UN Committee Chairman Addresses HMAC Meeting

Sergio Benassai, chairman of the United Nations Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, outlined the regulatory changes in the 11th Edition of the United Nations Regulations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods adopted during December 1998. Benassai was a guest speaker at the 1999 HMAC Annual Conference in Washington DC. Benassai noted these major changes: *Introduction of requirements concerning large packagings designed for mechanical handling; outer packagings containing explosive articles, batteries, air bag kits, and bulk supplies of chemicals in inner packaging. *Revision of portable tank instructions, guidelines for assigning Portable Tank requirements for Classes 3 to 9 as indicated in Annex 2 of the UN Recommendations. *Packing instructions (packagings, IBCs, and large packagings) for all classes. *Adoption of IAEA requirements concerning Class 7 (radioactive materials). New Discussion

After the recommendation of the 19th Session of the UN Committee (December 1996), Benassai said, "It is expected that new requirements will be implemented in modal regulations by Jan 1, 2001."

In this biennium (1999-2000), he said, these items will be discussed: *Gas cylinders and multiple-element gas containers. *Transport documentation. *Transport in bulk.

Miscellaneous amendments (listing and classification, explosives, lithium batteries, limited quantities, packaging issues, portable tank issues, consignment procedures, and segregation) also will be considered.

Benassai said the work on the Global Harmonized System by the OECD for health and environmental hazards and by ILO-UN Committee on physical hazards has been completed with reference to substances. Harmonization of classification criteria for mixtures and for hazard communication is still at the first step (analysis of existing systems). Work is expected to be complete by the end of the year, Benassai said.

A major organizational change is expected in the near future, he said. A new committee will be established by ECOSOC to deal with the Global Harmonized System and with Transport of Dangerous Goods. This new committee will approve work programs and will formally endorse recommendations of two subcommittees: a new one dealing with GHS and the other dealing with TDG (the new committee will absorb, with no change in composition, role, functions, procedures, the existing committee and subcommittee on TDG). This structure could be in operation by 2001.

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