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Two Hazmat Harmonization Rules on the Way in 2022—23

Posted on 7/1/2022 by Roger Marks

US DOT is working on two rules to harmonize the 49 CFR Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) with international standards like the UN Model Regulations, the ICAO Technical Instructions (TI), and the IMDG Code over the next 18 months. 

Called “harmonization rulemakings,” these rules are completed every two years (approximately) to facilitate international transportation of hazardous materials and keep US regulations up to date with evolving safety standards. 

The most recent 49 CFR harmonization rule to be finalized was HM 215-O, in May 2020.

Next Up: HM-215P

The first rule will harmonize the US regulations with international standards that took effect on January 1, 2021. DOT proposed this rulemaking (HM-215P) on August 10, 2021.

The proposal includes revisions that impact the transportation of lithium batteries, including changes related to the marking required on smaller cells or batteries (173.185(c)(3)), shipping paper requirements for damaged/defective batteries, and a new exception for data loggers attached-to or contained-in packagings.

Other noteworthy revisions expected in HM-215P include:
  • Incorporating-by-reference the 2021—22 ICAO TI, Amendment 40-20 of the IMDG Code, the 21st revised edition of the UN Model Regulations, and various industry consensus standards; 
  • Adding a new entry on the 49 CFR 172.101 Hazmat Table for certain Category A medical wastes, and other amendments to the Table; 
  • Removing wall thickness requirements for certain metal Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs); and
  • Updating the packaging options for UN 2211 and UN 3314.

According to the Spring 2022 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and De-regulatory Actions, DOT PHMSA expects to publish a Final Rule very soon. 

Lion Members: View a breakdown of HMR revisions expected in HM-215P in the Member Bulletin posted in August at Lion.com/Members.

HM 215-Q

DOT plans to propose a second harmonization rulemaking soon as well. HM 215-Q will harmonize the HMR with international regulations that take effect on January 1, 2023.

Lithium batteries will figure prominently in this Rule as well. HM-215Q is expected to remove the requirement to include a phone number on the lithium battery handling marking. In addition, DOT plans to except button cells installed in equipment from the requirement for the lithium battery Test Summary.

DOT expects to publish a proposed rule for public comment this summer.  

Two Hazmat Harmonization Rules on the Way in 2022—23

Member Exclusive: Spring 2022 Unified Agenda

Lion Members can view a full breakdown of all the hazardous materials, environmental, and workplace safety regulations that US DOT, EPA, and OSHA are working on now in a recent Member Bulletin.

Tags: dangerous goods, hazmat shipping, HM 215P, HM 215Q, new rules

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