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Feature Article: 49 CFR Keeping Up With the Changes

Posted on 10/24/2011 by James Griffin

Each year on the first day of October, the Government Printing office (GPO) publishes a new edition of the last quarter of the Code of Federal Regulations, including Title 49-Transportation. This annual printing includes all rule changes, amendments, and modifications made since the last edition.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration typically publishes an omnibus set of editorial corrections and clarifications sometime in September, in order to assist the GPO’s recodification of the Hazardous Material Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180). This year, it came early on September 13, 2011 (76 FR 56304).
Lion Technology would like to do its part to assist the regulated community and remind them of upcoming rule transitions and all the new requirements that have come into effect during the past year.
Removal of 49 CFR 171.14-Transitional Provisions
As the DOT has revised and amended the HMR over the years, many new regulations have had multi-year phase-in periods. For a long time now, Section 171.14 of the HMR has summarized all of those transitional rules in one place. As most of what is in Section 171.14 is terribly out of date, the DOT is removing the entire section and transferring the few remaining provisions to more appropriate sections in the HMR. Three significant transitional periods that have yet to pass are:
  • The HMR still allow the old (December 31, 2006) shipping description sequences (Proper Shipping Name first…) until January 1, 2013. [40 CFR 172.202(b)]
  • The HMR still allow the old design on Division 5.2 placards and labels for domestic highway transport until January 1, 2014. [40 CFR 172.552]
  • The HMR still allow the old (December 31, 2006) classification and packing group assignments for Class 3 and Division 6.1 hazardous materials. [40 CFR 173.120 and 173.133, respectively]
Special Permits
On January 5, 2011 ( 76 FR 454), PHMSA made significant revisions to the procedures for applying for a special permit, including applications for extensions and party-to status. After receiving a significant number of comments, petitions, and appeal requests on these revisions, the Administration responded on July 26, 2011 (76 FR 44496) with a few minor corrections to the January 5 final rule.
On February 1, 2011 (76 FR 5483), PHMSA incorporated six long-standing and well-proven cargo tank special permits into the HMR.
  • Special Permit (SP) 11209—Authorization to transport liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in non-DOT specification cargo tank motor vehicles known as moveable fuel storage tenders that are used exclusively for agricultural purposes. [49 CFR 173.5(d)]
  • SP 13113—Authorization to transport Division 6.1 liquid soil pesticide fumigants in DOT specification MC 306 and DOT 406 cargo tank motor vehicles and DOT 57 portable tanks that are used exclusively for agricultural purposes. [49 CFR 173.5(e)]
  • SP 12284—Authorization to transport certain hazardous materials used for roadway striping in non-DOT specification cargo tanks. [49 CFR 173.5a(c)]
  • SP 13341—Authorization for private motor carriers to transport LPG in consumer storage containers filled to greater than five percent of the container’s water capacity. [49 CFR 173.315(j)]
  • SP 10950—Authorization to transport nurse tanks securely mounted on field trucks. [49 CFR 173.315(m)(1)]
  • SP 13554—Authorization for nurse tanks with missing or illegible ASME plates to continue to be used in anhydrous ammonia service under specified conditions. [49 CFR 173.315(m)(2)]
On August 30, 2011 (76 FR 53999), after at least one dangerous incident that resulted in fatalities, PHMSA reminded the regulated community of the “importance of adhering to Federal requirements when offering and transporting hazardous materials under Special Permits.”
On March 2, 2011 (76 FR 11570), PHMSA finalized regulations for “Enhanced Enforcement Authority Procedures” in a new Part 109 to 49 CFR. To implement the new enforcement procedures, the DOT wrote a Joint Operations Manual for inspectors from each of the Department’s modal agencies (FAA, FRA, FHWA, PHMSA) to follow.
Explosives and Fireworks
On June 7, 2011 (76 FR 32867), PHMSA and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration adopted the 2010 edition of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 498-Standard for Safe Havens and Interchange Lots for Vehicles Transporting Explosives for unattended storage of high-explosive (Division 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3) hazardous materials.
On June 29, 2011 (76 FR 38053), PHMSA clarified its intent that only fireworks manufacturers or their designated agents should apply for an Explosives Approval from PHMSA.
Miscellaneous Amendments and Harmonization
On July 20, 2011 (76 FR 43510), PHMSA made miscellaneous amendments to update and clarify the hazardous material regulations. See Lion Technology’s blog entry.
On June 27, 2011 (76 FR 37283), PHMSA removed saccharin and its salts from the list of hazardous substances (49 CFR 172.101 Appendix A), in order to conform to the EPA’s revised assessment of the environmental hazards of saccharin.
On January 19, 2011 (76 FR 3308), several weeks behind schedule, PHMSA promulgated the biennial international harmonization amendment, making numerous conforming amendments to the HMR to reflect similar changes in international standards. The most significant provision of this harmonization rule was the new standards and symbols for limited quantity and consumer commodity shimpents, last discussed by Lion Technology here.
On May 9, 2011, PHMSA and the U.S. Coast Guard published a guidance document on how to classify marine pollutants, including a discussion of the differences between 49 CFR 172.101 Appendix B and international definitions.
Other Issues
On February 2, 2011 (76 FR 10771), as part of a Department-wide effort to crack down on distracted driving, PHMSA prohibited motor vehicle drivers from texting or operating electronic devices while transporting high-consequence shipments of hazardous materials.
On May 20, 2011 (76 FR 29169), PHMSA extended the compliance deadline for new requirements for intermodal equipment providers from June 30, 2011 to June 30, 2012.

Tags: DOT, hazmat shipping, new rules

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