PHMSA Updates and Amends Hazardous Materials Regulations

Posted on 11/9/2018 by Roger Marks

In response to petitions from hazmat shippers, industry groups, and stakeholders, US DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) published a Final Rule on November 7, 2018 to update, clarify, streamline, and provide new relief from certain hazmat rules. 

Streamlined, online recurrent hazmat training is available for experienced hazmat professionals. 

The updates take effect December 7, 2018 and include more relief and flexibility for shippers of limited and excepted quantities; adjustments to regulatory language; relaxed rules for hazmat labels and placards; and new allowances for hazmat cylinders, tanks, and other packagings.

HMR revisions are a must-read for hazardous materials professionals, carriers, packaging manufacturers, safety consultants, organizations, and other stakeholders. Failure to comply with the latest regulations can result in rejected shipments and civil penalties now nearing $80,000 per day, per violation.

In addition, capitalizing on newly added reliefs—which can save businesses time and money—will help you achieve or maintain your competitive advantage in 2019. 

HMR updates most likely to immediately impact hazmat shippers include: 
  • Address inconsistencies with US and international labels.
  • Add a tolerance for slight variations in printing of the solid inner border for labels and placards. Under the revised rules, the solid inner border must be “approximately” 5 mm inside and parallel to the edge to harmonize the HMR with international standards.
  • Allow electronic signatures on the EPA electronic manifest (e-manifest) forms to harmonize the HMR with evolving EPA hazardous waste shipping requirements.
  • Remove the emergency telephone requirement for hazmat excepted quantity shipments.
  • Allow the use of plastic, metal, or composite pallets to transport materials classed and marked as limited quantity.
  • Allow for combination non-bulk packagings that are tested and marked for a liquid hazardous material to be filled with a solid hazardous material.
  • No longer require written permission from the Captain of the Port (COTP) to load and unload limited quantities of ammonium nitrate.
  • Harmonize the recordkeeping requirements for portable tanks with the rules for cargo tank motor vehicles (CMTVs).
  • Amend the table in §173.5a(c)(1) to add two new basic descriptions for corrosive materials transported in roadway stripping vehicles.
See the Final Rule in the Federal Register here.

Other important HMR updates include:
  • Convert the units of measure in §173.150(g) for retail products containing ethyl alcohol to SI units (International System of Units), which are used elsewhere in the HMR.
  • Incorporate by reference multiple publications from the Compressed Gas Association, the Chlorine Institute, and the Department of Defense.
  • Extend the service life of interim compliant toxic inhalation hazard (TIH) tank cars to the full-service life of all other tank cars.
  • Revise the HMR to ensure that cylinder valves follow uniform construction and performance standards, with an exception for “chemicals under pressure.”
  • Revise the basis weight tolerance for liners and mediums used in the manufacture of UN specification 4G fiberboard boxes.
  • Acknowledge that the marked date of manufacture on a composite IBC’s inner and outer receptacles may be different.
  • Allow the use of the marked test pressure on the cargo tank nameplate as the requalification test pressure and amend 49 CFR 180.407(g)(1)(iv) accordingly.
  • No longer require the service pressure to be marked on DOT 8 and 8L cylinders. 
Among the hazmat petitions not addressed in this rulemaking is a request from the Dangerous Goods Trainers Association (DGTA) to clarify the use of “basic description” and “shipping description” with respect to information required for hazardous materials markings and shipping papers.

Special Permits Added to the HMR

In addition to responding to petitions from industry with this Final Rule, PHMSA is also working to continue incorporating hazmat special permits into the 49 CFR regulations. PHMSA added 96 such special permits to the regulations in 2016 and plans to expand on that effort in the coming year with RIN 2137-AF34.

Online Hazmat Training

Can’t join us live before the end of the year? No problem!

Complete your hazmat training at for a fully engaged learning experience that drives home critical hazmat topics and always covers the latest regulations. Check out the latest versions of Lion’s popular hazmat online courses:

Hazmat Ground Shipper Certification (DOT)
Recurrent Hazmat Ground Shipper Certification (DOT)

Hazmat Training for New and Experienced Hazmat Employees

New hazmat employees need a solid grasp of the hazmat regulations and what they must do to help maintain compliance. Every step of the hazmat shipping process is regulated in some way, and even small mistakes can lead to fines now approaching $80,000 per day, per violation.

The Shipping Hazmat by Ground—Ops Online Course provides hazmat general awareness, security awareness, and function-specific training for new or experienced hazmat employees. Personnel who complete this course learn how to comply with the regulations that govern their hazmat-related activities.

Tags: 49, CFR, hazmat, limited, new, PHMSA, quantities, rules, shipping

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