarettes are the leading cause of fire death, the risk that someone will die from fire when fireworks are being used is higher relative to the corresponding risk when cigarettes are burning.

  • On Independence Day in a typical year, more U.S. fires are reported than on any other day, and fireworks account for half of those fires, more than any other cause of fires.

  • Five states ban the use of fireworks by consumers (DE, MA, NJ, NY, and RI). The other 45 states and the District of Columbia permit some or all consumer fireworks. 

The American Pyrotechnics Association has compiled a helpful map and directory of state-by-state fireworks control laws

Source: NFPA’s Fireworks, by John R. Hall, Jr., April 2007


Limited Quantities by Ocean (IMDG Code)

We noted in our December 2006 Newsletter that some NVO's were refusing to accept reservations for limited quantity shipments by water unless the shipper provided extensive details about quantities, and types of inner containers on the dangerous goods declaration. In most cases they wanted to information in areas of the declaration form inconsistent with the precise order of the basic information (UN #, PSN, Class or Division and PG number) that is required under all national and international regulations.

We pointed out that the additional information was not part of any regulation and we still to this day have not ever received a valid explanation other than "because we want it".

The International Vessel Operators Hazardous Materials Association has submitted a proposal to the Sub-Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods to clarify that the additional information is not a requirement of the IMDG Code. VOHMA made the submission after two carriers, Maersk and CMA-CMG, announced that they would require that information before accepting limited quantity shipments.

A survey by the influential Hazmat Packager & Shipper trade magazine indicates that no other carriers
Intend to demand such information and most consider it and impediment to commerce, hinders commerce and will cause confusion in trying to decipher such an overload of information not to mention trying to upgrade computer programs.

We hope that DGAC and COSTHA and the DOT will join with Hazmat Packager & Shipper to support VOHMA's proposal.

At R-A Specialists there is hardly a day that we do not learn something new.....

With the price of oil, gasoline, and natural gas rising at what seems by the minute, we have been challenged by a number of shipments that seem to show some promise in reducing our dependence on oil. As a result, we've had to cope with methods of shipping all sizes of fuel cells by air and by ocean. We've worked with some brilliant staff members of some promising companies and as we tackle the transportation issues we learn a little bit more each day. We thank our clients for sharing some of their expertise with us.

FAA Pilot Hazmat Notification

U.S. Flag Carriers are reminded that the pilot notification required by 49CFR 175.33 includes both the number and types of packaging.

We have conversations with airline personnel on a daily basis. Some airline cargo personnel have noted that their pilot notification forms do not address the "types of packaging", i.e., drums, fibreboard boxes, wood boxes, plastic drums, etc.

Two possible reasons - 

  1. 49CFR Part175.33 refers to the description requirements in 172.202, which requires that information on documentation as well as the telephone number of a person not aboard the aircraft from whom the information contained in the notification of pilot-in-command can be obtained. The aircraft operator must ensure the telephone number is monitored at all times the aircraft is in flight (usually the flight dispatcher or the cargo operations department). Because of a possible oversight, the airline never up-dated the form and may not be in compliance with the regulations.

  2. The airline may be a party to DOT SP-14527 which states:
    49 CFR § 175.33 in that the packaging type must be noted on the Notification to Pilot in Command, except as provided herein.

Further regarding the Special Permit:
SPECIAL PROVISIONS: a. A current copy of this special permit must be maintained at the principal place of business but must be available electronically at each location where packages are offered under the terms of this special permit.

The SP was first issued to FedEx on August 24, 2007. A number of U.S. Flag carriers have become parties to the special permit. If you are involved with the pilot notification and it does not address the type of packaging check with your company's hazardous materials compliance coordinator to see if your company is a party to the permit or an innocent victim of oversight.

At the present time 13 U.S. Flag air carriers have applied for the Special Permit 14527.

Mark Your Calendar

30th Annual Conference and Hazardous Materials Transportation Exposition
November 5-7, 2008
Hyatt Regency Savannah
Savannah, Georgia

Check the DGAC website for additional information – www.dgac.org

If you are not a DGAC Member, you should consider joining this great organization.
DGAC is a huge source of information for us all year long.

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