Spring 2019 Unified Agenda: Hazmat Rules to Watch

Posted on 5/28/2019 by Roger Marks


Just before Memorial Day weekend, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) released the Spring 2019 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions. Updated twice per year, the Unified Agenda gives industry stakeholders and the public a view into rulemaking activities in progress at major Federal agencies. Today we'll review two hazardous materials rules planned for later this year, and a third rule that's already in effect.

Stay tuned to Lion News this week for updates on future RCRA hazardous waste rulemakings expected in 2019.  

New and Future Hazardous Materials Rules

Among the US DOT PHMSA actions now in the Final Rule Stage are the latest hazmat harmonization rule (HM-215O) and a rule to revise and clarify the standards for hazmat cylinders, both planned for September 2019.

Also included in the Agenda is DOT’s updated lithium battery requirements for air transport, which took effect on March 6, 2019 with the promulgation of Interim Final Rule HM 224I.

Coming Sept. 2019: Harmonization with International Standards

DOT PHMSA plans to promulgate a Final Rule in September 2019 to harmonize its 49 CFR hazmat regulations with international standards in effect as of January 1, 2019.

Proposed in November 2018, rule HM 215-O will incorporate the latest versions of international standards, including the ICAO Technical Instructions (2019—20), the IMDG Code, the UN Manual of Test and Criteria, and the 7th Revised Edition of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS).
For a list of specific rule changes to expect, see our blog post 49 CFR Harmonization Rule HM 215O.

Rulemaking progress can be tracked using rule ID number RIN 2137-AF32.

Next month: Lion’s Complete Multimodal Hazmat Shipper Certification Workshops returns to Cleveland, Houston, Pittsburgh, Dallas, Detroit, and Cincinnati in June. Satisfy training mandates for ground, air, and vessel shippers and get up to date on the latest 49 CFR, IATA DGR, and IMDG Code requirements you must know to keep your hazardous materials shipments in compliance.

Coming Sept. 2019: DOT-Spec Cylinders Amendments

PHMSA plans to amend the HMR to revise certain requirements for the manufacture, use, and requalification of DOT-specification cylinders. This rulemaking action was spurred on by petitions for rulemaking submitted by industry and stakeholder groups.

In the Spring 2019 Unified Agenda, PHMSA lists a September 2019 date for a Final Rule.

Now Final: Enhanced Safety Provisions for Lithium Batteries Transported by Aircraft

An Interim Final Rule (HM 224I) took effect on March 6, 2019 which updated DOT’s lithium battery air shipping requirements to add emergency provisions adopted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Provisions added to 49 CFR include:
  • Prohibit the transport of lithium ion cells and batteries as cargo on passenger aircraft
  • Require all lithium ion cells and batteries to be shipped at not more than 30 percent state-of-charge on cargo-only aircraft
  • Restrict the use of alternative provisions for small lithium cells and batteries to one package per consignment.
In this IFR, PHMSA also added a new lithium battery marking/labeling requirement for certain excepted shipments.

Because of the immediate safety hazard posed by lithium batteries aboard aircraft, this rulemaking was not subject to the normal rulemaking process. PHMSA accepted public comments on the IFR until May 6, 2019. More information is available under rule ID number RIN 2137-AF20.

Stay tuned to Lion News for more updates on forthcoming rulemakings from US EPA, DOT, and OSHA this week.  

Explore the Unified Agenda on your own here. 

Tags: harmonization, hazardous materials, hazmat shipping, lithium batteries, new rules

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