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Who Regulates the Transportation of Hazardous Materials?

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Who Regulates the Transportation of Hazardous Materials?

If you work in an industry that deals with hazardous materials, it’s important to know who regulates the transportation of hazardous materials for your personal safety as well as the safety of others. In Canada, the transportation of hazardous materials is regulated by the Government of Canada through The Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) Program.

In this week’s blog, we will be diving into what the TDG program is, what is classified as a dangerous good, key elements of TDG & safety tips, however, the information below is provided as guidance only – ALWAYS check the TDG Act and Regulations to ensure compliance.

In the event of an emergency involving dangerous goods, call CANUTEC at 1-888-CAN-UTEC (226-8832), 613-996-6666 or *666 on a cellular phone.

CANUTEC is the Canadian Transport Emergency Centre operated by the TDG Directorate. Its overall mandate is to promote the safe movement of people and goods throughout Canada. Canadian consignors can register online to use CANUTEC’s free, 24-hour emergency telephone number on their dangerous goods shipping documents.

What is the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Program?

The Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) Program develops safety standards and regulations surrounding the transportation of hazardous materials for all modes of transportation regulated by Transport Canada. The program provides risk-based oversight and expert advice on dangerous goods, promoting public safety. The Program is also responsible for TDG research and data analysis, performed through international collaboration to ensure safe and secure transportation of dangerous goods worldwide.

In Canada, the transportation of hazardous materials is strictly regulated under the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992. The Act and the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations were designed to promote public safety (people, property and the environment) and security during the transportation of dangerous goods.

The most updated regulations published by the TDG Program is the Regulations Amending the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (Formatting Changes) which was published in the Canada Gazette, Part II on Feb 19, 2020.

What is considered a ‘Dangerous Good’ or ‘Hazardous Material’?

The Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) Act, 1992, defines the term “dangerous goods” (also known as hazardous material) as “…a product, substance or organism included by its nature or by the regulations in any of the classes listed in the schedule”

The Schedule to the TDG Act identifies nine classes of dangerous goods:

Classes of Dangerous Goods

Class 1 Explosives, including explosives within the meaning of the Explosives Act
Class 2 Gases; compressed, deeply refrigerated, liquefied or dissolved under pressure
Class 3 Flammable and combustible liquids
Class 4 Flammable solids; substances liable to spontaneous combustion; substances that on contact with water emit flammable gases
Class 5 Oxidizing substances; organic peroxides
Class 6 Poisonous (toxic) and infectious substances
Class 7 Radioactive materials and radioactive prescribed substances within the meaning of the Atomic Energy Control Act
Class 8 Corrosives
Class 9 Miscellaneous products, substances or organisms considered by the Governor-in-Council to be dangerous to life, health, property or the environment when handled, offered for transport or transported and prescribed to be included in this class

Manufacturers cannot offer dangerous or hazardous materials for transport unless they have been properly classified. Goods will fall within one of the nine classes above and in some cases, will be further identified by divisions within the class. For example, Class 2, gases, have three divisions including flammable gases, non-flammable and non-toxic gases, and toxic gases. These divisions allow for more precise identification of the hazard associated with certain goods.

Handling the Transportation of Hazardous Goods

“Handling” dangerous or hazardous goods is defined by the TDG Act as the “loading, unloading, packing or unpacking of dangerous goods in a means of containment or transport for the purposes of, in the course of or following transportation and includes storing them in the course of transportation”.

Did you know that when it comes to transporting and handling hazardous materials, the most important aspect of handling the goods in a safe matter is the “means of containment”, aka, the packaging? 

If the packaging of the hazardous materials is appropriate,

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the risks of a serious incident occurring is significantly reduced. Because of this, representative committees from industry, government, environmental groups, and others have developed standardized designs and methods of manufacturing packaging (or other means of containment) for particular types of Hazardous materials.

Transportation of Hazardous Goods Safety & Training

TDG Regulations require that (with few exceptions) every individual handling, offering for transport or transporting of dangerous goods must be trained on all aspects of the TDG Act and Regulations that apply to their assigned duties.

As we have mentioned in many of our safety blogs in the past, proper training is always a large key element in performing any job duty in the safest way.

It’s also important that any facility working with handling and transporting hazardous materials have effective enforcement,

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which requires a knowledgeable person in the position on mentoring the flow of hazardous materials to ensure compliance with the TDG Act and Regulations. Inspectors are designated under the TDG Act to cover the many facets of packaging and transportation of dangerous goods and given them various powers to ensure public safety.