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18 Hazmat Rule Revisions Add Flexibility, Cost Savings

Posted on 3/4/2024 by Roger Marks

A March 4, 2024, Final Rule to amend the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) will save hazmat shippers, carriers, packaging manufacturers, and other stakeholders $2 million per year, US DOT/PHMSA estimates. 

The Final Rule takes effect on April 3, 2024 and adopts 18 petitions for rulemaking from business and industry organizations with a stake in the safe, efficient transportation of hazardous materials. The final revisions are intended to add flexibility for the regulated community while maintaining an equivalent level of safety. 

The rule also incorporates-by-reference industry consensus standards related to transportation of compressed gases (CGA) and explosives (IME).  

The HMR revisions add flexibility in ways that include: 

  • Providing more flexible packaging options for compressed natural gas in cylinders. 
  • Streamlining the approval process for repair of certain DOT-spec cylinders. 
  • Harmonizing the HMR with global regs for de minimis quantities of poisonous materials.
  • Clarifying rules for filling cylinders with hydrogen and hydrogen mixtures. 
  • Creating marking exceptions for lithium button cells installed in equipment.  
  • Adding new allowed shipping names for certain gas mixtures. 
  • Requiring a marking on cylinders to demonstrate compliance with HMR provisions. 

18 Hazmat Rule Revisions Add Flexibility, Cost Savings

PHMSA describes the rule as a “win-win” situation: On top of providing regulatory flexibility and cost savings for shippers, carriers, and others, the agency says: 

“insofar as adoption of the petitions could reduce delays and interruptions of hazardous materials shipments during transportation—the amendments will also lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and safety risks to minority, low-income, underserved, and other disadvantaged populations and communities in vicinities of interim storage areas and transportation arteries and hubs.” 

89 FR, p. 15636, 3/4/2024

Petitions from industry stakeholders assist US DOT/PHMSA in periodically amending the 49 CFR Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) to improve clarity and consistency, address emerging transportation challenges, and harmonize US rules with international standards. By listening to those with practical experience using the HMR, PHMSA can more reliably develop regulations that ensure the safe transportation of hazardous materials without overburdening the regulated community.

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