INCIDENT RESPONSE: How to Comply with TDGA Incident Reporting Requirements

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Recent events in Japan are a dramatic reminder of the importance of incident response and management. Suppose one of your company’s trucks gets into a traffic accident while transporting a hazardous substance and creates a serious spill. If the truck driver gets seriously injured, the OHS laws will require you to report the incident. And if the chemical spills into a water source or does other harm to the environment, the environmental laws will probably require you to report the incident to environmental officials. But you may also have to submit a third report to the government. That’s because the federal Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act (TDGA) and Consolidated Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (TDGA Regulations) require the reporting of certain incidents involving the transportation of designated “dangerous goods.” We’ll explain the TDGA incident reporting requirements and how to comply with them. There’s also a chart providing links to the transportation of dangerous goods laws in each jurisdiction.

INCIDENT REPORT CHECKLISTS:

Download two checklists that will ensure that immediate and 30-day follow-up incident reports contain the necessary information.

WHAT THE LAW SAYS

Each jurisdiction has its own transportation of dangerous goods acts and regulations. (See the list on page X for a list of each jurisdiction’s transportation of dangerous goods laws.) But they all incorporate the requirements contained in the federal TDGA Regulations, including the incident reporting requirements, into their own regulations. In other words, the federal TDGA incident reporting requirements apply in all parts of Canada. So let’s look at what the TDGA and TDGA Regulations say about reporting incidents. Sec. 18 of the TDGA requires any person who has the charge, management or control of a means of containment to report any actual or anticipated release of dangerous goods that is or could be in excess of a quantity or concentration specified by the regulations from the means of containment if the release endangers, or could endanger, public safety. (This section also requires reporting of the loss or theft of dangerous goods over a quantity or concentration specified by the regulations. But the regulations for this particular reporting required haven’t been enacted yet.) The general reporting requirement covered by Sec. 18 of the TDGA is fleshed out in Part 8 of the TDGA Regulations, which covers accidental and imminent accidental release reporting requirements, including:

hen an immediate report is required; When a 30-day follow-up report is required; Who these reports should be made to; and The information that the reports should contain.<

We’ll discuss each of these areas in detail below.

HOW TO COMPLY

As safety coordinator, your responsibilities probably include ensuring that your company complies with the TDGA incident reporting requirements. To do this job, you need to understand the following:

When a Report Is Required

To understand when a report is required, you need to know about the two types of reports:

Immediate report.

Under the TDGA Regulations, an immediate report is required when there’s an accidental release of a quantity of dangerous goods or an emission of radiation that exceeds the levels set out in a table in Sec. 8.1. The levels vary depending on the class to which the dangerous good belongs. For example, a release of Class 2 dangerous goods (gases) must be reported for any quantity that could pose a danger to public safety or a sustained release of 10 minutes or more. A release of Class 3 dangerous goods (flammable and combustible liquids) must be reported for any release over 200L. An immediate report is also required for an “imminent” accidental release of dangerous goods. A report for an imminent release is considered a report for any subsequent actualrelease. Unfortunately, neither the TDGA or the TDGA Regulations define the term “immediate.” But given the seriousness of the incidents that require reporting, presumably these reports must be made as soon as possible. What constitutes a “release”? The TDGA defines “release” as:

  • A discharge, emission, explosion, outgassing or other escape of dangerous goods (or any component or compound evolving from dangerous goods) from a means of containment being used to handle or transport the dangerous goods; or
  • An emission from a means of containment being used to handle or transport dangerous goods of ionizing radiation that exceeds a level or limit established under the federal Nuclear Safety and Control Act.

Insider Says: For dangerous goods transported by air, reports are also needed for “dangerous goods accidents” and “dangerous goods incidents,” (as those terms are defined by the ICAO Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air). The reporting requirements that apply to actual and imminent accidental releases of dangerous goods not transported by air also apply to dangerous goods accidents and incidents involving goods transported by air.

30-day follow-up report.

If an immediate report was required for a release of dangerous goods, then a follow-up report must also be made within 30 days of the release.

Who Must Report the Release

In the event of an actual or imminent accidental release of dangerous goods, a person who has possession of the goods at the time of the release is required to make an immediate report. If multiple persons are in possession of the goods when there’s a release and one person makes an immediate report, the other persons aren’t required to make additional immediate reports. The duty to make the 30-day follow-up report falls on the employer of the person who had possession of the goods at the time of the release (or by that person if he’s self-employed).

What Information Report Must Contain

The information required varies by type of report:

Immediate report.

An immediate report must include as much of the following information as is known at the time of the report:

  •     The shipping name or UN number of the dangerous goods;
  •     The quantity of dangerous goods that: (i) was in the means of containment before the accidental release; and (ii) is known or suspected to have been released;
  •     A description of the condition of the means of containment from which the dangerous goods were released, including details as to whether the conditions of transport were normal when the means of containment failed;
  •     For an accidental release from a cylinder that has suffered a catastrophic failure, a description of the failure, such as there was an explosion, a valve sheared off or there was a crack in the cylinder;
  •     The location of the accidental release;
  •     For a ship, the position of the ship and the next location where the ship will be at anchor or alongside a fixed facility;
  •     The number of deaths and injuries resulting from the accidental release; and
  •     An estimate of the number of people evacuated fromprivate residences, public areas or public buildings as a result of the accidental release.

30-day follow-up report

  •          The 30-day follow-up report must include the following information:
  •         The name and address of the place of business of the person providing the information and the telephone number at which that person may be contacted;
  •         The date, time and location of the accidental release;
  •         The name and address of the place of business of the “consignor”—that is, the person who arranged to have the goods shipped;
  •         The classification of the dangerous goods;
  •         The estimatedquantity of dangerous goods released and the total quantity of dangerous goods in the means of containment before the accidental release;
  •         A description of the means of containment involved based on the identification markings and a description of the failure or damage to the means of containment, including how the failure or damage occurred;
  •         For an accidental release from a cylinder that has suffered a catastrophic failure, the certification safety marks and a description of the failure;
  •         The number of deaths and injuries resulting from the accidental release;
  •         An estimate of the number of people evacuated from private residences, public areas or public buildings; and
  •         If an emergency response assistance plan was activated, the name of the person(s) who responded to the emergency in accordance with this plan

 

INCIDENT REPORT CHECKLISTS: Download two checklists that will ensure that immediate and 30-day follow-up incident reports contain the necessary information.

Who to Send Report

An immediate report must be sent to:

  • The appropriate provincial or territorial authority listed in the table in Sec. 8.1 of the TDGA Regulations (see page X);
  • The person’s employer;
  • The consignor of the dangerous goods;
  • The owner, lessee or charterer of the road vehicle, if any;
  • For a railway vehicle, CANUTEC (the Canadian Transport Emergency Centre, which is part of Transport Canada, the government agency that enforces the TDGA);
  • For a ship, CANUTEC, a Vessel Traffic Services Centre or a Canadian Coast Guard radio station;
  • For an aircraft, an aerodrome or an air cargo facility, CANUTEC and the nearest Regional Civil Aviation Office of the Department of Transport and, if the aerodrome is an airport, the airport’s operator;
  • For Class 1, Explosives, and Class 6.2, Infectious Substances, CANUTEC; and
  • For an accidental release from a cylinder that has suffered a catastrophic failure, CANUTEC.

The 30-day follow-up report must be made in writing to the Director General of Transport Canada.

BOTTOM LINE

Even if your company complies with all of the requirements of the TDGA and TDGA Regulations, incidents can still happen while it’s transporting dangerous goods due to factors beyond your control, such as weather, other drivers, etc. When an incident happens and dangerous goods are released, it’s critical that local and federal authorities are notified as soon as possible to prevent or mitigate any damage done to human life, the environment or property. The TDGA incident reporting requirements ensure that critical information about releases of dangerous goods get into the right hands as soon as possible.

TRANSPORTATION OF DANGEROUS GOODS LAWS

Here are the laws for each jurisdiction on the transportation of dangerous goods:

FEDERAL: Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act; Consolidated Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regs.

ALBERTA: Dangerous Goods Transportation and Handling Act; Dangerous Goods Transportation and Handling Regs.

BRITISH COLUMBIA: Transport of Dangerous Goods Act; Transport of Dangerous Goods Reg.

MANITOBA: Dangerous Goods Handling and Transportation Act; Dangerous Goods Handling and Transportation Reg.

NEW BRUNSWICK: Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act; General Regulation – Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act

NEWFOUNDLAND/LABRADOR: Dangerous Goods Transportation Act; Dangerous Goods Transportation Regs.

NORTHWEST TERRITORIES/NUNAVUT: Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act; Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regs.

NOVA SCOTIA: Dangerous Goods Transportation Act; Dangerous Goods Transportation Regs.

ONTARIO: Dangerous Goods Transportation Act; Dangerous Goods Transportation Act, Reg. 261

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND: Dangerous Goods (Transportation) Act; Dangerous Goods (Transportation) Act Regs.

QUéBEC: Highway Safety Code; Transportation of Dangerous Substances Reg.

SASKATCHEWAN: Dangerous Goods Transportation Act; Dangerous Goods Transportation Regs.

YUKON: Dangerous Goods Transportation Act; Dangerous Goods Transportation Reg.