The UN experts had plenty to chew on at their December 2019 session, including several issues relating to multimodal harmonisation
The UN Sub-committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (TDG) held its 56th session this past 4 to 10 December with Duane Pfund (US) as chair and Claude Pfauvadel (France) sitting as vice-chair. The session was attended by experts from 18 countries and representatives from the EU, the Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail (OTIF), the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and 20 non-governmental organisations.
The session was the second of four planned for the current regulatory biennium, which will result in the adoption this coming December by the parent Committee of the changes that will appear in the 22nd revised edition of the UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (alternatively known as the UN Model Regulations or the ‘Orange Book’).
The first part of this three-part report on the December meeting (HCB April 2020, page 50) covered discussions on the transport of explosives, classification and packaging, and electric storage systems. The second part (HCB May 2020, page 57) focused on some significant changes involving the transport of gases. This final part looks at the other proposals for amendment and discussions surrounding harmonisation with other regulations.
The Council on Safe Transportation of Hazardous Articles (COSTHA) recalled how the Sub-committee had agreed in 2004 that there was a need to differentiate the hazard communication for oxidisers and organic peroxides and had adopted the new red/yellow label and placard for Division 5.2 organic peroxides. COSTHA felt that, given this obvious distinction from the all-yellow label and placard for Division 5.1 oxidising substances, indicating the division number in the lower portion is superfluous and that this should be changed to show just the class number.
The Sub-committee failed to see any safety benefits in the idea, although it acknowledged the rationale behind the proposal. On balance, it was not supported.
Spain and the International Association of Fire and Rescue Services (CTIF) followed up on their joint proposal at the previous session to improve hazard communication in the transport of gases. Their point was that, while the inclusion of the gas cylinder image within the Division 2.2 label clearly identifies the hazard, the same is not true of the labels for Divisions 2.1 and 2.3, which are, at least from a distance, hard to distinguish from those for Classes 3 and 6, respectively. The original proposal had sought to include the gas bottle symbol in the lower half of labels 2.1 and 2.3.
That proposal was not dismissed but it did generate no little discussion. It had been decided to set up a correspondence group to continue the work, which in the interim had provided a forum for an exchange of views. It had recognised the safety benefits but had also identified some serious difficulties in implementation, not least that there are around 2 billion cylinders in use around the world, already labelled. Indeed, an informal document from the World LPG Association (WPLGA) and Liquid Gas Europe (LGE) pointed out that it was far from clear whether the change would correct erroneous responses on the part of the emergency services since, having searched for examples of erroneous response, had found none. Furthermore, there are many other ways of communicating the hazard.
Nonetheless, work did carry on in a lunchtime working group, where it was agreed that the original proposal did not offer a suitable way to deal with the matter. Some compromises were suggested, and the group also thought that the emerging digital solutions for hazard communication could make the topic irrelevant. At the end of all this, Spain indicated that work would continue intersessionally and that another formal proposal would be forthcoming at a future session.
A joint paper from the International Confederation of Plastics Packaging Manufacturers (ICPP) and the International Confederation of Container Reconditioners (ICCR) urged the extension of the existing permission for the use of recycled plastics in the manufacture of packagings for dangerous goods. The subject had been raised at the previous session and received some support, it being felt that this would support the EU Commission’s pledge to increase the level of plastics recycling and other similar initiatives around the world.
Currently, the use of recycled plastics is limited to plastics drums and jerricans; the paper sought to extend this to rigid plastics intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) and to composite IBCs with plastics inner receptacles. Belgium thought it might be worth considering a more generic approach, although the general mood of the Sub-committee was to limit any changes at this point to those proposed by ICPP and ICCR.
The amendment, agreed on a vote, involves the insertion of a new sentence after the first sentence in both 22.214.171.124.2 (for rigid plastics IBCs) and 126.96.36.199.6 (for composite IBCs):
Except for recycled plastics material as defined in 1.2.1, no used material other than production residues or regrind from the same manufacturing process may be used.
Paragraphs 188.8.131.52.5 and 184.108.40.206.9 are deleted. There was no support for the proposal to delete the provisions on quality assurance as it was felt there remains a need for a harmonised approach.
Germany sought to pin down the wording proposed earlier on alternative service equipment for IBCs, which had been left in square brackets. There had been disagreement whether the wording “to withstand the tests”, as used in 220.127.116.11, 18.104.22.168 and 22.214.171.124, should also be used for IBCs in 126.96.36.199.2, or whether the originally proposed “to fulfil the test requirements” worked better in this context. The Sub-committee agreed a slight compromise, so that 188.8.131.52.2 will now read:
The requirements for IBCs in 6.5.3 are based on IBCs currently in use. In order to take into account progress in science and technology, there is no objection to the use of IBCs having specifications different from those in 6.5.3 and 6.5.5, provided that they are equally effective, acceptable to the competent authority and able to successfully fulfil the requirements described in 6.5.4 and 6.5.6. Methods of inspection and testing other than those described in these Regulations are acceptable, provided they are equivalent.
It was, though, felt that some consequential amendments needed in Chapter 1.2 and in 184.108.40.206; Germany will consider these in a separate paper.
Germany also brought another paper with a consequential amendment necessary as a result of special packing provision B15 in packing instruction IBC02, to clarify that it applies to the inner receptacles of composite IBCs rather than the composite IBC as a whole. This too was agreed, with the words “of composite IBCs with a rigid plastics inner receptacle” replaced by “of rigid plastics inner receptacles of composite IBCs” in B15.
Switzerland felt that packagings for Category A medical waste (UN 3549) should be subject to the same requirements as those for UN 3814 and 2900 and that their use should not be limited to five years. In an informal document it offered some changes in 4.1.8. There was both support and opposition to the proposal, although those who supported it in general felt a change to packing provision P622 would be better. It was also suggested that, if Switzerland felt strongly about the issue it could issue a derogation. After the discussion, Switzerland said it would consider making a revised proposal.
The informal working group on fibre-reinforced plastics (FRP) portable tanks gathered at the beginning of the session for three days, with ten government delegations and several industry representatives taking part. It reviewed the work completed through correspondence prior to the session on design approval, inspection, marking, manufacturer quality assurance and specific design criteria. The chair of the group informed the Sub-committee that, while additional work is still needed, a large proportion of the text needed to accommodate FRP tanks within the regulations has now been drafted. It hoped to gather again during the 57th session and to present draft proposals at that meeting.
The UK asked that titanium should be taken into account as a material for the construction of the shells of portable tanks; this is more compatible with certain dangerous goods. While Chapter 6.7 allows tanks to be constructed from metals other than steels, aluminium and aluminium alloys, it does not include minimum properties for other metals and it may be possible to use a grade of titanium that could be too brittle. Its paper offered an addition to 220.127.116.11.3.3 to clarify the position.
There was support in principle for the idea but the text provided by the UK was questioned. The UK expert invited others to send comments in writing so that the proposal can be revised accordingly, with the assistance of Germany.
The European Aerosol Federation (FEA) and the Household and Commercial Products Association (HCPA) returned to a topic they had raised at the previous session, namely the idea of raising the maximum internal pressure of aerosol dispensers. There was support in principle, with some experts noting that RID and ADR have already moved on this issue, although there was debate as to where best to put the proposed amendment. China also thought it worth including provisions addressing aerosols containing different propellants. As a result, the proposal was withdrawn but FEA will work with interested delegations to draw up a revised proposal.
Belgium had earlier noticed a difference between the English and French texts of 18.104.22.168(c)(ii), dealing with the types of steel to be used in classification for corrosivity. It offered some options for the resolution of this problem. The Sub-committee chose the simplest, which was to delete the words “or a similar type” after “(UNS) G10200”. There is also a small change in what is now 22.214.171.124(b) in the Manual of Tests and Criteria.
Germany and the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) returned as promised with a proposal to define the meaning of “structurally serviceable”, which is not harmonised across the modal regulations. Information on the background of the existing text provided by the secretariat had clarified some issues but it was still not clear why the current text focuses on Class 1 substances nor where the 19 mm limit for dents and bends comes from.
While there was opposition from the US for any change, other delegations felt a harmonised approach across all modes would be justified. On a vote, the proposals were adopted. The main change is the addition of text after the existing paragraph in 126.96.36.199:
The cargo transport unit shall be checked to ensure it is structurally serviceable, that it is free of possible residues incompatible with the cargo and that the interior floor, walls and ceiling, where applicable, are free from protrusions or deterioration that could affect the cargo inside and that freight containers are free of damages that affect the weather-tight integrity of the container, when required.
Structurally serviceable means that the cargo transport unit is free from major defects in its structural components. Structural components of cargo transport units for multimodal purpose are e.g. top and bottom side rails, top and bottom end rails, corner posts, corner fittings and, for freight containers, door sill, door header and floor cross members. Major defects include:
(a) Bends, cracks or breaks in structural or supporting members and any damage to service or operational equipment that affects the integrity of the unit;
(b) Any distortion of the over-all configuration or any damage to lifting attachments or handling equipment interface features great enough to prevent proper alignment of handling equipment, mounting and securing on chassis, vehicle or wagon, or insertion into ships' cells; and, where applicable;
(c) Door hinges, door seals and hardware that are seized, twisted, broken, missing or otherwise inoperative.
NOTE: For filling portable tanks and multiple-element gas containers (MEGCs), see Chapter 4.2. For filling bulk containers, see Chapter 4.3.
There is also a consequential amendment in 188.8.131.52, where indents (a) to (i) are replaced with the following (a) to (c):
(a) Bends, cracks or breaks in the structural or supporting members and any damage to service or operational equipment that affects the integrity of the container;
(b) Any distortion of the overall configuration or any damage to lifting attachments or handling equipment interface features great enough to prevent proper alignment of handling equipment, mounting and securing chassis or vehicle, or insertion into ships' cells; and, where applicable.
(c) Door hinges, door seals and hardware that are seized, twisted, broken, missing, or otherwise inoperative.
Germany took issue with the information to be included on the transport document when using salvage packagings. This works when using salvage packagings that are type-approved and marked “T” but the regulations allow other appropriate packagings or large packagings for salvage operations, which are not mentioned in 184.108.40.206.3. In such cases, should it be indicated in the transport document that they are being used for salvage operations? As things stand, the provisions are illogical, Germany said.
There was general agreement with Germany’s point though no agreement was reached on how to resolve it. The expert from Germany said she would work with those who commented, with the aim of submitting a revised proposal at a future session.
During its work to prepare a consolidated version of the Manual of Tests and Criteria, the secretariat had noticed an inconsistency in the arrangement of 37.4, dealing with Test C.1. The Sub-committee agreed and rearranged the structure of that section so that the Introduction is now in 220.127.116.11.
Spain had spotted a consequential amendment that had been overlooked earlier. In the 2017 edition of the Model Regulations new text was introduced in 18.104.22.168(b) to indicate that the words “TEMPERATURE CONTROLLED” must be included as part of the proper shipping name when temperature control is used for stabilisation, but 22.214.171.124.4 was not amended accordingly. Spain also thought it worthwhile to expand on the use of the word “MOLTEN” in the proper shipping name, in the same way as other terms are set out in 126.96.36.199.3.
While there was general support for the amendments, several delegations provided comments. Moreover, as the proposals had been made in informal documents, Spain was invited to consolidate all the proposed amendments, taking the comments into account, in an official document for the next session.
The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions on the control of trans-boundary movements of hazardous wastes and their disposal presented a brief report on the ongoing discussions of an expert working group on the revision of Annexes I to IV of the Convention. In terms of Annex III, the working group has included alignment with GHS and ADR. The experts were invited to consider some proposals and to provide any comments to their counterparts. It is unlikely that any changes made by the expert working group will be approved until 2023.
The UN ECE Secretariat submitted a note with comments made by the RID/ADR/ADN Joint Meeting Ad Hoc Working Group on the harmonisation of RID/ADR/ADN with the UN Recommendations following work by the Joint Meeting to consider the latest round of amendments dropping down from UN level.
Germany had raised a question about the reference to “except for animal material” in table 188.8.131.52.2 of RID/ADR/ADN (Table 1.4.1 in the Model Regulations), its point being that, while ‘animal material’ was formerly mainly carried in cultures and therefore by default was considered Category A infectious substance, this is no longer the case: most ‘animal material’ now fulfils the criteria for classification as Category B. As a result, ‘animal material’ is not considered a high-consequence dangerous good under RID/ADR/ADN. However, the Sub-committee did not consider this wise and did not support its deletion from Table 1.4.1.
The Working Group had felt that 184.108.40.206.2 on the assignment of fireworks to UN 0431 could be clarified and suggested some editorial amendments. The Sub-committee agreed and adopted a revised first sentence for 220.127.116.11.2, which is regarded as a correction to the 21st revised edition of the Model Regulations:
Assignment of fireworks to UN Nos. 0333, 0334, 0335 or 0336, and assignment of articles to UN 0431 for those used for theatrical effects meeting the definition for article type and the 1.4G specification in the default fireworks classification table in 18.104.22.168.5 may be made on the basis of analogy, without the need for Test Series 6 testing, in accordance with the default fireworks classification table in 22.214.171.124.5.
The Working Group had felt that mention of “proper shipping name” in Note 1 to 126.96.36.199.2.1(b) for UN 2900 was incorrect, since the text in lower case characters is not part of the proper shipping name. The Sub-committee did not agree: several experts felt the proposed change could have unintended consequences and that, in any case, the matter is addressed in 188.8.131.52.
The Working Group offered a revision to packing instruction P622 for clarity, which was acceptable to the Sub-committee. As a correction to the 21st revised edition of the Model Regulations, the text of additional requirement 1 of P622 is amended to read:
Fragile articles shall be contained in either a rigid inner packaging or a rigid intermediate packaging.
The Working Group had felt that the use of “UN design type mark” in 184.108.40.206(e) was inappropriate and that “type approval mark” should be used instead, although the Sub-committee disagreed and made no change. On the other hand, the Sub-committee did agree that “must” should be replaced by “shall” in the English version in 220.127.116.11 and 18.104.22.168 and that “a packaging” should be replaced by “an IBC” in 22.214.171.124.3.
In addition, the Sub-committee adopted a number of editorial corrections to the 21st revised edition of the Model Regulations proposed by the Working Group, not all of which apply to the English version.
ICAO presented a paper with some observations and recommendations made by its Dangerous Goods Panel (DGP) following its meeting in April 2019. Most of these related to the provisions applicable to radioactive materials although there were two on other topics. These included a proposed amendment to special provision 388 to show only the proper shipping name for UN 3536, and a proposed revision to the text in 126.96.36.199 allowing more than one mark to appear on a package that conforms to more than one tested packaging design type. ICAO was invited to draw up a formal proposal for amendment for consideration at the next session.
In a similar vein, IMO presented a report of the outcome of the 32nd session of the Editorial and Technical (E&T) Group of the Sub-committee on Carriage of Cargoes and Containers (CCC) that had met in September 2019. That session had been charged with finalising the changes that will appear in Amendment 40-20 of the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code and also with carrying out a comprehensive review of the footnotes used in the Code. In respect of the latter topic, the E&T Group had suggested that consideration should be given to incorporating some of the footnotes into the regulatory text. The chair of the E&T Group said we was proposing to work with the IMO secretariat on a proposal to conduct a similar review of the current notes in the Model Regulations.
IMO’s paper, like that from ICAO, also considered some matters relating to the transport of radioactive material and these were considered alongside a note from the Secretariat summarising earlier discussions on the harmonisation of the Model Regulations with the 2018 edition of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material (SSR-6, Rev 1). The Sub-committee was informed that the proposals and comments raised by ICAO and IMO would be discussed during an inter-agency meeting and submitted for consideration by IAEA as potential corrections to SSR-6, Rev 1. If those corrections are adopted by IAEA, the Sub-committee would be notified at its next session.
In the meantime, the Sub-committee did agree to delete references to the suffix “-96” in the type codes for low dispersible radioactive materials in the examples shown in 188.8.131.52, as a correction to the 21st revised edition of the Model Regulations.
It was also agreed to amend the text of 184.108.40.206.3 on special arrangements, which is based on the definition used in SSR-6, Rev 1 but has proven difficult to translate into some languages. The revised text will be included in the next revised edition of the Model Regulations:
A competent authority may approve provisions under which consignments that do not satisfy all the applicable requirements of these Regulations may be transported under special arrangement (see 1.5.4).
Switzerland offered a proposal to introduce existing provisions from the Universal Postal Union (UPU) Convention on Class 7 excepted packages into the Model Regulations, in order to facilitate the transport of such packages by post. However, the Sub-committee felt that this was an air-specific issue and some delegations noted that such transport is not allowed at national level in their countries. The proposal was withdrawn.
Canada put forward a proposal to amend the Guiding Principles for the Development of the UN Model Regulations to provide further information on the perceived discrepancies between the Limited (LQ) and Excepted Quantity (EQ) thresholds, following a paper at the 55th session of the Sub-committee. Shippers, carriers and trainers have expressed confusion regarding the discrepancies between the respective schemes, given that some dangerous goods are forbidden for transport in EQ – that is, very small quantities contained in robust and tested packagings - yet the same substances are permitted in LQ, that is, in larger quantities contained in non-tested packagings.
Canada’s paper explained how the EQ provisions had been brought into the Model Regulations from the ICAO Technical Instructions and were therefore not based on the same experience as the LQ provisions. The EQ thresholds for the respective dangerous goods correspond to the quantities permitted for transport on passenger aircraft; as such they are generally more restrictive than the equivalent LQ thresholds. Canada felt this background information should be included in Chapter 3.5 of the Guiding Principles.
The Sub-committee welcomed this explanation and agreed to the suggestion, asking the Secretariat to make the necessary changes on the UN ECE website. The Netherlands encouraged ICAO to provide further information on the more restrictive thresholds for EQ and ICAO promised to bring the issue to the attention of DGP.
France updated the Sub-committee on the ongoing work to review and improve the testing of oxidising liquids and solids and the testing methods of Tests O.1, O.2 and O.3. The main work covers issues related to the particle sizes of a solid sample, the friability characteristic and the coated materials. It involves the participation of 13 laboratories from eight different countries in round-robin testing. Experimental data were being gathered and processed at the time of the Sub-committee’s session and it was hoped that it could be finished by the end of 2019. Based on these results, a formal proposal for the amendment of the Manual of Tests and Criteria would be presented at the next session.
The EU and the Netherlands referred to decisions made earlier to update references to OECD Test Guidelines; on examination, it was felt that the current text of 220.127.116.11 could be misleading and offered an alternative. The Sub-committee agreed on the changes to the second sentence of that paragraph with more specific references to the OECD Test Guidelines concerned, and adopted a new sentence at the end, which remains in square brackets pending comments in writing:
[If the test results indicate that the substance or mixture is corrosive, but the test method does not allow discrimination between packing groups, it shall be assigned to packing group I if no other test results indicate a different packing group.]
The expert from Sweden informed the Sub-committee that the work on the review of Chapter 2.1 of GHS is entering its final phase and that the new classification system for explosives will be fully harmonised with the Model Regulations, without entailing changes to the transport classification of explosives. There may be some amendments required in the Manual of Tests and Criteria, which was to be discussed at a joint session of the TDG and GHS Sub-committees at their mid-2020 session.
Germany provided some information on the work of the Informal Working Group on combinations of physical hazards, which was due to meet immediately after the Sub-committee’s session. The experts involved were collating their assessments of possible and impossible combinations of physical hazard classes, which will be used as a living document and form the basis of their discussions. The group will aim to develop criteria or principles to analyse the remaining combinations, taking into account issues such as the safety of testing personnel, limitations in terms of the conduct of tests and the interpretation of their results, and the redundancy of hazard communication.
The UK provided a detailed summary of proposed changes to Annex 1 of GHA, which contains the classification and labelling summary tables. The Sub-committee took note of these amendments, which will not affect the Model Regulations.
China had invited both the TDG and GHS Sub-committees to reconsider the text for the classification of chronic aquatic environmental hazards of mixtures in the Model Regulations and GHS as it was felt that there is some inconsistency. It offered a change to 18.104.22.168.3.4 in the Model Regulations as a way of bringing about closer alignment. While there was general support, some experts felt the proposed wording could be improved. China asked for comments in writing so that a revised proposal could be developed, taking into account also any feedback from the GHS Sub-committee.
The Sub-committee was informed that Gudula Schwan, head of the German delegation, who had been participating in its work since 2005, would no longer be attending as she has taken on new responsibilities within the government. The Sub-committee expressed its gratitude for her work and dedication and wished her every success.
The 57th session of the UN TDG Sub-committee is scheduled to take place from 29 June to 8 July in Geneva; at present it is still listed as going ahead but, as other UN working party and committee meetings scheduled to take place in June and July have already been postponed or cancelled, it is unlikely that it will be going ahead as planned.[post_title] => UN: Keep in step [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => un-keep-in-step [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-04-27 09:26:21 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-04-27 08:26:21 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://hcblive.com/?p=20220 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )
The UN experts had plenty to chew on at their December 2019 session, including several issues relating to multimodal harmonisation