PHMSA Revises DOT-39 Hazmat Cylinder Safety Alert
See the revised PHMSA Safety Alert in the Federal Register.
The safety notice aims to address the risk posed by larger volumes of liquefied flammable compressed gases in cylinders. DOT-39 cylinders can have a volume of up to 1,526 in.3 (25 L) at a service pressure of 500 psig or less. When offering compressed gases at lower pressures in cylinders, shippers may be authorized to use cylinders with thinner walls—which increases the risk of puncture or corrosion in transit.
The 75 in.3 volume limit has a history: In 1998, PHMSA—then known as the Research and Special Program Administration (RSPA)—proposed a rulemaking to limit all liquefied flammable compressed gases to 75 in.3 when shipped in DOT-39 cylinders. RSPA decided against this, but then inadvertently omitted the 75 in.3 limit for cyclopropane, ethane, ethylene, and liquefied petroleum gases from the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) when finalizing the rule in 2002.
DOT tried to correct this error in 2016, when—in response to petitions from industry stakeholders—the Agency proposed a new rule to update the hazmat cylinder requirements and revise the cylinder filling requirements for cyclopropane, ethane, and ethylene in 49 CFR 173.304(a)(2). This rule has not yet been finalized.
Until a Final Rule is published, PHMSA is relying on its safety alert to help shippers and carriers avoid what the Agency (and many industry stakeholders) see as an unsafe shipping practice.
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Tags: DOT, hazmat shipping, PHMSA
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