Proposed Rule Aligns US Hazmat Rules with International Standards

Posted on 5/30/2023 by Lion Technology Inc.

On May 30, US DOT PHMSA proposed to align the US Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) with international requirements for hazmat/dangerous goods shipping and transportation.. 

The proposed rule would incorporate-by-reference the editions of international regulatory standards for hazardous materials/dangerous goods transportation in effect as of January 1, 2023, including the 2023-24 ICAO Technical Instructions, the 2022 IMDG Code, and the 22nd Revised UN Model Regulations.  

Provisions in the proposed rule would:

  • Update/revise the Hazardous Materials Table (49 CFR 172.101). 
  • Remove exemptions for smaller lithium cells and batteries shipped alone by air. 
  • Allow continued use of new provisions for polymerizing substances.  
  • Add a Table entry for Cobalt dihydroxide powder with >10% respirable particles (UN 3550).
  • Add a new entry to the Self-Reactive Materials Table (173.224).
  • Update references related to protecting valves on gas cylinders during transportation.
  • Revisions to several hazmat Special Provisions. 
  • Revise 49 CFR 173.167, "ID8000 consumer commodities." 

PHMSA will accept public comments on the proposed harmonization rule (HM-215Q) until July 31, 2023. For a full list of proposed changes, see the rule in the May 30, 2023 Federal Register. 

Lion Members can log in to view a more detailed breakdown of the proposed rule in the recent Member Bulletin Hazmat Regulation Updates: Harnonization Rule 215Q

Proposed Rule Aligns US Hazmat Rules with International Standards

Lithium Battery Rule Proposals in HM-215Q

Lithium batteries figure prominently in proposed rule HM-215Q, as DOT moves to adopt tightened international standards from the current ICAO TI and IATA DGR. PHMSA plans to: 

1. Revise the exemptions for lithium batteries/cells shipped alone by air [173.185(c)(4)].

PHMSA's proposal follows international regulators' lead, removing exemptions for smaller lithium cells and batteries shipped by themselves by aircraft. The result is that even some "small" lithium cells or batteries, when shipped by themselves, by air, are now subject to stricter rules for packaging, hazard communication, documentation, etc.

2. Remove the requirement to include a phone number on the lithium battery mark.

PHMSA will remove the requirement for a phone number to appear on the lithium battery mark [49 CFR 173.185(c)(3)(i)(C)]. The example image of the mark shown in the regulations will be revised to removed the two asterisks shippers are currently instructed to replace with a phone number. 

PHMSA proposed a transition period for shippers to use the current lithium battery mark: December 31, 2026.
Lithium battery mark with asterisks for phone no

3. Remove the requirement to make a Lithium Battery Test Summary for button cells installed in equipment (incl. circuit boards).  

The proposed rule would no longer require battery manufacturers and distributors to prepare/mark a Lithium Battery Test Summary for button cells installed in equipment (including circuit boards). IATA removed the Test Summary requirement for button cells in equipment from the DGR effective January 1, 2023.

Lion's Lithium Battery Shipper Training

Get your full hazmat training to ship lithium batteries by ground, air, or vessel in full compliance with US DOT and international regulations. Train online, at your own pace, with the Shipping Lithium Batteries Online Course,or join us for the next live, instructor-led webinar.

Deal with excepted shipments only? Streamline your training experience and get required hazmat training with Lion's unique Shipping Excepted Lithium Batteries Online Course.

Tags: hazardous materials, lithium batteries, new rules, PHMSA

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