Day 5 Summary

UNSCOE TDG 56th Session - Day 5 Summary

The United Nations Subcommittee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods 56th Session is being held December 4-11, 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland. This meeting is the 2nd session in the 2019-2020 biennial cycle. As of Day 5, there are 32 formal and 55 informal papers to be discussed. The following summary is provided to assist your understanding of the topics being presented and track the progress of the discussions.

Summary of Papers

Day 5

Plenary Discussions

2019/57 – Transport by post of Class 7 excepted packages with limited activity – Noting challenges with transporting Class 7 excepted packages in the mail, Switzerland believed that introducing a marking similar to that found in in the ICAO TI for such packages would facilitate transport. Spain opposed the proposal noting such packages may be permitted under UPU provisions but their domestic regulations do not permit their transport by post. The UK agreed with Spain. Germany also shared similar concerns and added that their radioactive experts did not believe the mark was appropriate for modes other than air. Based on the discussion, Switzerland withdrew the proposal. No proposals were adopted.

2019/70 – Harmonization with the International Atomic Energy Agency Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material – The Secretariat identified a number of corrections to align the Model Regulations with the current text in the IAEA SSR.6, Rev. 1 document. Austria, Germany, the UK, Australia, Canada and France supported the first two proposals in the document. The third proposal addressed words in the French version, and France voiced concern that the proposed change could have a significant impact. Therefore they opposed proposal 3. Switzerland suggested adding a definition of the terms in the French version and that would limit its impact to other areas of the Model Regulations. The Subcommittee adopted the first two proposals, but indicated they needed additional information from the IAEA before adopting proposal 3. 

2019/53 – Minor revision of paragraph – The EU and the Netherlands proposed minor editorial amendments to paragraph addressing the classification of mixtures of corrosive materials. No classification changes were intended. The UK agreed it was editorial in nature and supported the proposal. Austria and Belgium also supported the document with minor amendments. China did not find fault with the language. But they believed that additional test methods should be considered to discriminate between packing groups. The Subcommittee discussed the challenges with the text. Based on the discussion, it was decided to adopt the text in square brackets and permit delegations to consider more appropriate language later in the biennium.

2019/67 – Proposed changes to Annex I of the GHS – The UK introduced a tabular form of the pictograms and corresponding hazard labels that will be included in the GHS. The information does not impact the TDG regulations but helps visually show the relationship between GHS and TDG pictograms and labels. The US supported the effort. The Subcommittee noted support for the document. No proposals were adopted.

INF.54 – Classification of cobalt dihydroxide powder and similar compounds – RPMASA shared their results of additional discussions on the topic in the margins of the meeting. The full summary is provided in INF.54. Based on the discussion, RPMASA will submit a formal paper to the 57th Session proposing new entries for both cobalt dihydroxide and mixtures of cobalt dihydroxide for packing groups I, II, and III. No proposals were adopted.

INF.37; INF.40; INF.55 – Optical differentiation of labels/placards for gases: outcome of the working group meeting on the proposals in INF.37 and INF.40 – CTIF shared results of discussions made during the 56th Session on the topic. The addition of the cylinder symbol was not supported. Alternately, the text “flammable gas” or “toxic gas” could be used. It was recognized that if such an approach was taken, transition periods must be considered. It was also recognized that electronic exchange of emergency response information would be a more beneficial approach. Based on the discussion, CTIF indicated they would consider additional steps and may return with a revised proposal at a future session. No proposals were adopted.

2019/42; INF.46; INF.53 – Transport of transformers with gas cylinders – revisions of 2019/42 and INF.46 – Germany presented a revised proposal based on previous comments made on 2019/42. The UK suggested that might be a better location for the proposal and suggested expanding that text before adopting a new special provision. The US supported the proposal as drafted. Switzerland did not support the approach from the UK as they believed it would “short circuit” the whole of the Model Regulations. They preferred to adopt the German proposal and review at a later date. Sweden, Canada, the Netherlands and Belgium also supported the German proposal. Based on a majority vote, the proposals in INF.53 were adopted.

2019/61; INF.28; INF.51 – Follow up to 2019/61 from COSTHA and INF.28 from France – COSTHA shared the progress of discussions on Fire Suppression devices and possible considerations for providing considerations for articles containing explosives to be considered as Class 9 or other hazard classes. INF.51 provided a summation of discussions and COSTHA commented these items would be the basis of a formal paper to be presented at the next session. The US noted concern over the first question in paragraph 5(a), stating it was too subjective and requested it be removed. The Subcommittee discussed the importance of the work and stated that technical discussions on the topic should be referred to the EWG while policy discussions should be reserved for the Subcommittee. France and COSTHA reiterated the importance of a double approach: 1. Looking at future tests or conditions that could be used to classify articles out of Class 1 without consideration of end use, and 2. Looking at specific examples of articles that may be excluded from Class 1 today (fire extinguishing/suppression devices(COSTHA/France) and self-inflating devices (Germany)). Based on comments on the paper, COSTHA indicated they would work with interested delegations in developing a formal paper for the 57th Session to be considered by the EWG. Either in combination or separately, they would provide papers to support the discussion of specific articles. No proposals were adopted.

INF.3; INF.8 – Review of GHS Chapter 2.1 (explosives): advanced draft – Sweden provided an advance draft to Chapter 2.1 of the GHS addressing the physical classification of explosives. The draft is approaching its final stages and will likely be considered for adoption in near-future sessions. There are no impacts or changes to the Model Regulations. The paper was submitted for information only. No proposals were adopted.

INF.12 – Clarification of paragraph of Model Regulations and paragraph of GHS – China requested reconsideration of language in addressing mixtures of substances to be considered as toxic to the aquatic environment. They believed the current language in both the Model Regulations and the GHS are confusing and are not completely harmonized. They suggested changes to both texts. The UK supported the proposals but offered extensive editorial amendments. The Netherlands did not believe the note would add clarity adding the text is already quite complex. They supported the concept but preferred to proceed cautiously. The US supported the proposal and recommended the issue be discussed by GHS before the TDG took a final decision. China indicated they would welcome written comments from the Subcommittee and will report on the results of discussions of the paper at the GHS Subcommittee. No proposals were adopted.

INF.36 – IWG on combinations of physical hazards: Status of work and agenda for the working group meeting on 11 December 2019 – Germany reported on the progress made on the Informal Working Group on physical hazards within the GHS. The next meeting will be on 11 December 2019. No proposals were adopted.

2019/68; INF.39 – Tests for oxidizing liquids and oxidizing solids improvement regarding consideration for particle size, friable or coated materials – France shared their results in continued review of reference substances for oxidizing tests, particularly reviewing tests on coated subject materials. Additional data was shared in INF.39. They indicated they would be wrapping up testing in 2019 and will provide further reviews of the topic in 2020. No proposals were adopted.

INF.52 – Harmonization of RID/ADR/ADN with the 21st revised edition of the Model Regulations – The Secretariat identified three (3) of corrections in the French version of the Model Regulations based on comparisons with the RID/ADR/ADN. France believed these were generally typographical corrections and supported the proposals.  The Subcommittee adopted the proposals as presented in INF.52.

This concludes discussion of the papers presented to the 56th Session of the UN Subcommittee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods.

End of Day 5.