EPA Guidance on Oil Spills and SPCC Inspections Posted on October 14, 2014 by Anthony R. Cardno
To ensure its Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) guidelines are enforced consistently nationwide, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revised its SPCC guidance document for regional inspectors in August 2013. While the guidance document, titled “SPCC Guidance for Regional Inspectors,” is intended for inspectors, it is also useful to facility owners and operators who are subject to the SPCC plan requirements of 40 CFR 112.
How to Use the SPCC Guidance Document
Facilities may use the EPA guidance document to help them comply with the regulations and prepare for audits by State and regional enforcement personnel. That said, the guidance document is a guide only—it is not a statute or regulation and does not carry the same weight as laws or regulations. In any situation where the guidance and regulations are at odds, the regulations take precedence.
What’s in the EPA Guidance Document?
The guidance is divided into seven chapters:
- Introduction discusses the scope and history of 40 CFR 122;
- SPCC Rule Applicability reviews in depth the applicability criteria and sample scenarios;
- Environmental Equivalence discusses how a facility might get approval for deviations from what the regulations require for controls;
- Secondary Containment and Impracticality Determinations compares and contrasts various secondary containment requirements, including how to reach a determination of impracticality and the documentation needed to support such a determination;
- Oil/Water Separators provides a number of sample scenarios detailing how the SPCC rules apply to oil/water separators and similar devices;
- Facility Diagram and Description gives examples on the level of detail required for site maps, diagrams, and written descriptions;
- Inspections, Evaluations, and Testing presents an overview of where and when testing, inspection, and evaluation are required and how to comply with the requirements.
The guidance also includes eight appendices, which include a variety of checklists, interpretive letters from the Agency, the text of that portion of the Clean Water Act relevant to the SPCC program, templates for SPCC plans, and sample capacity calculations for tanks and for secondary containment.
Ongoing Revisions to the SPCC Guidance
The guidance is what the EPA calls a “living document’; the Agency continues to revisit and revise it as necessary. In addition to the major revision in August 2013, the EPA also revised the document in November and December of that year. The November revision included linking to the Office of Water’s page regarding the definition of “Navigable waters” and a revision of the summary of integrity testing and inspection documentation. The December revision added the text of a settlement agreement between EPA and two oil companies. Because the SPCC guidance is a living document, future revisions or amendments will not necessarily be announced in the Federal Register.
Submitting Your Comments to EPA
Because the SPCC Guidance for Regional Inspectors is an ever-changing document, EPA encourages ongoing commentary from regulated entities and other interested parties. Comments should reference the specific page or section number being commented on and can be submitted to EPA via e-mail at SPCC.OilSpill@epa.gov.
Expert Training on EPA Rules
Be confident your team is prepared to comply with the latest requirements for spill reporting under the SPCC regulations. Lion’s Complete Environmental Regulations Workshop is presented in cities nationwide and covers the critical elements of the EPA’s air, water, and chemical rules. Designed for environmental managers, plant engineers and managers, and corporate attorneys, this two-day workshop will help you identify your legal requirements under the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, SDWA, FIFRA, TSCA, and more, as required for ISO 14000.
OSHA Confined Spaces FAQ Posted on October 07, 2014 by James Griffin
In many industries, employees commonly perform work inside of “confined spaces.” To protect these employees, OSHA’s General Industry Standard includes specific rules employers must follow, including permitting requirements for certain confined spaces.
The Permit-Required Confined Spaces (PRCS) Standard at 29 CFR 1910.146 is one of several of OSHA’s General Industry Standards governing General Environmental Controls under 29 CFR 1910, Subpart J.
Q. What is a confined space?
A. A confined space is a space that is:
- Large enough that an employee can enter it and perform work, but
- Not designed for continuous employee occupancy, and
- Has limited or restricted means for entry or exit.
[29 CFR 1910.146(b)]
Examples of confined spaces include tanks, hoppers, and other large means of containment, as well as structures like grain silos, vaults, and pits.
Q. What is a permit-required confined space?
A. A permit-required confined space is a confined space that has one or more of the following characteristics:
- It contains, or has the potential to contain, a hazardous atmosphere (e.g., toxic gas in a sewer or carbon dioxide buildup in a space with poor ventilation);
- It contains a material that has the potential for engulfing a person who enters it (e.g., grain in a silo);
- It has an internal configuration with inwardly converging walls or downward sloping floors with small cross-sections that could trap or asphyxiate a person who enters the space; or
- It contains any other recognized serious safety or health hazard (e.g., exposed electrical elements or moving machinery)
Q. Why is it called a permit-required confined space?
A. A confined space with a hazardous atmosphere, or other serious hazard, is called a permit-required confined space because no employee is allowed to enter that space without a written authorization. This document is called an “entry permit.”
Q. What is “entry” in this context?
A. An employee “enters” a confined space any time any portion of his or her anatomy breaks the plane of an opening into the confined space. [29 CFR 1910.146(b)] For instance, just sticking an arm into a confined space would be considered “entry.”
Q. What’s in an entry permit?
A. Each time one or more employees enter a permit-required confined space to do work, the employer must issue them an entry permit. Each entry permit must identify:
- The space to be entered;
- The purpose of the entry;
- The date and authorized duration of the entry;
- The persons who are authorized to enter the space;
- The persons who will attend the entry from outside the space;
- The name and signature of the person supervising the entry;
- The hazards of the space;
- The measures used to isolate the space and eliminate or control the hazards of the space (lockout/tagout for mechanical hazards, ventilation/purging/
inerting/flushing hazardous atmospheres, etc.);
- The conditions of acceptable entry;
- The results of initial and periodic testing, accompanied by the names/initials of testers and date of testing;
Equipment and Procedures-
- The identity and means of contacting emergency services, should they be required;
- The procedures used by authorized entrants and attendants to communicate during the entry;
- Any equipment used by authorized entrants, attendants, the entry supervisor, or others to comply with the requirements of the PRCS Standard;
- Any other information necessary to ensure employee safety; and
- Any additional permits that may be required (i.e., for “hot work”).
Q. What else is required in the workplace?
A. In a workplace where employees enter into a PRCS, the employer must create and file a written permit each time employees enter the space. The requirements above address individual entry permits only. [29 CFR 1910.146(f)]
In addition to the individual entry permit, the employer must consult with employees and establish a comprehensive written program for controlling and protecting workers from permit space hazards (Permit Space Program). Other required elements include a written procedure for preparing, issuing, and closing entry permits; certified written training programs for authorized entrants, their outside attendants, and entry supervisors; and equipping and training rescue teams. [29 CFR 1910.146(c)(4), 1910.146(g)–(l))]
Lastly, if any PRCSs exist in the workplace—even if employees never enter them&mdashthe employer must post signs informing employees and prevent entry into the space. [29 CFR 1910.146(c)(2)–(3)]
Protecting Employees Under OSHA’s General Industry Standard
Lion Technology offers convenient, 24/7 online training to help employers and workers meet OSHA’s training and awareness requirements. A full list of online courses is available now at www.Lion.com/OSHA-Training. For more information on how OSHA regulates specific workplace hazards, including confined spaces, see the complete OSHA Training FAQ at Lion.com.
For more information: OSHA’s Safety and Health Topics Portal for Confined-Spaces.
Selecting Proper Shipping Names for Hazardous Wastes Posted on September 30, 2014 by Ross Kellogg
When generators ship hazardous waste off site, the waste is typically subject to the US DOT’s rules for hazmat shipments. One of the first and most important steps to shipping any hazmat, including hazardous waste, is selecting a Proper Shipping Name.
The DOT hazmat shipping regulations include unique naming requirements for wastes that shippers must follow to avoid rejected shipments and civil penalties.
Unique Naming Rules for Hazardous Waste
To select a name for any hazmat shipment, shippers refer to the table in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 172.101. Column 2 of this table lists thousands of possible shipping names, some of which include the word “waste” and are intended for waste shipments.
If the listed name of the shipper’s material does not include the word “waste,” the shipper must add “waste” before the Proper Shipping Name on the Hazardous Waste Manifest and any required markings. [49 CFR 172.101(c)(9)]
For example, to ship spent acetone off site for treatment, the shipper must add the word “waste” in front of the listed Proper Shipping Name (“acetone”). So, the final shipping name is “Waste Acetone.”
How Does the DOT Define a Hazardous Waste?
The US DOT defines a hazardous waste as a material that is subject to the US EPA’s Hazardous Waste Manifest requirements. These EPA requirements are found in 40 CFR 262.
In general, this includes any material that meets the Federal definition of a hazardous waste at 40 CFR 261.3.
Wastes Excluded from the Manifest Requirements
Many hazardous wastes are excluded from the Hazardous Waste Manifest requirements in 40 CFR 262, such as:
- Hazardous wastes generated by conditionally exempt small quantity generators (i.e., they generate less than or equal to 100 kg of hazardous waste in a calendar month) [40 CFR 261.5(b)];
- Wastes reclaimed under a contractual agreement meeting the requirements of 40 CFR 262.20(e)(1) and (2) by small quantity generators (i.e., they generate greater than 100 kg but less than 1,000 kg of hazardous waste in a calendar month);
- Universal Waste managed under 40 CFR 273 [40 CFR 273.1(b)];
- Used oil that is recycled that also exhibits a characteristic of hazardous waste [40 CFR 261.6(a)(4)];
- Spent lead-acid batteries that will be reclaimed through regeneration (such as by electrolyte replacement) according to 40 CFR 266, Subpart G;
- Samples sent for analysis [40 CFR 261.4(d)]; and
- Treatability study samples sent to laboratories and testing facilities. [40 CFR 261.4(e)]
When these wastes meet the DOT’s definition of a hazardous material and are subject to the DOT packaging and shipping paper requirements, their Proper Shipping Names are NOT preceded by the word “waste.”
One More Special Case
If a generator is shipping a hazardous waste off site that requires a manifest, and if the waste does not meet the DOT’s criteria as a hazmat under Classes 1-8, it will be regulated as a miscellaneous Class 9. In this case, the DOT Proper Shipping Name will either be “Hazardous waste liquid, n.o.s.” or “Hazardous waste solid, n.o.s.” Since these names already include the word “waste,” the shipper does NOT precede them with a redundant “waste.”
What About State Regulated Hazardous Wastes?
States with approved RCRA programs may regulate additional materials as hazardous waste. It is not uncommon for states to have additional characteristics or listings. Some even regulate solid wastes more stringently.
A State RCRA program may require the use of a Hazardous Waste Manifest to ship State hazardous waste or solid waste off site. However, since this is not a requirement specified by the US Environmental Protection Agency in the hazardous waste regulations in 40 CFR 262, the DOT would NOT consider these materials to be hazardous waste for their purposes. Therefore, you would NOT precede their DOT Proper Shipping Names (if they are indeed a DOT hazardous material) with the word “waste.”
When shipping a waste off site, the hazardous waste generator must understand the DOT’s definition of hazardous waste at 49 CFR 171.8 in order to determine the applicability of using the word “waste” to precede a DOT Proper Shipping Name. In particular, the generator of State hazardous wastes must understand that these do not fall under the DOT’s definition of a hazardous waste. The generator must also be familiar with the RCRA hazardous wastes that are excluded from the RCRA manifesting requirements of 40 CFR 262 and, therefore, do not meet the DOT’s definition of a hazardous waste.
Nationally Trusted RCRA Training
Be confident your team is prepared to meet the EPA’s manifest and off-site shipping requirements found in the RCRA rules. The Hazardous/Toxic Waste Management Workshop is presented nationwide and covers the regulations all personnel must know to properly accumulate, store, and manage waste on site. Fines for violating the RCRA hazardous waste management rules are as high as $37,500 per day, per violation.
Using Lab Packs for Chemical Shipments Posted on September 23, 2014 by Won Bae
Laboratories, universities, medical facilities, and warehouses use and generate many different chemical substances. Sometimes these chemicals go unused—they may be out of date, off-specification, or simply no longer needed. To protect employees from potential hazards or to simply reduce the inventory of unwanted materials, facilities remove these unused chemicals from inventory.
Unused chemicals accumulate for a number of reasons. A corporate purchaser may buy chemicals in bulk, not knowing that much of the bulk purchase will go to waste due to process or time constraints. Research and development professionals may use part of many different hazardous chemicals and generate various by-products. In addition, a lab closeout may reveal forgotten stockpiles and left-over reactions. These unused substances often include acids, bases, reagents, aerosols, cleaning agents, inks, dyes, paints, solvents, and unidentified chemicals.
In these situations, and many more, the facility is left with many small amounts of unused chemical substances that will be discarded. Packaging and shipping each of these small amounts separately for disposal can be a time-consuming and even cost-prohibitive task. This is one reason for why the US DOT allows shippers to use an alternative packaging method for these shipments.
Shipping Chemicals in a Lab Pack
An easy, cost-effective way to ship collections of different hazardous chemicals off site is to use “lab packs.” A lab pack consists of a DOT-authorized outer packaging containing two or more smaller containers of hazardous wastes.
The US DOT regulations at 49 CFR 173.12(b), (d), and (f) include special requirements for transporting lab pack shipments. Outer packaging must be UN-performance packaging, typically open-head drums of steel, plastic, other metal, or fiberboard. Each inner container cannot exceed 20 liters capacity, and the total weight of the lab pack cannot exceed 205 kilograms. In addition, the materials shipped in the lab pack must be of the same DOT hazard and compatible.
There are other requirements specified in 49 CFR 173.12, so the process of preparing a lab pack must be performed by individuals with an appropriate level of knowledge in chemistry and the necessary function-specific training.
Lab Pack Treatment Standards
Each container of discarded chemical in a lab pack is generally subject to its own land disposal restriction (LDR) treatment standards at 40 CFR 268. Requiring the TSDF to treat for each of the treatment standards can add complexity, and likely cost, to the disposal process. Therefore, the EPA has included an alternative treatment standard to the LDR requirements at 40 CFR 268.42(c).
The alternative treatment standard allows for the incineration of the entire lab pack. In order to utilize this treatment standard, the generator must identify each waste code that applies to the wastes in the lab pack and certify, in writing, that the lab pack does not include any of the prohibited wastes codes specified in Appendix IV in 40 CFR 268.7(a)(9). Appendix IV includes the following waste codes: D009, F019, K003-K006, K062, K017, K071, K100, K106, P010-P012, P076, P078, U134, and U151. Lab packs that contain toxic heavy metals or other highly dangerous chemicals (cyanide, arsenic, etc.) are subject to special treatment requirements. Generators are not required to determine underlying hazardous constituents (UHCs) when using the alternative treatment standard for lab packs.
Unused chemicals that are discarded may be hazardous waste and must be managed correctly. By using the standards for lab packs, facilities ensure the materials are properly transported and that proper treatment and disposal of the different hazardous chemicals is accomplished—protecting the public and the environment and minimizing the potential for fines.
Expert Nationwide RCRA Training
Are you prepared to manage the hazardous waste at your facility in line with the EPA’s stringent regulations? Be confident you know the rules that affect your site at the Hazardous/Toxic Waste Management Workshop, presented in cities nationwide. The nationally trusted two-day workshop covers the critical RCRA rules for managing and storing waste on site, responding to incidents and emergencies, and EPA requirements for off site shipping.
MAP-21 Hazmat Progress Report Posted on September 16, 2014 by James Griffin
The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) is a 2012 Federal law that amended and renewed many of the US DOT’s hazmat shipping programs.
The bill directs the DOT to study, report on, and create new regulations to address many issues. Recently, the DOT reported to Congress on its progress.
Penalties and Enforcement
The MAP-21 law includes a number of changes to the way US DOT enforces the hazardous materials regulations:
- Raised the maximum civil penalty for basic violations of the hazardous material regulations from $50,000 per day per violation to $75,000,
- Authorized the Secretary of Transportation to sanction persons who ‘obstruct’ hazmat inspections, and
- Authorized the DOT to shut down businesses that fail to pay penalties assessed for violations of hazmat safety law and regulation.
Action: The increased civil penalties went into effect immediately on July 6, 2012. Last month, the DOT finalized regulations to enact the other new authorities.
Improve Hazmat Incident/Accident Data Collection
Under MAP-21, DOT must assess the way it collects, analyzes, and reports hazmat incident data and to develop a plan to improve its system.
DOT Action: DOT submitted an Assessment Report & Action Plan on September 4, 2013.
Clarify Enhanced Enforcement Authority
The law instructs DOT to establish a training standard for hazmat inspectors and investigators and modified inspectors’ authority to stop and open noncompliant packages in transport. DOT must also address how inspectors will return stopped or opened packages to cycle of transportation, or remove them from the supply chain.
DOT Action: The DOT did not establish new training standards for hazmat investigators/inspectors. DOT stated that its 2008 Joint Operations Manual is sufficient to direct personnel on their responsibilities.
With respect to returning stopped or opened packages to the supply chain, DOT feels the current rules already address these concerns.
Improve the Special Permits and Approval Program
MAP-21 requires DOT to update its process for approving and issuing special permits by taking the following steps:
- Review all long-standing special permits with established safety records and incorporate them into the HMR or extinguish them, and
- Establish standard operating procedures for the special permits/approvals program.
DOT Action: In March this year, DOT incorporated many long-standing permits into the HMR. In August, DOT proposed standard operating procedures for the special permits program.
LionNews will report on any more progress made toward incorporating special permits into the HMR when information is available.
Pilot Program on e-Shipping Papers
The law authorizes the DOT to conduct pilot projects to evaluate whether a paperless hazard communication system is feasible.
Lastly, MAP-21 requires a study on the safety of flammable liquid residues in the external piping of cargo tank vehicles (called wetlines). The law prohibited PHMSA from issuing a final rule regarding wetlines before a study was completed.
Expert Hazmat Shipper Training
Be confident your site is prepared for compliance with the latest domestic and international hazmat shipping regulations! The Complete Multimodal Hazmat Workshops are presented nationwide and year-round and address the rules your team must know to keep your shipments safe, avoid penalties as high as $75,000 per day/violation, and ensure successful DOT inspections.
Common Chemical Reporting Forms Posted on September 09, 2014 by Anthony R. Cardno
Before a manufacturer or importer can make or import a new chemical substance, the business must submit information to the US EPA for review. Once EPA has reviewed the chemical and added it to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) master inventory list, manufacture or import can begin and the chemical can be distributed in commerce. While this requirement mostly applies to initial manufacturers or importers of new chemicals, TSCA establishes notification requirements and restrictions for manufacturing existing chemicals as well.
Pre-Manufacture Notice (PMN)
The initial manufacturer of a chemical not already listed on TSCA’s master inventory must go through the Pre-Manufacture Notification (PMN) process. This involves submitting a PMN and waiting through a 90-day review period during which EPA looks for certain red flags that raise concern about the chemical’s environmental or health effects. The review results in one of three outcomes:
- No Action — the substance can be manufactured or imported without any restrictions
- Prohibition — the substance cannot be manufactured in or imported into the United States
- Consent Order — a formal agreement between the manufacturer/importer and EPA that prohibits or limits some activities involving the substance.
If subject to a Consent Order, limited or prohibited activities can include manufacture, import, processing, distribution, use, or disposal of the chemical, and the manufacturer will be required to inform customers of these limitations. However, the consent order is only binding
on the initial manufacturer/importer. So what about other companies that might decide to manufacture or import the same chemical?
The Significant New Use Rule (SNUR)
The Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) is EPA’s mechanism for applying the limitations or prohibitions of the consent order to subsequent manufacturers, importers, or processors. For each substance on the master inventory, EPA establishes criteria for what constitutes a “significant new use.” Criteria can include, but are not limited to:
- Uses that require specified personal protection
- Uses where a specified hazard communication program has not been developed
- Specific types of industrial, commercial, or consumer uses
- Uses resulting in incineration or land disposal
- Uses resulting in release to the water
The specific uses considered “significant” are identified for each chemical in 40 CFR 721, Subpart E.
Significant New Use Notification (SNUN)
Each subsequent manufacturer, importer, or processor of a chemical subject to a SNUR must submit a Significant New Use Notification (SNUN) to EPA on Form 7710-25 at least 90 days prior to beginning manufacture, import, or processing. This is the same form and the same 90-day review period used for the PMN. As with most TSCA paperwork, EPA will only accept electronic submissions of SNUNs through the Central Data Exchange.
As new chemicals subject to consent orders are added to the master inventory, EPA also adds SNURs for those chemicals to 40 CFR 721, Subpart E. These new SNURs are announced in the Federal Register, most recently on July 8th and July 9th of 2014.
TSCA reporting violations are a common reason chemical manufacturers face EPA fines. Be confident you know the latest TSCA rules that apply to the chemicals you manufacture, import, or use. Get live, instructor-led training at the TSCA: Chemical Reporting & Recordkeeping Webinar on October 23, from 1-3 p.m. ET. Prefer to train at your own pace? Enroll in the TSCA Regulations Online Course, available 24/7.
How GHS Affects OSHA’s Flammable Liquid Standard Posted on September 02, 2014 by Joel Gregier
Flammable and combustible liquids have the potential to harm employees in the workplace, typically due to the fire hazard they pose. Because of this, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) maintains general requirements for the handling, storage, and use of liquids with a flash point below 200°F (“flammable liquids”) in containers, portable tanks, and tank systems. [29 CFR 1910.106]
The standard addresses the requirements for:
- Design, construction, and capacity of flammable or combustible liquid storage units;
- Ventilation; and
OSHA recently adopted the Globally Harmonized System for Classifying and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). While the bulk of the adopted standards relate to OSHA’s Hazard Communication (HazCom) Standard, GHS also affects several other OSHA regulations, including the Flammable Liquid Standard.
The main modification to the Flammable Liquid Standard is how flammables are classified.
“Old” Flammable and Combustible Classification
Under OSHA’s “old” standard (pre-GHS), liquids were defined as either “flammable” or “combustible” and divided into three “classes.”
Flammables were considered the more dangerous liquids under the pre-GHS standard. These liquids have lower flash points, meaning that they ignite more easily. Flammable liquids were defined as any liquid with a flash point below 100°F and were considered to be “Class 1 liquids.” A flammable could be Class 1A, 1B, or 1C, with 1A being the most dangerous.
OSHA defined combustibles as liquids with a flash point ranging from 100°F to 200°F. These liquids were divided into Class 2 and Class 3 liquids. Class 2 combustibles were more flammable than Class 3, due to their lower flash points.
The goal of OSHA’s pre-GHS standard was to ensure that the liquids that posed the greatest hazard were regulated more stringently than less hazardous liquids.
“New” Flammable Classification
Now that OSHA has adopted the GHS, the Class 1, 2, and 3 distinctions no longer exist. “Flammable liquids” are now divided into four “categories.” Despite the change, OSHA’s goal remains the same: to reserve the most stringent regulations for the most dangerous liquids. In fact, many of the old classes have approximately the same cut-off levels for flash point and boiling point as the new categories.
Below are the four categories of flammable liquids (with their approximate “old class” as comparison):
- Category 1 – liquids having flash points below 73.4°F (23°C) and a boiling point at or below 95°F (35°C) (~IA);
- Category 2 – liquids having flash points below 73.4°F (23°C) and a boiling point above 95°F (35°C) (~IB);
- Category 3 – liquids having flash points at or above 73.4°F (23°C) and at or below 140°F (60°C) (~IC and II); and
- Category 4 – liquids having flash points above 140°F (60°C) and at or below 199.4°F (93°C) (~III).
[29 CFR 1910.106(a)(19)]
To find all of the requirements under OSHA’s Flammable Liquid Standard, see 29 CFR 1910.106.
OSHA Requires Employee HazCom Training
Under OSHA’s Hazard Communication (HazCom) Standard, all employers must train employees on the hazards present in their workplace. The Hazard Communication Online Course has been updated to include important information about OSHA’s adoption of the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) into its HCS. Employees who complete the course will be prepared to recognize new GHS chemical labels, use revised classification criteria, and read 16-section Safety Data Sheets (SDSs).
US DOT Amends Hazmat Shipping Regulations Posted on August 28, 2014 by James Griffin
On August 25th, at 79 FR 50742, the United States Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) proposed to amend the Hazardous Material Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 100–199) to maintain alignment with evolving international standards.
Public comments on the proposal must be received by October 24, 2014. A Final Rule is expected late this year or in early 2015, as the latest editions of the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code), International Civil Aviation Organization’s Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air (ICAO TI), and the United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods—Model Regulations (UN Model) all enter into force on January 1, 2015.
Specific issues addressed in this rulemaking docket include:
- Incorporate Revised Standards: In addition to incorporating-by-reference (IBR) the latest international regulations, including the IMDG Code, ICAO TI, UN Model, the International Atomic Energy Agency Safety Standards, PHMSA proposes to IBR the most recent updates to the Canadian Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (TDGR), and various International Standards Organization (ISO) standards.
- Hazardous Materials Table: PHMSA proposes to add, revise, and remove entries in the Hazardous Materials Table at 49 CFR 172.101:
- Revised names for asbestos materials;
- New description “UN3268, SAFETY DEVICES electrically initiated, 9” inclusively replacing “air bag inflators,” “air bag modules,” and “seat belt pre-tensioners” identified by UN3268;
- New description “UN0503, SAFETY DEVICES, pyrotechnic” replacing “air bag inflators,” “air bag modules,” and “seatbelt pretensioners” identified by UN0503;
- Sixteen new shipping names, and associated packing provisions, for adsorbed gases; and
- New entries for “UN3507, URANIUM HEXAFLUORIDE, RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL, EXCEPTED PACKAGE” and “UN3508 CAPACITOR, ASYMETRIC.”
- Provide Exceptions for Marine Pollutants: PHMSA proposes to exclude from regulation packages that contain small amounts of materials that are only marine pollutants when packed up to 5 L (1.3 gallons) or 5 kg (11 lbs.) per package. This matches existing provisions of the IMDG Code.
- Modify the Marine Pollutant List: PHMSA periodically updates the list of regulated marine pollutants in Appendix B to 49 CFR 172.101, based on changes to the IMDG Code.
- Clarify Various Hazard Communication Requirements: PHMSA proposes to add minimum size requirements for OVERPACK and SALVAGE markings. This matches recently adopted amendments prescribing minimum size requirements for identification number markings. Furthermore, PHMSA makes subtle amendments to the specifications for labels and placards. All these rules have a transitional period until December 31, 2016.
- Revised Vessel Stowage Requirements: PHMSA proposes to update vessel stowage codes in Column 10B of the HMT and other provisions regarding vessel stowage, consistent with the most recent edition of the IMDG Code.
- Additional Entries for Adsorbed Gases: To keep pace with evolving international standards, PHMSA proposes to include seventeen new entries for “adsorbed gases” in the HMT and to make other necessary amendments for these materials (i.e., definitions, authorized packagings, safety requirements).
- Harmonized Requirements for Lithium Batteries: PHMSA proposes to incorporate provisions for lithium batteries equivalent to Section IB of ICAO Packing Instructions 965 and 968 for large amounts of small batteries and to modify the provisions for communicating the prohibition of lithium metal batteries from passenger aircraft.
- Expanded Definition of Non-Bulk Packaging: International authorities have recognized packagings suitable for the transport of high-volume, low-mass materials (such as air bags). PHMSA proposes to revise the definition of non-bulk packaging to include certain large single packagings that meet UN specifications.
The 18th Revised Edition of the UN Model enters into force on January 1, 2015 and includes many other changes that PHMSA is not considering. Harmonization issues NOT under consideration include:
- Damaged, Defective, and Waste Lithium Batteries: The HMR adopted provisions for these lithium batteries in a previous rulemaking.
- Dimensions on Hazard Communication Examples: PHMSA is not adding reminders of the dimensions to the existing images of hazmat placards and labels, as the minimum dimensions are already provided in the text of the HMR.
- Flash Composition: PHMSA is not adopting the UN Model’s new criteria for the “flash composition” of a firework, because work on the HSL Flash Composition test is ongoing.
- Radioactive Materials: The most recent UN Model and IAEA Standards include many changes for transporting radioactive materials. PHMSA is prohibited from incorporating most of them without coordination with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Further domestic harmonization will be addressed in a future joint rulemaking.
- Discarded Packages: PHMSA is not adopting the new international shipping description “UN3509, PACKAGING DISCARDED, EMPTY, UNCLEANED” as existing provisions in the HMR already adequately address the shipment of empty uncleaned packagings.
- Used Medical Devices: PHMSA is not adopting the 2015 ICAO TI’s new exception for used medical devices. Existing provisions of the HMR satisfactorily address the hazards presented by used medical devices.
- Coolants, Conditioners, and Asphyxiates: The 18th Edition of the UN Model will make various editorial amendments to the provisions for packages and cargo transport units containing asphyxiates used for cooling/conditioning. As PHMSA did not adopt these regulations when they were included in the 17th Edition of the UN Model, the Agency won’t’ adopt these amendments either.
- Gas Cartridge and Fuel Cell Testing: As the HMR already adequately address the hazards of these items, PHMSA won’t adopt the alternatives authorized in the 18th Edition of the UN Model.
LDR Paperwork for RCRA “Prohibited Wastes” Posted on August 26, 2014 by Roseanne Bottone
What Is Prohibited Waste?
A prohibited waste is one that, if it were disposed of, would be subject to land disposal restrictions (LDRs) in 40 CFR Part 268. Examples of prohibited wastes include:
- Hazardous wastes as defined at 40 CFR 261.3;
- Hazardous secondary materials excluded from the definition of solid waste at 40 CFR 261.4(a);
- Hazardous secondary materials that are solid wastes but are excluded from the definition of, or from regulation as, hazardous waste at 40 CFR 261.4(b)-(f);
- Hazardous wastes that are recycled according to 40 CFR 261.6; and
- Hazardous wastes that leave RCRA jurisdiction subsequent to generation (e.g., wastes that are reclaimed or introduced into a Clean Water Act permitted wastewater treatment unit).
The LDRs specify recordkeeping requirements to account for prohibited wastes.
Providing Information to the TSDF
The “Notification” or “Land Ban Form”
When a hazardous waste does not meet the LDR treatment standards, the generator must ensure the waste is treated before disposal.
A generator prepares a notification for the treatment, storage, and disposal facility (TSDF) that contains information as specified at 40 CFR 268.7(a)(2), so the TSDF knows how to treat the hazardous waste prior to disposal. Generators often call this notification a “Land Ban Form.”
If the hazardous waste already meets the treatment standard at the original point of generation, or if the generator treats the waste on site to meet LDR standards, then the generator must prepare a certification that includes the information specified at 40 CFR 268.7(a)(3). A statement must be included in which the generator certifies that, through analysis and testing or through knowledge of the waste, the waste complies with LDR treatment standards.
Special Rules for Excluded and Exempted Wastes
The “One-time Notice to File”
Under RCRA, some wastes are excluded from the definition of solid or hazardous waste or are excluded from regulation as hazardous waste. While the wastes are excluded from the RCRA management rules, the generator must still account for this waste under the Land Disposal Restrictions. To accomplish this, the generator prepares a form known as the “One-time Notice to File” to keep on record at the facility.
Examples of prohibited wastes excluded from the definition of solid or hazardous waste include:
- Unlisted sludges and by-products that exhibit a characteristic of hazardous waste that are reclaimed;
- Commercial chemical products listed at 40 CFR 261.33 or that exhibit a characteristic that are reclaimed;
- Spent sulfuric acid reclaimed and meeting the conditions of 40 CFR 261.4(a)(7); and
- Used oil filters that are hot drained and meet the conditions of 40 CFR 261.4(b)(13).
The contents of the “One-time Notice to File” are specified at 40 CFR 268.7(a)(7). The generator must describe the disposition of the waste and how it was generated and excluded from the definition of solid or hazardous waste. While this notice must be kept in the generator’s files and be available for inspection, the generator is not required to send it to the EPA or State regulatory agencies (unless specifically required by State regulation).
Wastes Exempted from RCRA After Generation
The same one-time notice is required for hazardous waste exempted from hazardous waste regulation subsequent to (i.e., after) its generation and must include a description of how the exemption occurred. Some examples of wastes exempted from RCRA after generation include:
- Spent solvents that are reclaimed (e.g., spent acetone that is distilled) to recover a usable component (40 CFR 261.3(c)(2)(i));
- Recyclable materials from which precious metals are reclaimed (40 CFR 261.6(a)(2)(iii)); and
- Wastes that are de-characterized in a Clean Water Act permitted wastewater treatment unit and discharged through sewer systems to a publically owned treatment works (POTW) or as point source discharges (40 CFR 261.4(a)(1) and (2)).
Understanding the LDR requirements is a crucial element of effective hazardous waste management. Overlooking these rules or failing to properly document your waste for treatment and disposal can lead to redundant treatment costs, US EPA fines as high as $37,500 per day/per violation, and future liability under CERCLA.
Be confident your hazardous waste operations are in compliance with the latest RCRA rules, including the complex Land Disposal Restrictions, with expert RCRA training. Lion’s Hazardous/Toxic Waste Management Workshop, online course, and refresher online course are all designed to satisfy the EPA’s annual training requirement for hazardous waste personnel at 40 CFR 262.34(a) and 265.16.
Significant Changes to IATA’s 56th Edition DGR Posted on August 21, 2014 by Roger Marks
Significant Changes to IATA’s 56th Edition DGR
This fall, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) will publish the 56th Edition of its Dangerous Goods Regulations. Compliance with the 56th edition DGR is mandatory starting January 1, 2015. To help shippers stay up-to-date with the latest hazmat air shipping rules, below is a summary of major changes that will appear in IATA’s forthcoming edition:
“Hidden Dangerous Goods” – GHS Labels on Packages
Under paragraph 2.2.2, IATA added a note that alerts package handlers that diamond-shaped hazard communication pictograms-required under the Globally Harmonized System for Classifying and Labeling Chemicals (GHS)-may indicate that a package contains hazardous materials/dangerous goods. The note will help freight forwarders, ground handling agents, and operators identify hazardous shipments.
Updates to the List of Dangerous Goods (IATA 4.2)
The 56th edition DGR will include a number of new and revised entries on IATA’s List of Dangerous Goods, including:
- Adding 17 new entries for absorbed gases (UN 3510-3526), including nine general, N.O.S. entries.
- Removing the packing group from all articles that had been assigned a packing group, including lithium batteries.
- Deleting the Proper Shipping Names “air bag inflators,” “air bag modules,” and “seat belt pretensioners” (UN 0503 and UN 3268) and replacing them with “Safety devices, pyrotechnic” (UN 0503) and “Safety devices electrically initiated” (UN 3268).
- Amending the entry for Lithium metal batteries (UN 3090) to show “forbidden” across Columns I/J. UN3090 shipments are now restricted to Cargo Aircraft Only. This change does not affect UN 3091, lithium metal batteries packed with (or contained in) equipment.
- Changing the Proper Shipping Names for “blue,” “brown,” and “white” asbestos (UN 2212 and UN 2590).
Changes to IATA Special Provisions
IATA is making changes to a number of commonly used special provisions. These include:
- Assigning a new Special Provision A192 for materials such as Paint/Paint related material and Printing ink/Printing related material. The new SP allows shippers to use only the “related material” Proper Shipping Name on the Shipper’s Declaration when the standard entry substances and the “related material” entry substances are in the same package.
- Assigning new Special Provision A201 for Lithium metal batteries (UN 3090) to identify that these batteries may be carried on passenger aircraft subject to specific size and quantity limits.
Changes to IATA Classification Criteria
IATA is also making a number of changes to the classification and naming criteria for hazmat air shipments, including:
- Adding a statement to clarify that packing groups for materials and specific packaging performance level requirements are addressed in the applicable Packing Instruction (PI). (22.214.171.124)
- A reference for the conditions that apply to absorbed gases. (126.96.36.199)
Revised Packing Instructions for Lithium Batteries (Section 5)
IATA is revising a number of packing instructions, including those for lithium batteries. For a complete list of revised instructions, view the full IATA document here.
- Clarifying PI 966 and PI 969 for lithium ion and lithium metal batteries packed with equipment.
- Updating PI 968 for Lithium metal batteries to identify them as for transport on Cargo Aircraft only.
Hazmat Marks and Labels (Section 7)
- For the 56th edition DGR, IATA clarifies the size and dimensions for all hazard and handling labels.
- Mandatory as of January 1, 2016, a new provision has been added which mandates a minimum size for lettering of the OVERPACK marking. (7.1.7)
Dangerous Goods Documentation [Section 8]
- Clarifying and updating the documentation requirements, including those for viscous flammable liquids (188.8.131.52.6) and lithium batteries prepared under Section IB of PI 965 and 968.
- Adding a new paragraph, 184.108.40.206, recommending shippers identify “not restricted” on the air way bill for non-DG packages bearing diamond-shaped GHS hazard communication labels.
The full document from IATA lists many other changes that will affect hazmat air shippers in 2015. Click here to read the full summary of significant changes from IATA.
56th Edition Now Available for Pre-Order
Hazmat air shippers can now pre-order the 56th edition IATA DGR at Lion.com. Shippers who order their copies before October 1 will receive free shipping to anywhere in the US. DGR pre-orders will begin shipping on November 1. Pre order your copy today to make sure your team has access to the rules they must follow in 2015 as soon as possible—don’t wait!
New Proposals in Hazmat Regulation Posted on August 21, 2014 by James Griffin
On August 11, at 79 FR 46748, the Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (DOT PHMSA) proposed to revise the Hazardous Material Regulations applicable to return shipments of certain hazardous materials by motor vehicle.
Hazmat “reverse logistics”—how retailers, manufacturers, and distributors deal with product returns of hazardous materials—is a pressing issue in hazmat safety. When a customer returns an item that contains or is itself hazmat, personnel otherwise unfamiliar with the Hazardous Materials Regulations may be tasked with preparing the shipment for transport.
Specifically, DOT PHMSA proposes to:
- Define the term “reverse logistics” as the process of returning goods to or between a vendor, distributor, manufacturer, or other person for the purpose of returning for credit, recalling product, replacement, or similar reason (for instance, from a retail or wholesale outlet).
- Establish a new section 49 CFR 173.157 to provide an exception for materials that are transported in a manner that meets the definition of ”reverse logistics.” In this exception, PHMSA proposes to clearly identify 1) the hazardous materials authorized, 2) packaging, 3) hazard communication, and 4) training requirements applicable to reverse logistics shipments.
- Expand the existing exception at 49 CFR 173.159 for reverse logistics shipments of used automobile batteries that are being shipped from a retail facility to a recycling center.
This notice of proposed rulemaking follows an advanced notice and request for information published on July 5, 2012 (77 FR 39662). PHMSA will be receiving public comments on this proposal until October 10, 2014, under Docket Number PHMSA-2011-0143(HM-253).
Standard Operating Procedures for Evaluating Special Permits and Approvals
On August 12, at 79 FR 47047, the Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (DOT PHMSA) proposed to address certain matters identified in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) related to the Office of Hazardous Materials Safety’s Approvals and Permits Division.
Specifically, DOT PHMSA proposes to incorporate its established special permit and approva policies into a new Appendix A to 49 CFR Part 107, including:
- Clear criteria for the technical completeness of applications;
- Standard operating procedures for evaluating whether special permits and approvals provide an equivalent level of safety;
- Standard operating procedures and criteria for evaluating the “fitness” of applicants to fulfill their obligations; and
- Revised definitions for the terms special permit and approval:
- Special Permit means a document issued by the Associate Administrator, the Associate Administrator’s designee, or as otherwise prescribed in the HMR, under the authority of 49 U.S.C. 5117 permitting a person to perform a function that is not otherwise permitted under the Hazardous Material Regulations.
- Approval means a written authorization, including a competent authority approval, issued by the Associate Administrator, the Associate Administrator’s designee, or as otherwise prescribed in the HMR, to perform a function for which prior authorization by the Associate Administrator is required under the Hazardous Material Regulations.
This proposal is another step in a multi-year program to standardize and streamline PHMSA’s special permit and approval program. PHMSA will be receiving public comments on this proposal until October 14, 2014, under Docket Number PHMSA-2012-493(HM-233E).
Hazmat Shipper Training
Be confident that you’re prepared for compliance with the latest hazmat shipping regulations for ground (US DOT), air (IATA), and ocean (IMO). Lion’s Multimodal Hazmat Shipper Certification Workshops are presented nationwide by expert instructors. Sign up today and gain peace of mind that you’re ready for any compliance challenge.
How Small Is Too Small for Hazmat Markings? Posted on August 19, 2014 by Robert Clarke
In 2013, domestic and international regulatory agencies (DOT, IATA, and IMO) implemented regulations to standardize the size of markings on packages of hazmat. Standardization across national borders, modes of transportation, and industry sectors streamlines compliance, reduces confusion, and increases the safety, security, and efficiency of international hazmat transportation. During this process, the one element that was not standardized was the implementation date.
US Hazardous Material Regulations
Markings on Non-bulk Packages: To harmonize domestic rules with international standards, starting January 1, 2017, the United States Department of Transportation will enforce minimum size requirements for identification number markings on non-bulk packages. This requirement does not apply to other markings on the package, such as the Proper Shipping Name and shipper’s or receiver’s name and address. The new size requirements for identification number markings are:
- At least 12 mm in size for packages larger than 30 kg or L
- At least 6 mm in size for packages greater than 5 and up to 30 kg or L
- At least 6 mm in size for cylinders less than or equal to 60 L water equivalent
- Of an adequate size for smaller packages
Until January 1, 2017, the minimum size for markings is optional. Also, packages that are permanently marked, by embossing or otherwise, before 2017 can remain in use without meeting the size requirements until the end of their useful service life.
[49 CFR 172.301(a)(1)]
IATA’s Dangerous Goods Regulations (IATA DGR)
Marking Size on all Packagings: Effective January 1, 2014, the IATA DGR instituted minimum size requirements for markings on packagings. The identification number markings must be:
- At least 12 mm in size for packages larger than 30 kg or L
- At least 6 mm in size for packages greater than 5 and up to 30 kg or L
- Of an adequate size for smaller packages
For overpack and other package markings, such as the Proper Shipping Name and the shipper’s and consignee’s name and address, the minimum sizes are:
- At least 12 mm in size for packages larger than 30 kg or L
- At least 6 mm in size for packages less than or equal to 30 kg or L
[IATA DGR 220.127.116.11]
IMO’s Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code)
Marking Size on all Packagings: Effective January 1, 2014, the IMDG Code instituted minimum size requirements for identification number markings on packagings. This requirement does not apply to other markings on the package, such as the Proper Shipping Name and the shipper’s or receiver’s name and address. The identification number markings must be:
- At least 12 mm in size for packages larger than 30 kg or L
- At least 6 mm in size for packages greater than 5 and up to 30 kg or L
- At least 6 mm in size for cylinders less than or equal to 60 L water equivalent
- Of an adequate size for smaller packages
Cylinders with a capacity of less than or equal to 60 liters that were marked prior to January 1, 2014 can continue to be used until the next or periodic inspection but must be in compliance with the 6 mm minimum size requirement by July 1, 2018 at the latest.
If you are not currently operating according to the above regulations, it is advisable to make the required changes to your operations. Abiding by the rules is important for several reasons:
- DOT inspectors can come to your company at any time to ensure compliance-
- Fines for hazmat shipping violations are now as high as $75,00 per day, per violation.
- Easily visible markings aid the efficient processing of your packages by carriers.
- Markings provide important information to first responders in the event of an incident in transit.
- Avoid costly processing delays.
- Maximize customer satisfaction.
Be confident your team has the knowledge and skills to prepare your hazmat shipments for ground, air, and ocean transport at the Multimodal Hazmat Shipper Workshops, presented nationwide. These interactive, engaging workshops cover the latest domestic and international hazmat shipping regulations and are designed to satisfy the applicable training standards for hazmat employees.
State EPCRA Variations Posted on August 12, 2014 by Anthony R. Cardno
The United States is a big nation with citizens who experience life differently in each state. Different food, different geography, and different music are only part of what makes the US an exciting place to live and work. That said, EHS managers know that there is another important difference between states, one that can cause confusion in industry: the environmental regulations.
The US EPA authorizes State agencies to adjust or add to the Federal air, water, and chemical regulations in order to better ensure compliance in their state. One environmental law that many states have “customized” is the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).
Section 312 of EPCRA requires the US EPA to collect annual data from facilities that have hazardous chemicals on site above certain threshold amounts at any one time.
Those thresholds, established in 40 CFR 370, are:
- ≥10,000 lbs. for any “hazardous chemical” as defined in 29 CFR 1910.1200; or
- ≥500 lbs. or the threshold planning quantity, whichever is lower, for “extremely hazardous substances” listed in 40 CFR 355.
This data is collected via the Tier I or Tier II reports submitted to the facility’s Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), State Emergency Response Commission (SERC), and nearest fire department on or before March 1 each year. The Federal regulation allows the reporter to choose which form to submit (the Tier I requires less detailed information than the Tier II), unless the SERC, LEPC, or fire department requires the Tier II.
While the US EPA gives facilities a choice of which form to submit, most states require submission of the more detailed Tier II report. This is just one example of the many variations different states use to implement EPCRA.
Fees and Additional Information
Twenty-four states assess a fee for filing the report, the dollar amount of which varies from state to state. Some states require interim updates (Oregon and Pennsylvania among them) or allow alternative calculation methods for certain industries (Louisiana). In Oregon, the reporting deadline varies from county to county.
Extra Chemicals and Lower Thresholds
Nevada, Oregon, Alaska, New Jersey, Missouri, and California all have expanded lists of chemicals that must be reported under EPCRA. Nevada, Oregon, Delaware, Louisiana, Vermont and California also have lower reporting thresholds for some, if not all, of the chemicals.
Case Study – California Business Plans
California’s Business Plan program is an excellent example of a State program subsuming the Federal one. Since 1986, facilities in California have been required to comply with the Business Plan program if they handle hazardous material (including hazardous wastes, hazardous substances, etc.), including:
- Liquids in amounts greater than or equal to 55 gallons; or
- Solids in amounts greater than or equal to 500 lbs.; or
- Compressed gases in amounts greater than or equal to 200 cubic feet; or
- Extremely hazardous substances listed in 40 CFR 355 in amounts greater than or equal to that substance’s threshold planning quantity.
Facilities subject to the Business Plan requirements must submit information electronically to the California Environmental Reporting System
(CERS), where it will be verified and evaluated by the facility’s Certified Unified Program Agency (CUPA). The required information includes:
- An inventory of the site’s hazardous materials;
- A detailed site map;
- A detailed emergency plan; and
- A training program for employees.
The CUPA then passes this information on to the LEPCs, SERCs, local fire departments, and more.
Gain an understanding of the Federal Tier II reporting requirements by attending the Complete Environmental Regulations Workshop. The workshop covers the critical elements of major EPA air, water, and chemical programs. You will get up to speed on new and changing regulations, know what permits and plans your site needs, and build confidence to make the right EHS decisions for your company.
PHMSA’s New Lithium Battery Rulemaking Published Today Posted on August 06, 2014 by Roger Marks
Today’s Federal Register includes a new US DOT Final Rule that makes major changes to the requirements for shipping lithium batteries in or from the US. The Final Rule incorporates international standards into the US DOT’s Hazardous Materials Regulations. These new lithium battery shipping regulations are effective immediately, and shippers have until February 6, 2015 to ensure their shipments are in compliance with the new requirements.
Among the major changes introduced by this rulemaking are:
- New classification criteria for lithium ion cells and batteries
- New marking and labeling requirements for lithium battery shipments;
- New requirements for transporting lithium batteries for disposal or recycling
- New provisions for shipping and transporting damaged, defective, and recalled lithium batteries
- Separate shipping descriptions for lithium metal and lithium ion batteries
- Revised provisions for shipping “small” and “medium” cells and batteries
The US DOT requires all hazmat shipping employees to complete training once every three years and as rules change that affect their responsibilities. [49 CFR 172.704] For the first time, US DOT lithium battery shipping regulations will now be harmonized with international standards such as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO), as well as the UN Model Regulations.
To help lithium battery shippers prepare for compliance with the new DOT requirements, Lion Technology will present the Shipping Lithium Batteries Webinar in August and September. The live, instructor-led webinar covers the latest regulations for shipping lithium ion or metal batteries by ground, air, and ocean. The webinar now covers the new requirements in PHMSA’s final rule and how they will immediately affect US shippers.
The webinar will be presented from 1 to 3 PM ET on August 12. Additional sessions will follow on September 11, September 23, and October 21. The cost for the webinar is $229 per student, and group discounts are available. Registration includes access to the interactive webinar, a copy of the presentation, a newly updated Compliance Reference, and a review quiz. Shippers can register online or by calling 888-546-6511.
When Lifting Objects, Do It Right Posted on August 05, 2014 by Joel Gregier
For many US employees, work involves tough manual labor, and one of the most common requirements is to lift heavy objects. Lifting objects is an everyday requirement of jobs in industries from manufacturing and construction to retail. Because heavy lifting is such an ordinary activity, workers may not take safety precautions seriously. Workers should be aware that lifting objects incorrectly can lead to serious injuries and problems and that they should have the information and equipment to protect themselves in the workplace.
Back Injury Frequencies
The US Department of Labor (DOL) collects information on workplace injuries and makes that data available to the public. According to its most recent statistics, back injuries, or “overexertion,” are the most common injuries. More than 20% of injuries that require days away from work or restricted or transferred duties (DART) are caused by overexertion in lifting or lowering.
Causes of Overexertion
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 50% of all DART injuries are soft-tissue damage (sprains, strains, tears, soreness, and bruises). Common causes of soft-tissue injuries include lifting objects that are too heavy, are too bulky, or have their weight unevenly distributed. During the lifting process, employees may bend, twist, or turn their bodies in ways that result in injury. It is critical to train employees on proper lifting techniques to prevent these types of injuries.
Preventing Back Injuries
Under its General Duty Clause, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to protect their employees from preventable injuries, whether or not the injury is addressed by a specific OSHA standard. While OSHA has not issued a formal standard for lifting technique, overexertion is a preventable condition and therefore subject to the General Duty Clause.
With that said, there are common safety precautions that employees can take to prevent injuries while lifting. For instance, when moving materials manually, employees should:
- Attach handles or holders to loads (if possible),
- Wear appropriate personal protective equipment, and
- Use proper lifting techniques.
Proper Lifting Technique
One of the easiest ways to prevent back injuries is to follow proper lifting techniques. Again, while this is not specifically outlined by OSHA, the following technique is a good rule of thumb to follow:
- Step 1: Plan ahead before lifting.
- Step 2: Set feet shoulder width apart.
- Step 3: Bend your knees and keep your back straight.
- Step 4: Grip the load firmly.
- Step 5: Tighten your stomach muscles.
- Step 6: Lift with your legs.
- Step 7: Keep your back straight as you lift.
- Step 8: Lift close to your body.
- Step 9: If you’re straining, get help.
Protect Your Team With Expert Training
While supervision and a strong safety program help keep workers safe, employees must be prepared to take steps to protect themselves and their co-workers from injury and illness in the workplace. Expert OSHA training at Lion.com is available to satisfy a number of OSHA training standards, as well as provide awareness training on a variety of workplace hazards.