On Friday, November 1, US DOT PHMSA posted a safety advisory notice warning of unapproved propane cylinders
produced by a company called Metal Mate in Thailand. The cylinders bear the DOT specification markings “DOT 4E” or “DOT 4BA”—but the company is not approved by PHMSA to manufacture cylinders. The cylinders can be identified by the company name “Metal Mate” and an “MM” logo stamped into the cylinder collar.
These cylinders must not be used to transport hazardous materials
. DOT states that they may not perform to the DOT performance standards and may not be safe for commercial transportation or consumer use.
The unapproved Metal Mate cylinders have made their way around the globe: PHMSA found two cylinders in Australia marked “DOT 4E 240” which third party testing found may not perform to the DOT 4E standard. Unapproved cylinders were also found in Colombia and DOT believes the company shipped cylinders to Bangladesh and New Zealand.
Read more: What is DOT Specification Packaging?
DOT Hazmat Packaging Requirements
Under the 49 CFR Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR), cylinders and other packagings designed to transport hazardous materials must meet rigid performance standards (in most cases).
For cylinders, these specifications are found in 49 CFR 178.35—178.75 and regulate every detail of manufacture: the type of materials used, the capacity, service pressure, closures, wall thickness, manufacturing method and more. The regulations also lay out requirements for testing cylinders to ensure they perform to specification.
While foreign manufactures can obtain approval from PHMSA to manufacture cylinders and perform required testing outside of the US, the company in the safety advisory did not get such an approval.
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