The UN experts have made a few corrections to the current Model Regulations as they made their way through a long list of proposals for amendment
The UN Sub-committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (TDG) held its 56th session this past 4 to 10 December. Duane Pfund (US) acted as chair, with 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 second meeting of the biennium is traditionally one that covers a lot of work and the December session was no exception, with the experts faced by a weighty agenda.
Kicking off with discussions on Class 1 substances and articles, the experts heard from the chairman of the Working Group on Explosives about the ongoing work of the ad hoc working group on the revision of UN test series H, operating under the International Group of Experts on Unstable and Energetic Substances (IGUS) working group on Energetic and Oxidising Substances (EOS). Test series H contains test methods for the determination of self-accelerating decomposition temperature (SADT) and self-accelerating polymerisation temperature (SAPT). A draft was provided for a thorough revision of section 28.1 of the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria.
The Sub-committee took note of the work done and invited experts to provide any comments in writing to the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) so that the proposal can be revised accordingly and presented at the next session in an official document.
Cefic had also brought along a formal proposal to deal with the issue of determining the control temperature of samples of energetic substances, as required by 184.108.40.206.4 and 220.127.116.11 of the Manual of Tests and Criteria, when the SADT is not yet available. At the previous session, Cefic had offered the use of differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) as a possible solution, particularly as this is already referenced in the Manual of Tests and Criteria. Its paper offered a new flowchart to help with the determination of temperature control requirements and a new 20.3.4 in the Manual of Tests and Criteria on the thermal stability of samples and temperature control assessment for transport. It was stressed that any alternative tests should only be applied when it is not possible to meet the requirements of test series H.
Pending final review and recommendation for final adoption by the Working Group on Explosives at the next session, the proposals, with some amendment, were adopted between square brackets.
CLASSIFICATION AND PACKAGING
China observed that, when the entry for UN 3527 Polyester resin kit, solid base material was added to the Dangerous Goods List in the 19th revised edition of the Model Regulations, it was assigned ‘E0’ in column (7b) of the List, following the example of the existing entry, UN 3269, for kits with liquid base material. However, China noted that these kits are always in small packages and the amount of dangerous goods is limited. Having access to the excepted quantity provisions would be a help to shippers without an impact on safety.
It was pointed out that the ‘E0’ code had been intentionally assigned to UN 3269 but it was also noted that special provision 340, which applies to both entries, contains specific provisions for determining the excepted quantity limits applicable to the substances contained in these kits. The Sub-committee was minded to agree to China’s proposal and decided to replace ‘E0’ by “See SP 340 in Chapter 3.3” in column (7b) for both UN 3269 and 3527.
Switzerland returned with a topic that had failed to find a consensus at the last session, viz the transport of rigid plastics intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) after the date of expiry of the last periodic test or inspection for the disposal or recycling of their contents. Its formal proposal was to amend 18.104.22.168 by changing the existing text to refer only to metal IBCs and to add a new paragraph with alternative provisions applicable to rigid plastics and composite IBCs. However, the Sub-committee confirmed that the existing provisions in 22.214.171.124 also apply to non-metal rigid IBCs transported after the date of expiry of their period of use and the expert from Switzerland withdrew the proposal.
The Council on Safe Transportation of Hazardous Articles (COSTHA) followed up on earlier discussions seeking to incorporate in the UN Model Regulations the provisions found in SP 653 in ADR, which provides an exception for UN 1013 Carbon dioxide; its paper noted that this special provision has been in place for more than ten years and that other jurisdictions, including the US, Canada and Israel, have subsequently authorised the alternative markings used in ADR.
Views remained divided, however. Some experts considered that, since the transport conditions depend to a large extent on the mode of transport (especially in air transport), the current variation between the Model Regulations and ADR, which covers only road transport, are justified. Furthermore, some of the approvals issued include additional provisions. Overall, it was felt that a similar approach to that in ADR could be justified for the transport of carbon dioxide by land and sea and that this would increase harmonisation. COSTHA withdrew the proposal but may return with a revised version in light of the comments made.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) raised a question that had been put to it by one of its member airlines. A clock had been offered for transport under UN 3363 Dangerous goods in apparatus; it contained a small sealed capsule containing a mixture of gases, including UN 1037 Ethyl chloride. This is not permitted under the limited quantity provisions, although the sealed capsule containing a Division 2.1 gas is classified as UN 2037 Gas cartridge, which can be shipped as limited quantity. Further, the shipper had determined that the clock could be classified as UN 3363 based on the wording of special provision 301, which places no restriction on the dangerous goods that may be in the articles other than they should be authorised for transport as limited quantities. Packing instruction P907 is assigned to UN 3363 and refers only to gases of Division 2.2, but is not explicit that gases of Division 2.1 are not permitted. IATA felt that this was not the intent, given the prohibition on explosives in articles containing dangerous goods, nos, as stated in 126.96.36.199.
The Sub-committee confirmed that devices containing Division 2.1 gases cannot be assigned to UN 3363 and considered that the text of SP 301 is clear in this respect. On the other hand, it was felt that SP 301 could be amended to clarify that UN 3363 cannot be used for articles that are already assigned a proper shipping name. IATA will submit a revised proposal for the next session.
COSTHA came with another paper describing what it saw as a problem. Special provisions 220, 274 and 318 each require the proper shipping name to be supplemented with further details about the contents and apply largely to nos entries. COSTHA had identified 30 entries in the Dangerous Goods List that include ‘nos’ in their proper shipping name but are not assigned one of the three special provisions. COSTHA felt that this creates confusion for shippers and carriers who may be trained or accustomed to associate the use of ‘nos’ entries with the need for a technical name for marking and documentation purposes. It provided a list of the 30 entries and proposed that ‘nos’ should be struck out.
There was no support for the idea; it was pointed out that these generic ‘nos’ entries had proven very useful to prompt shippers to consider whether a more specific entry is available. Furthermore, they have value in terms of emergency response and enforcement personnel. The Sub-committee felt that the deletion of ‘nos’ from a proper shipping name, if needed at all, should only be made on a case-by-case basis. In light of the comments, COSTHA withdrew the proposal.
Belgium questioned the classification of UN 1891 Ethyl bromide, currently Division 6.1, packing group II with no subsidiary hazard. Under the EU’s Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Chemicals (CLP) Regulation, this substance meets the criteria for category 4 of both acute oral toxicity and toxicity by inhalation, while also classifying as a category 2 flammable liquid. Translated for transport purposes, this seems to point to a Class 3 substance with a Division 6.1 subsidiary hazard.
The Sub-committee agreed that the classification of UN 1891 should be reconsidered and, based on the data provided, several experts expressed support for the proposal to reclassify ethyl bromide as flammable (Class 3, packing group II). It was noted, however, that more data was needed to assess toxicity by inhalation that could trigger classification as toxic (Division 6.1). Some experts indicated that it would be useful to know the rationale or the data supporting the original assignment to Division 6.1 at the time UN 1891 was first introduced in the Dangerous Goods List. No change was made as yet, pending an official document at the next session.
The Secretariat informed the Sub-committee that, when the revision of the renumbered 188.8.131.52.2.2 on the drop orientation for infectious substances packagings was adopted at the 53rd session, part of the amendment was overlooked. The Sub-committee agreed to adopt them now as corrections to the 21st revised edition of the Model Regulations. They involve the insertion of “or a jerrycan” after “a drum”, the replacement of “chime” with “edge” in sub-paragraphs (a) and (b), and the replacement of “flat on the side” with “flat on the body or side” in sub-paragraph (c).
Switzerland queried the scope of the penultimate sentence in packing instruction P903(5), having noted some difficulties when translating the text into other languages. It offered a revised version to make things clearer, which was adopted by the Sub-committee. The sentence will now read:
When intentionally active, devices such as radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, watches and temperature loggers, which are not capable of generating a dangerous evolution of heat, may be transported in strong outer packagings.
The Responsible Packaging Management Association of Southern Africa (RPMASA), in collaboration with Cefic and the International Confederation of Plastics Packaging Manufacturers (ICPP), returned to a topic it had brought up at the previous session, namely the drastic reclassification of cobalt dihydroxide as a result of work to meet the requirements of the EU’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation. RPMASA reported that more than 200,000 tonnes of cobalt dihydroxide is transported annually and it has traditionally been classified under UN 3077 Environmentally hazardous solid, nos, PG III and shipped in flexible IBCs. Under REACH it is now a Division 6.1 toxic by inhalation substance of PG I.
The joint paper noted that cobalt dihydroxide has not high-consequence physical transport hazards and it has been shipped in large quantities for more than 40 years, initially as non-hazardous and then under Class 9, with no recorded accidents, incidents or health issues. There is also concern that other fine powders may be reclassified.
An informal lunchtime meeting suggested that, pending a permanent solution, assignment to UN 3288 Toxic solid, inorganic, nos could be used. It was also noted that new designs of flexible IBC are coming onto the market that meet PG I specifications, and this has been brought to the attention of the Joint Meeting of RID/ADR/ADN Experts. A range of proposals and discussion points were offered in the joint paper. There was general support from the Sub-committee for the need to address the classification of cobalt dihydroxide powder and other similar compounds in powder form. After further comments, RPMASA invited experts to join in the intersessional work with a view to making a formal proposal at the next session.
Germany also followed up on discussions at the previous session, returning to the need to address the transport of transformers pressurised with nitrogen or other gases. Thus far, transformers have been transported by sea under UN 3363, Class 9; however, as these transformers are not gas-tight, a small quantity of gas escapes and is replenished constantly from a gas cylinder through a pressure regulator. This will not be possible after 1 January 2020, when such transformers will fall under UN 3538, Division 2.2; while the applicable packing instruction does not require the transformer to be gas-tight, the valves of the gas cylinder will have to remain closed during transport. Germany proposed a new special provision to deal with the situation.
Following an exchange of views, it was decided that an informal working group should be convened to revise the proposal. After further refinements and changes, a text was deemed acceptable and a new special provision was adopted:
396 Large and robust articles may be transported with connected gas cylinders with the valves open regardless of 184.108.40.206.5 provided:
(a) The gas cylinders contain nitrogen of UN 1066 or compressed gas of UN 1956 or compressed air of UN 1002;
(b) The gas cylinders are connected with the article through pressure regulators and fixed piping in such a way that the pressure of the gas (gauge pressure) in the article does not exceed 35 kPa (0.35 bar);
(c) The gas cylinders are properly secured so that they cannot move in relation to the article and are fitted with strong and pressure resistant hoses and pipes;
(d) The gas cylinders, pressure regulators, piping and other components are protected from damage and impacts during transport by wooden crates or other suitable means;
(e) The transport document includes the following statement “Transport in accordance with special provision 396”;
(f) Cargo transport units containing articles transported with cylinders with open valves containing a gas presenting a risk of asphyxiation are well ventilated and are marked in accordance with 220.127.116.11.
Another paper from COSTHA addressed an innovation in fire suppression systems, which disperse fine particles using an explosive initiator. These are being transported around the world but their classification is often challenged as they contain a small amount of Division 1.4 explosive. COSTHA’s paper explained their use in a number of applications and their recognition by the National Fire Protection Association. It felt that a new entry was needed in the Dangerous Goods List, along with a special provision, to explain how to transport them safely.
The Sub-committee decided to refer the matter to the Working Group on Explosives, while COSTHA and the expert from France led a working group in parallel to plenary to consider the available options. After more discussion, COSTHA offered to work with interested experts to refine its proposals and submit an official document for the next session.
ELECTRIC STORAGE SYSTEMS
The European Association for Advanced Rechargeable Batteries (Recharge) and the Rechargeable Battery Association (PRBA) returned with a formal proposal following discussion at the previous two sessions on the applicable tests for ‘assembled batteries’ in 38.3.3(g) of the Manual of Tests and Criteria. This applies in particular to the assembly and maintenance of large assembled batteries used for electric vehicles for the automotive or railways industry or for energy storage systems requiring the transport of parts of these large batteries. Although these parts of batteries can be large, they may not be equipped with battery overcharge protection, as these safety components are now often provided for in the hosting vehicle, equipment or battery.
On a vote, the Sub-committee approved the change. The following text is added to the end of the current 38.3.3(g):
For an assembled battery not equipped with overcharge protection that is designed for use only as a component in another battery, in equipment, or in a vehicle, which affords such protection:
- the overcharge protection shall be verified at the battery, equipment or vehicle level, as appropriate, and
- the use of charging systems without overcharge protection shall be prevented through a physical system or process controls.
In addition, in the last paragraph of 38.3.3(d), “, vehicle” is added after “another battery”.
France reported on the work of the informal working group on hazard-based classification of lithium batteries and cells, which had met in Arlington, Texas in early October 2019. That meeting reviewed the latest round of laboratory tests and discussed how these should be taken forward. Subsequent to follow-up testing, the working group plans to meet again in mid-May. The Sub-committee invited the expert from France to provide an update at its next session.
Quoting extensive test results and citing earlier submissions from PRBA, China proposed to add a provision limiting the state-of-charge for new large lithium ion cells and batteries offered for transport. There was general recognition that the state of charge has a direct impact on safety. However, most of the experts who spoke considered it premature at this stage to agree on the 30 per cent value proposed by China, since new technologies are being developed to avoid propagation in batteries with a higher state of charge.
However, the Sub-committee welcomed the information provided in the proposal and invited China to come back with a revised proposal in the future, in light of the comments made.
Another paper from China proposed the addition of new provisions for batteries (wet, non-spillable) installed in cargo transport units, analogous to those already adopted for lithium batteries installed in cargo transport units. Again, though, while there was some support for the idea, most experts felt the proposal needed to be developed further. China will return at a future session with a revised proposal and additional information.
Recharge, PRBA, COSTHA and the International Organisation of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (OICA) followed up on discussions at the previous session aimed at clarifying and expanding the applicability of large packing instruction LP906 and packing instruction P911. Again, the Sub-committee offered some support but felt further work was necessary, giving the authors of the proposal some ideas on how to improve it. Once more, this will return at a future session.
Recharge and PRBA had spotted what they thought was a mistake in special provision SP 377, which describes the transport conditions applicable to lithium ion and lithium metal cells and batteries and equipment containing such cells and batteries transported for disposal or recycling. The Sub-committee this time concurred with the proposal and made two changes as a correction to the 21st revised edition of the UN Model Regulations. In both the last paragraph of SP 377 and the third paragraph of SP 310, the words “and packaged in accordance with P908 of 18.104.22.168 or LP904 of 22.214.171.124 as applicable” are deleted.
IATA raised two questions. Firstly, SP 188 and SP 230 describe the conditions under which lithium cells and batteries may be offered for transport, referencing 2.9.4; some regulatory authorities take this to mean that the consignor, if it is not the manufacturer, must have evidence of the manufacturer’s quality management programme, although sub-paragraph (e) only states that a copy of this shall be made to the competent authority upon request. On the basis of discussion during a coffee break, the experts confirmed that there is no requirement for the manufacturer to provide evidence of a quality management programme to any other party than the competent authority. IATA said it would submit a proposal to clarify the requirements.
IATA’s second query related to SP 188(f), which contains in a note a reference to a transitional period for the introduction of the lithium battery mark, which has now expired. The Sub-committee agreed and deleted Note 1; the existing Note 2 now becomes simply ‘Note’.
PRBA and Recharge returned following discussion of an informal document at the previous session, noting that the authorisation in packing instruction P903 to use strong outer packaging for batteries or assemblies of batteries with a gross mass of more than 12 kg has caused come misinterpretation on the part of some competent authorities and, moreover, its language is inconsistent with similar provisions in the ICAO Technical Instructions. Their paper offered some text to clarify paragraph (2) in P903. The Sub-committee did not totally agree with the wording but did agree to a change; in P903(2), “cells or batteries” is replaced with “a cell or battery” and at the end of that paragraph, before the indents, “, and assemblies of such cells or batteries” is deleted.
Another paper from the same two organisations addressed the issue of P903 and the use of packagings with a net mass exceeding 400 kg. There is confusion throughout the supply chain, they claimed, with improper understanding of the provision that, if the net mass of a packaging as authorised under P903(2) or (4) exceeds the mass limit prescribed in Chapter 6.1, the batteries or equipment do not need to be packaged in large packagings in accordance with LP903. Recharge and PRBA proposed some clarification to help solve the issue in 126.96.36.199 and P903.
There was some support in principle for the proposal. Some experts suggested that packing instructions P130 and P408 should also be addressed. Others indicated that the proposed provisions could be inserted in the applicable instructions for packagings and large packagings or in the definitions in 1.2.1 rather than in 188.8.131.52. Some others requested more time to consider the proposal and get feedback from stakeholders. After an exchange of views, the authors of the document said that they would take account of the comments received and would submit a revised proposal for a future session.
Similarly, a proposal from PRBA and Recharge to remove the requirement for a telephone number from the lithium battery mark, since it is unclear who this should contact, what information should be provided, or whether it should be available around the clock, was also batted back for further consideration. There was, though, support in principle and a decision will be made at the next session on the basis of an official document.
China introduced the Sub-committee to the concept of vanadium redox flow batteries, a technology used in very large batteries in emergency power supply and peak shaving applications. In transport, these batteries are normally uncharged, so protection against short circuit is not necessary. China said the existing UN entry to which they are assigned, UN 2794 Batteries, wet, filled with acid, electric storage, is too strict and UN 3363 is also inappropriate. It proposed a new special provision for UN 2794 to address the issue.
The experts took note of the information provided and suggested that perhaps, as these batteries are transported uncharged and that an outer packaging is not required, they should be regarded as ‘articles’ rather than ‘batteries’. Experts were encouraged to provide additional comments to the expert from China, who was invited to submit a formal proposal at a future session.The second part of this two-part report on the UN TDG Sub-committee’s December 2019 session in next month’s HCB will cover discussions on the transport of gases, miscellaneous proposals for amendment, global harmonisation and GHS issues.[post_title] => UN: Loose change [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => un-loose-change [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-03-10 08:12:20 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-03-10 08:12:20 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://hcblive.com/?p=17810 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )
The UN experts have made a few corrections to the current Model Regulations as they made their way through a long list of proposals for amendment