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Transportation of Dangerous Goods: Lithium-Ion Batteries, Online Training, and Temporary Certificates

The regulations surrounding transportation of dangerous goods are ever-changing. The recent release of the Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) fall/winter 2020 newsletter from Transport Canada highlights some interesting developments with regards to the transportation of dangerous goods. Let’s take a look at some of those developments in greater detail.

Transporting Lithium-Ion Batteries

In 2019, Tracey Thibeau, CSS and Senior Safety Consultant, wrote about the importance of shipping lithium-ion batteries safely, as well as discussed how the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) updated their safety regulations surrounding shipping these batteries. In Canada, the shipment of lithium-ion batteries is regulated under the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992. Thibeau suggested that due to the tighter restrictions brought forward by the FAA in the US, Canada should see similar changes to align with our neighbour’s regulations.

An October 2019 study conducted by Transport Canada compared the handling of regular packages to those marked dangerous goods and analyzed the effects that seemingly regular handling would have on such packages. The study found that environmental conditions, including factors like humidity, vibration, and large drops, have an adverse effect on the safe handling of packages containing lithium-ion batteries. The packages in the test followed the worldwide safe handling protocols outlined in subsection UN 38.3 of the UN manual of Tests and Criteria for environmental conditions during transport.

While the study provided some recommendations, including improvements to packaging and exposure to environmental conditions, Transport Canada’s newsletter suggests that innovation and research surrounding these issues is ongoing through the TDG Program.

Adapting to TDG Online Training

We’ve seen several industries that would traditionally train employees in the classroom move to online training because of COVID-19. While online training was thought to be a temporary measure for a lot of these industries, there’s been some unexpected benefits that have shifted the conversation more towards continuing online training even once the pandemic ends or convert training to a hybrid model with both classroom and virtual components.

The Transportation of Dangerous Goods industry is no different. In the TDG Fall/Winter 2020 newsletter, Rebecca Conway outlines how virtual training for a variety of topics, from TDG Inspections to B5620 , B620 Highway Tank Facility Inspections, have been delivered online since March 2020. Due to positive feedback, they are looking at adapting more courses for an online audience.

Some of the advantages that were found when Transport Canada adapted their TDG classroom-based courses to online are similar to those that our clients typically see, such as:

  • Flexibility with training, meaning that more people can be trained at one time without the need for travel
  • Finding a space for training is no longer needed
  • More flexible scheduling
  • Virtual training allows independent learning
  • Opportunity for collaboration in a live training environment between learners without geographical differences being an issue

One of the main concerns surrounding adapting classroom training online is engagement. However, when we take a look at factors such as motivation and its effect on learning, as well as techniques and research surrounding what keeps students engaged and motivated, we can see that it is possible to create an environment where an online course or program is just as engaging if not more so than a classroom.

Updates to Temporary Certificates

Disruptions caused by COVID-19 meant that Transport Canada issued temporary certificates, including extensions on existing TDG certification, to get everyone through the pandemic. If you held valid TDG certification as of March 2020, then that certification expiration deadline was extended until January 31, 2021.

In normal circumstances, TDG certification is valid for three years from the date it was issued. If you need to obtain TDG certification to ensure compliance, Our TDG online training course is available.

We also have dates available for the end of March 2021 for our Virtual Instructor-led Ground Train the Trainer TDG course, geared towards supervisors or those responsible for training workers who may be involved in transporting, handling, shipping, receiving, or supplying dangerous goods.

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