PHMSA Proposes Hazmat Harmonization Rule HM 215P

Posted on 8/10/2021 by Roger Marks

On August 10, 2021, US DOT PHMSA proposed changes to the 49 CFR Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) that will harmonize domestic hazmat shipping requirements with evolving international standards.

PHMSA’s periodic harmonization rulemakings are significant, bringing changes for proper shipping names, hazard classes, packing groups, special provisions, packaging authorizations, air transport quantity limitations, and vessel stowage requirements.

PHMSA is also proposing to amend the HMR to “allow for better alignment with Transport Canada’s Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations.”

DOT will accept public comments on the proposed rule until October 12, 2021. Docket numbers in use for this proposal are PHMSA-2019-0030 (HM-215P) or RIN 2137-AF46. 

Lion Members: We sent an exclusive Member Bulletin with more details about the proposed rule via e-mail on Friday, August 13. Member Bulletin Archives.

2 Unique Goals: COVID-19 and Lithium Batteries

Every two years, US DOT harmonizes the HMR with international requirements like the UN Model Regulations, ICAO’s Technical Instructions (TI), and the IMDG Code. These periodic updates provide clarity and consistency for international hazardous materials shippers.

For this particular harmonization effort, PHMSA has two additional goals.

PHMSA aims to:
  • …facilitate the safe transportation of critical vaccines and other medical materials associated with response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health emergency; and
  • Align HMR requirements with anticipated increases in the volume of lithium batteries transported in interstate commerce from the electrification of transportation and other economic sectors.
As part of this effort, PHMSA proposes to except from certain regulations the lithium batteries in equipment attached to packagings as equipment for use during transport, like data loggers, including those used in association with shipments of COVID-19 pharmaceuticals (e.g., vaccines).

This hazmat harmonization rule was one of Lion's New EHS Rules to Watch in 2021.

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Starts This Week: 49 CFR and IATA DGR Hazmat Shipper Training

New and experienced hazmat professionals can join Lion for in-person hazmat training at an upcoming workshop in Charlotte, Orlando, Nashville, Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, and San Diego. Develop a step-by-step approach to classify, package, and offer hazardous materials for transport by ground, air, or vessel in bulk, non-bulk, or limited/excepted quantities. 

Know your way around the HMR? The streamlined Recurrent Hazmat Ground Shipper Certification (DOT) online course will help you satisfy US DOT's three-year recurrent training mandate in 49 CFR 172.704. 

Tags: DOT compliance, harmonization, hazardous materials, hazmat shipping, HM 215P

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