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PHMSA Proposes Overhaul of Hazmat Regulations

Posted on 2/3/2015 by James Griffin

On January 30, 2015, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) proposed a long-awaited rule to incorporate many longstanding and/or widely used special permits into the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR). The rule is part of US DOT's ongoing effort to modernize its hazmat regulations as required by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21).

For hazmat shippers, the new rule will provide universal access to the flexibility offered by these special permits. The rule will also reduce shippers' and regulators' paperwork burden for applying and processing special permit renewal requests.

DOT hazmat shipping
98 Permits Proposed for HMR Inclusion

In total, PHMSA proposed adopting 98 special permits, held by 728 entities, into the HMR.

The special permits proposed for incorporation fall into six topic areas:
  1. General requirements for cylinders: including SP 6530 authorizing transport of certain hydrogen mixtures in cylinders filled to 110% of their marked service pressure.
  2. Non-destructive testing of cylinders: including alternatives to the hot water bath test for aerosols.
  3. Cargo Tanks/Rail Cars/Portable Tanks: including SP 12039 authorizing transportation in commerce of DOT 113120W tank cars containing refrigerated ethylene at 20 psig instead of the usual maximum 10 psig.
  4. Air/Vessel Cargo Operations: including SP 11691, waiving segregation requirements for the transport in commerce of certain flammable and corrosive liquids that are the ingredients in soft drinks (beverages) when stowed in the same transport unit.
  5. Highway/Rail/Shipper/Other Cargo Operations: including SP 11043 waiving segregation requirements for certain Division 2.3 materials and other exceptions to the segregation requirements.
  6. Non-bulk packaging specifications and IBCs: including SP 13548 authorizing the transport in commerce of lead acid batteries and packages of battery acid on the same vehicle.
Special Permits Not Incorporated

Before proposing these amendments, PHMSA conducted an extensive analysis of all active special permits to determine which ones would be suitable for adoption into the HMR. As of January 1, 2013, there were 1,168 active special permits held by 3,691 entities.

More than 1,000 special permits were deemed not suitable for incorporation into the HMR. The special permits were either:
  1. Too specific,
  2. Not in wide use,
  3. Addressed in another active rulemaking, or
  4. Previously incorporated into the HMR
Interested persons may submit comments on special permits that were not deemed suitable for adoption, as well as on those permits proposed for incorporation into the HMR. Comments must be received by March 31, 2015. PHMSA is under Congressional Mandate to issue a final rule no later than October 1 of 2015.

Fulfill DOT's Hazmat Shipper Training Requirement

Be confident you and your shipping team are prepared for all DOT's latest hazmat regulations, including the proposed Special Permit "Mega Rule," new rules for lithium batteries, and changes under the major HM 215M harmonization Final Rule. Lion's expert instructors will cover the latest rules you must know at the interactive Hazardous Materials Transportation Certification Workshop, presented in cities nationwide. Click the link to discover how you can prepare your team for full compliance with the HMR.

Tags: DOT, hazmat shipping, MAP 21, new rules

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