49 CFR: Keeping Up With the Changes

Posted on 8/31/2011 by James Griffin

Each year on the first day of October, the Government Printing office (GPO) publishes a new edition of the last quarter of the Code of Federal Regulations, including Title 49-Transportation. This annual printing includes all rule changes, amendments, and modifications made since the last edition. 
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration typically publishes an omnibus set of editorial corrections and clarifications sometime in September in order to assist the GPO’s recodification of the Hazardous Material Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180).
Lion Technology would like to do its part to assist the regulated community and remind them of upcoming rule transitions and new requirements that have come into effect during the past year. 
Removal of 49 CFR 171.14-Transitional Provisions
Section 171.14 of the HMR summarizes transitional provisions for new regulations as they come into effect. As most of the section is outdated, the DOT is eliminating section 171.14 of the HMR and transferring the few remaining provisions to appropriate sections in the HMR. 
The HMR will still allow the old (December 31, 2006)
  • Shipping description sequences (proper shipping name first) until January 1, 2013. [172.202(b)] 
  • Design on Division 5.2 placards and labels for highway transport until January 1, 2014 [172.552] 
  • Classification and packing group assignments for Class 3 and Division 6.1 hazardous materials, see 173.120 and 173.133, respectively. 
Special Permits
January 5, 2011: PHMSA made significant revisions to the procedures for applying for a special permit, including applications for extensions or party-to status. After receiving a significant number of comments, petitions, and appeal requests on these revisions, the Administration responded on July 26, 2011 with a few minor corrections to the January 5 final rule.
February 2, 2011: PHMSA incorporated several long-standing and well-proven cargo tank special permits into the HMR. 
August 30, 2011: After at least one dangerous incident that resulted in fatalities, PHMSA is reminding the regulated community of the “importance of adhering to Federal requirements when offering and transporting hazardous materials in DOT Special Permit (SP) packages.” 
March 2, 2011: PHMSA finalized regulations for “Enhanced Enforcement Authority Procedures” in a new Part 109 to 49 CFR. To implement the new enforcement procedures, the DOT wrote a Joint Operations Manual for inspectors from each of the Department’s modal agencies (FAA, FRA, FHWA, PHMSA) to follow when implementing this new authority.
Explosives and Fireworks
June 7, 2011: PHMSA and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration adopted the 2010 edition of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 498-Standard for Safe Havens and Interchange Lots for Vehicles Transporting Explosives for unattended storage of high explosive (Division 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3) hazardous materials. 
June 29, 2011: PHMSA clarified its intent that only fireworks manufacturers or their designated agents should apply for an Explosives Approval from PHMSA. 
Lithium Batteries
January 11, 2010: PHMSA proposed to make significant changes to the hazardous material regulations that apply to lithium batteries. PHMSA completed a final version of this rule and sent it to the Office of Management and Budget for review on October 5, 2010. Since then, there has been no official activity on this rulemaking project, but Lion Technology has heard unconfirmable rumors that a new proposal may be published before the end of the year.
Miscellaneous Amendments and Harmonization
July 20, 2011: PHMSA made miscellaneous amendments to update and clarify the hazardous material regulations. (Previously discussed on Lion Technology’s blog.) 
June 27, 2011: PHMSA removed saccharin and its salts from the list of hazardous substances (49 CFR 172.101 Appendix A) in order to conform to the EPA’s revised assessment of the environmental hazards of saccharin. 
January 19, 2011: Several weeks behind schedule, PHMSA promulgated the biennial international harmonization amendment, making numerous conforming amendments to the HMR to reflect similar changes in international standards. The most significant provision of this harmonization rule was the new standards and symbols for limited quantity packages, last discussed by Lion Technology here: PHMSA Publishes HM215-K, International Harmonization Rule.
May 9, 2011: PHMSA and the U.S. Coast Guard published a guidance document on how to classify Marine Pollutants, including a discussion of the differences between 49 CFR 172.101 Appendix B and international definitions. 
Other Issues
February 28, 2011: As part of a Department-wide effort to crack down on distracted driving, PHMSA prohibited motor vehicle drivers from texting or operating electronic devices while transporting high consequence shipments of hazardous materials. 
April 6, 2011: PHMSA denied the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) petition to classify polyurethane foam and allied products as hazardous materials. 
May 20, 2011: PHMSA extended the compliance deadline for new requirements for Intermodal Equipment Providers from June 30, 2011 to June 30, 2012. 
June 7, 2011: PHMSA issued a Safety Advisory warning the public about improperly marked and unauthorized compressed gas cylinders imported from China. 
June 28, 2011: Several of the actions that PHMSA has taken over the past year have been controversial, and the Administration has received a high volume of administrative appeals from the regulated community. The volume is so great that PHMSA expects a substantial delay in responding to them. These petitions, and PHMSA’s initial responses, were summarized in the Federal Register on June 28. 

Tags: DOT, hazmat shipping, lithium batteries, new rules

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