Urgent: PHMSA Withdraws HM 215N Hazmat Harmonization Rule

Posted on 1/25/2017 by Roger Marks

URGENT: PHMSA has withdrawn its HM 215N Final Rule after the Agency last week announced it as Final.

The Final Rule was withdrawn in response to an executive memorandum that instructs the heads of Federal agencies to halt or immediately withdraw any new regulation not yet published to the Federal Register until “a department or agency head appointed or designated by the President…reviews and approves the regulation.”  The Final Rule was scheduled to be published this week, on January 26.

Lion Technology is seeking guidance from PHMSA and industry groups that represent hazmat shippers regarding the implications of HM 215N being withdrawn.  

See the full text of the President’s Regulatory Freeze executive memorandum here.

In addition to requiring approval of all not-yet-published regulations, the memorandum also orders federal agencies to temporarily postpone for 60 days the effective date of any new regulations that have already been published but are not yet in effect.

Below is the text of the update Lion News posted when PHMSA announced HM 215N as Final and effective as of January 18, 2017.

immediately, US DOT has amended the 49 CFR Hazardous Materials
Regulations to maintain consistency with international standards—including stricter standards for lithium batteries and much more.

In addition to about 50 pages of updates, new entries, and changes to the Hazmat Table at 49 CFR 172.101 and the hazmat special provisions, this Final Rule (HM 215N) makes many other significant updates to the hazmat regulations that all US hazardous materials/dangerous goods shippers should be aware of.

A copy of the Final Rule is available here.

IATA DGR 2017Incorporating New International Standards in the HMR

The Final Rule incorporates by reference international regulations including, among others:

  • The 19th Revised Edition of the UN Model Regulations;
  • The 2017-18 ICAO Technical Instructions and 2017 IATA DGR;
  • Amendment 38-16 of the IMDG Code; and
  • The 6th Revised Edition of the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) for Classifying and Labeling Chemicals.

Two More Years for New Label Specifications

A previous DOT rulemaking set new requirements for sizes and specifications of hazmat labels, which were set to take effect on January 1, 2017.

In this Final Rule, US DOT is extending the transition period for use of these new labels for domestic hazmat shipments for an additional two years, until December 31, 2018.

New DOT Lithium Battery Rules

New class 9 lithium battery label for 2017DOT is updating its lithium battery rules to harmonize with international requirements for the safe transport of lithium-ion and lithium-metal batteries. For a full list of changes that affect lithium battery ground, air, and vessel shippers, read DOT Updates Lithium Battery Rules for 2017.

Major updates include a new Class 9 lithium battery label, a new lithium battery marking, and updates to the rules for small lithium batteries to keep pace with rapidly evolving international standards.  

Overhaul of the Division 4.1 Hazmat and Polymerizing Substances

Those who ship Class 4 hazardous materials should check the Final Rule for major changes, which include:

  • Overhauling the definitions of classification criteria for Class 4 materials at 49 CFR 173.124.
  • Amending 49 CFR 173.124(a)(4)(iii) to exclude polymerizing substances that meet the criteria for inclusion in DOT Hazard Classes 1 to 8.
  • Adding a definition for “polymerizing substances” at 49 CFR 173.21(a)(4) and criteria for testing and identifying these substances. 
  • Adding four UN numbers and Proper Shipping Names for polymerizing substances that do not meet the definition of any other hazard class.
For all 49 CFR amendments concerning polymerizing substances, PHMSA is providing a “sunset period” of two years—meaning the requirements will expire in two years if not extended or otherwise updated.

New and Revised Rules for Hazmat Cylinders

The Final Rule includes a lengthy discussion of public comments and considerations PHMSA made surrounding requirements for hazmat cylinders. Many stakeholders expressed concerns about inconsistency between 49 CFR regulations and international standards for cylinders.
In the HM-215N Final Rule, PHMSA:

  • Makes technical changes to the rules for cylinders and compressed gases.
  • Amends the HMR cylinder, cargo tank repair, and equivalency certificate standards in 49 CFR 171.12 to harmonize with Canada’s TDG regulations and simplify cross-border hazmat transport.
  • Amends §107.805(a) to authorize prospective requalifiers to obtain approval by PHMSA to inspect, test, certify, repair, or rebuild TC specification cylinders, and makes other conforming changes.

Rewriting the Rules for Engines and Battery-powered Vehicles

The HM-215N Final Rule also makes critical updates to 49 CFR 173.220 for internal combustion engines, battery-powered vehicles, and fuel-cell–powered equipment and machinery.
Lastly, the Final Rule makes other changes to the packaging instructions for various specific hazardous materials in 49 CFR 173.

2017 DOT Hazmat Shipper Training

Offering hazardous materials for transportTo keep your shipment in compliance, get up to date on all the new 49 CFR hazmat rules that apply to you when Lion presents the Hazmat Ground Shipper Certification training this month in Philadelphia and Baltimore. Meet DOT’s three-year hazmat training mandate and build the in-depth expertise to ensure your shipments are accepted, prevent incidents and transit, and avoid DOT fines now as high as $77,114 per day, per violation.

Upcoming workshop in: Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville, Houston, Dallas, Little Rock, and more. 

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

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