Thread: Packing Groups

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    Default Packing Groups

    I am wondering if anybody has a experiences/incidents where the understanding of a packing group designation made a difference in a response. For example, perhaps you lowered your PPE level because a corrosive material was a PGIII as opposed to PGII.

    thanks-N

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    Can't say we ever use packing groups during a response. We use our own research to decide what level of protection to use. I not sure that using a packing group is an appropriate way to decide level of protection. I would rather rely on chemical properties.

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    Nate,

    While they do provide useful information, packing group designations don't provide all the information necessary to make a correct PPE decision.

    You will find a packing group as part of a DOT shipping description. Generally speaking, packing groups rank the degree of hazard for a material within its hazard class.

    Take, for example, the following DOT shipping description:

    Sulfuric acid, 8, UN1830, PGII

    In this case, the PGII will only tell you that the sulfuric acid will cause visible destruction of the skin tissue in under 60 minutes. The only PPE information that this might allude to is skin protection.

    The source that you can usually rely on with any degree of accuracy is the MSDS that should accompany any shipments. These particular MSDS's are usually specific to the material being shipped.

    I hope that this helps.

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    Default Packing groups...

    I concur with the two previous entries. Rely on your MSDS, DOT placards, and the ERG and NIOSH books as resources. The packing groups are more for the shipping industry.
    While working with the Enviromental Health and Safety guys at FAU for two semesters, packing groups were important to us when we segregated and packaged hazardous waste to be shipped off to the proper waste site. In transfering the waste from the university to the company transporting the waste, the packig group was important to comply with governmental codes. From an emergency response standpoint, I could almost care less. Sure, it's nice to know, and yes, it is another piece of the identification puzzle, but almost insignificant compared to all other means of identification.

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    Back in my Coast Guard days the Packing Group was relevent only in so far as providing the appropriate level of protection/seperation for the hazardousness of the material being transported. The packing group was not used as a response guide, as stated that was left to the ERG/NIOSH Guidebook/MSDS. MSDS's are great to have in your pre-plans.
    "Experience is the name everyone gives their mistakes." Oscar Wilde

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    Thanks for the input guys, I appreciate the field responders perspective of them, and with the research I have been doing I understand them better. I talked about them briefly in a series of tanker truck schools we gave to FDs and related them to initial understanding of the product, the hazard classes, and 49CFR. Not too many people are aware of PG. Thanks-Nate.

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    Packing Groups are helpful when you are trying to classify an unknown material for appropriate response. PG1 tells you that the material presents great danger, PG2 medium danger and PG3 minor danger. However, packing groups are not assigned to Class 2, Class 7, some Class 6.2 or ORM-D. I would still base PPE level on material, route of exposure, sampling, monitoring etc.
    "Experience is the name everyone gives their mistakes." Oscar Wilde

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