DOT Hazmat Regulations to Watch in 2024
Throughout this year, US DOT/PHMSA has announced, proposed, and finalized several new or revised regulations affecting hazardous materials shippers. Below we highlight some of the most broadly applicable hazmat-related rulemaking actions still in progress as the year draws to a close. PHMSA expects to move forward with these rules next year, if not sooner.
Lion Members can log in to view detailed monthly breakdowns of new and proposed hazmat, hazardous waste, environmental, and safety regulations in the Member Bulletin section.
Hazmat Rules to Watch from DOT/PHMSA (49 CFR)
Comments Still Open: 40+ "Complex Amendments" to the HMR:
PHMSA is considering “a number of complex amendments” to the HMR. These include changes related to package design, regulatory text updates, and hazardous materials incident reporting. Many of these proposed tweaks were suggested by industry stakeholders and could (when finalized) result in substantial cost savings for shippers and others.
Regulators requested input from industry stakeholders on the entire list of HMR updates earlier this year, and later extended the comment period until December 4, 2023 (RIN 2137-AF47).
49 CFR Hazmat Harmonization Rule 215-Q:
In May 2023, PHMSA proposed the hazmat rulemaking “HM-215Q.” The proposed rule revises the US Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) to align or "harmonize" domestic hazmat regulations with international standards.
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. Comments closed on July 31.
PHMSA has not yet issued the Final Rule (RIN 2137-AF57).
More New Hazmat Rules in PHMSA's Pipeline
In addition to the two wide-ranging rulemakings above, DOT/PHMSA has plans to create new regulations that impact specific sections of the hazmat regulations.
These include rules to:
- Increase fees under the DOT hazmat registration program (RIN 2137-AF59).
- Adopt provisions from widely-used special permits into the HMR (RIN 2137-AF34).
- Revise requirements for cargo tank motor vehicles and cryogenic tanks (RIN 2137-AE58).
- Align the HMR with global rules for transporting radioactive materials (RIN 2137-AF42).
For hazmat shippers, staying on top of changing regulations throughout the year is crucial. Unlike international regulations like the IATA DGR or IMDG Code, the 49 CFR Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) are not updated on an annual basis only.
Instead of producting annual editions that take effect for each new year, PHMSA follows an established rulemaking process to propose and finalize rules on a more-or-less continuous basis. Each new or revised rule takes effect on a date provided when a Final Rule is issued, typically 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.
Hazmat industry stakeholders should not wait until the end of the year to evaluate new rules for regulatory changes from DOT/PHMSA. Lion News provides regular updates on new hazardous materials rules proposed and finalized in our weekly e-newsletter (Free to Subscribe).
Every month, current Lion Members have access to a summary of the latest EH&S rulemaking actions at every step of the process—requests for information, advanced notices, proposed rules, final rules, memos and policy updates—from US DOT/PHMSA, US EPA, OSHA, state agencies, and international regulators.
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