DOT's Annual 49 CFR Hazmat Regulations Update
As of this writing, USDOT has yet to issue a Final Rule describing this year's changes to the 49 CFR. US DOT has, however, issued a number of changes to the hazmat shipping regulations in the past 365 days, and a number of pending rulemakings are still in the works for 2015–16.
New Hazmat Final Rules Since October 2014
September 10, 2015: Special Permit Approvals Standard Operating Procedures and Evaluation Process—PHMSA formally defines its procedures for issuing special permits and approvals; especially the process for evaluating the "fitness" of persons to receive special permits and approvals. Read about this Special Permits Final Rule in Lion News here.
May 8, 2015: Enhanced Tank Car Standards and Operational Controls for High-hazard Flammable Trains—New standards for tank cars and operating controls for railroads carrying large consignments of flammable liquids are listed. Read more on DOT's new rules for High-hazard Flammable Trains here.
January 8, 2015: Harmonization with International Standards—maintains alignment with international standards; incorporates amendments to Hazmat Table, packing groups, special provisions; etc. Find out more about the DOT's HM 215M Hazmat Harmonization Rule here.
2016—17 Hazmat Shipping Deadlines
January 1, 2016: The old-style identification number inside a square-on-point marking for limited quantities can't be used after this day. [49 CFR 172.315(d)(1)]
January 1, 2016: As of this date, small lithium batteries must be marked with watt-hour rating by the manufacturer. [49 CFR 173.185(c)]
January 1, 2017: As of this date, identification numbers marked on packagings must meet minimum size requirements. [49 CFR 172.301(a)(1)(i)] International, air, and vessel shipments already follow this rule.
January 1, 2017: The transitional period for numerous minor technical modifications to marking and labeling specifications ends. [49 CFR 172, Subparts D and E]
January 1, 2017: Additional recordkeeping provisions for Class 7 hazmat are phased in. [49 CFR 173.415]
No international harmonization rules are expected this year.
Hazmat Final Rules to Watch for in 2016
Over the next twelve months, shippers expect PHMSA to issue final rules on a number of hazmat transportation issues. Here's what to look for in 2016:
- Wetlines—When PHMSA completes its analysis of a 2013 GAO report, the Agency will consider final regulatory action to address the risks posed by wetlines.
- Reverse Logistics—This would create alternative standards for reverse logistics for retail products that are hazardous materials.
- Bulk Explosives—Amendments to the HMR would establish additional standards for safe transport of bulk explosives and respond to industry petitions.
- Incorporating Special Permits—Pursuant to Congressional mandate (MAP-21), PHMSA will eventually incorporate into HMR longstanding special permits with wide applicability.
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