Enforcement personnel in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. inspected 9,259 commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) transporting hazardous materials/dangerous goods (HM/DG) as part of the Transportation of Dangerous Goods/Hazardous Materials (TDG/HM) Road Blitz on Aug. 12-16, 2019. Inspectors identified 683 out-of-service HM/DG conditions.
During the North America-wide 2019 TDG/HM Road Blitz, 15,197 HM/DG packages were inspected; 8,594 were non-bulk packages/small means of containment and 6,603 were bulk packages/large means of containment (5,730 cargo tank and 873 other bulk).
Inspectors found 66 violations for package integrity (leaking) and 204 violations for loading and securement, all resulting in out-of-service conditions. There were 181 other packaging violations, resulting in 50 out-of-service conditions. Of the 432 total placarding violations, 102 were out-of-service conditions. There were 1,156 shipping paper violations, 226 were out-of-service conditions. Out of 171 markings violations, 35 were out-of-service conditions. In addition:
- Class 1 explosives, such as ammunition, fireworks, flares, etc., were inspected 262 times.
- Class 2 gases were inspected 2,108 times. Class 2 gases are categorized as flammable, non-flammable/non-poisonous and poisonous.
- Class 3 flammable liquids were inspected 5,446 times. Examples of flammable liquids are acetone, adhesives, paints, gasoline, ethanol, methanol, some pesticides, etc.
- Class 4 materials were inspected 276 times. Class 4 materials are flammable solids, substances liable to spontaneously combust and substances that, on contact with water, emit flammable gases. Examples of Class 4 materials are white phosphorus and sodium.
- Class 5 oxidizing agents and organic peroxides were inspected 339 times. Class 5 materials include chemicals, such as hydrogen peroxide, potassium permanganate, sodium nitrite, ammonium nitrate fertilizers and oxygen generators.
- Class 6 toxic and infectious substances were inspected 200 times. This means any material, other than a gas, that is so toxic to humans that it presents a health hazard during transportation. Cyanide, biological samples, clinical wastes and some pesticides are examples of Class 6 hazards.
- Class 7 radioactive materials, such as cobalt and cesium, were inspected 87 times.
- Class 8 materials were inspected 1,728 times. Class 8 corrosive substances, such as sulfuric acid and sodium hydroxide, are liquid or solid corrosive materials that cause full thickness destruction of human skin at the site of contact within a specified time.
- Class 9 miscellaneous HM/DG and articles were inspected 667 times. Acetaldehyde ammonia, asbestos, elevated temperature materials and benzaldehyde are Class 9 materials.
The goal of this TDG/HM Road Blitz initiative is to:
- Heighten awareness of the rules and regulations in place to keep the public and the environment safe from HM/DG during transportation.
- Call attention to the hard work of the enforcement community that inspects CMVs transporting HM/DG and enforces regulatory compliance.
- Highlight the steps taken by safety-compliant drivers, shippers and motor carriers to ensure HM/DG is appropriately marked, placarded, contained and secured while being transported from location to location.
Since 2012, Transport Canada and Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) member jurisdictions in Canada have held this annual week-long national enforcement blitz to conduct inspections and verify compliance with Canada’s TDG Regulations. This year, however, was the first time that the U.S. and Mexico joined Canada in this initiative focused on the inspections, regulatory compliance and enforcement of HM/DG regulations. As a combined North American initiative, this event allowed enforcement partners across national borders to foster North America-wide uniformity of HM/DG enforcement activities and gather and share valuable compliance and enforcement information.
“Every day, hazardous materials are shipped throughout North America,” said CVSA President Sgt. John Samis with the Delaware State Police. “Such materials are often necessary for people’s way of life; however, these materials can also be dangerous and without proper care, rules and regulations, there is the potential to endanger human life and damage the environment. That is why it is so important that drivers, inspectors, motor carriers, manufacturers and governments continually work together to ensure the safe transportation of HM/DG and to eliminate any risk of incidents.”
Governments in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. have rules, policies, statutes and regulations that apply to the transportation of HM/DG, as well as inspection and enforcement programs to ensure compliance with safety regulations.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is responsible for regulating and ensuring the safe and secure movement of hazardous materials and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is the modal agency responsible for highway transportation safety and its hazardous materials regulations are specific to highway transportation through its Hazardous Materials Program. To minimize threats to life, property or the environment due to HM-related incidents, PHMSA’s Office of Hazardous Materials Safety develops Hazardous Materials Regulations and standards for the classification, handling and packaging of more than 1 million daily shipments of hazardous materials within the U.S. Members of the CMV enforcement community in U.S. states and territories enforce the Hazardous Materials Regulations by conducting inspections on CMVs transporting hazardous materials to determine compliance with all pertinent sections of the regulations and by taking enforcement actions, when appropriate, to ensure proper compliance.
In Canada, the TDG Act and TDG Regulations promote public safety when dangerous goods are handled or transported. The TDG Regulations are the rules that prescribe safety standards and shipping requirements for thousands of dangerous goods. The regulations also establish safety requirements for the transportation of dangerous goods. Effective TDG enforcement requires that knowledgeable inspectors monitor the flow of dangerous goods shipments to ensure compliance with the TDG Act and TDG Regulations. Inspectors are designated under the TDG Act to cover the many facets of packaging and transportation of dangerous goods and are given powers to safeguard the public. Inspectors are entitled to inspect the consignment and use the powers given to them under the TDG Act to ensure that any movement of dangerous goods is made in compliance with the TDG Act and regulations.
In Mexico, the Official Mexican Standards (Normas Oficiales Mexicanas or NOMs) augment the Mexican regulations for the land transport of hazardous materials and wastes. Mexico’s Secretariat of Communications and Transportation is responsible for publishing and maintaining the NOMs. In addition, other Mexican government agencies have published standards relevant to the transportation of hazardous materials within Mexico.
“Regulated hazardous materials are transported on our roadways every day and we need to ensure those shipments are travelling safely and securely,” said Sgt. Samis. “Canada, Mexico and the U.S. all participated in this 2019 TDG/HM inspection and enforcement initiative demonstrating the universally held need to safeguard compliance, safety, efficiency and responsibility when packaging, storing, transporting, monitoring and handling HM/DG.”