In the July 20 Federal Register, the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued final amendments the Hazardous Materials Regulations to make to update and clarify certain regulatory requirements. According to PHMSA, these amendments are intended to promote safer transportation practices, eliminate unnecessary regulatory requirements, finalize outstanding petitions for rulemaking, facilitate international commerce, and simplify the regulations. PHMSA indicated in the rule that it anticipates that the amendments contained in this rule will generate economic benefits to the regulated community.

The following changes become effective on August 19, 2011, however voluntary compliance before that date is authorized by the rule:

  • Update incorporations by reference of industry consensus standards issued by the Aluminum Association, the American Society for Testing and Materials, and the Institute of Makers of Explosives (see 49 CFR 173.63 and 177.835).
  • Add a requirement for each applicant to a special permit under 49 CFR 107.105, 107.107, and 107.109 to identify their role as a shipper (offeror), carrier, or both.
  • Revise the definition of “person” to include those who manufacture, test, repair, and recondition packages (see 49 CFR 171.8).
  • Revise the Hazardous Materials Table (HMT) to harmonize certain entries with international standards (see 49 CFR 172.101) by adding and revising certain proper shipping names. Most significantly, a new entry, “Formaldehyde solutions (with not less than 10% and less than 25% formaldehyde)” was added to clarify requirements applicable to formaldehyde and formalin with less than 10% formaldehyde; revise the entry for “Environmentally hazardous substances, liquid, n.o.s.” to provide packaging exceptions for certain materials that are assigned to UN3082; and adding a new special provision 176 to 49 CFR 172.102 to clarify the differences between Class 3 and Class 9 formaldehyde solutions.
  • Add a new italicized entry to the HMT for “Permeation devices” referencing a new 49 CFR 173.175 applicable to permeation devices to provide an exception for permeation devices containing hazardous materials. Permeation devices are used for calibrating air quality monitoring devices for consistency. This change would harmonize the HMR with the current exception in the international regulations for these devices.
  • Update and clarify various hazard communication requirements including: Class 9 label specifications; placard size; IBC markings; and Division 6.2 labels.
  • Authorize the use of an alternative bend test for DOT 3AA and DOT 3AAX steel cylinders.
  • Revise 49 CFR 178.71 to authorize the use of either a proof pressure test or volumetric expansion test as described in the ISO 7866 and 9809 standards.
  • Revise 49 CFR 171.14 transitional provisions to remove expired transitional provisions and incorporate certain transitional provisions into the specific sections of the HMR.
  • Revise provisions in 49 CFR 173.56(j) to further clarify the use of the American Pyrotechnics Association (APA) standard for classifying and approving fireworks.
  • Revise 49 CFR 172.404 to provide a labeling exception for consolidation bins used to transport hazardous materials by motor carrier.
  • Revise 49 CFR 178.345.1 to allow vapors to escape through a vent or drain.
  • Revise 49 CFR 178.320 cargo tank wall definition.
  • Revise 49 CFR 178.347-1 to clarify that a cargo tank motor vehicle with a Maximum Allowable Working Pressure (MAWP) greater than 35 psig or designed to be loaded by vacuum must be constructed and certified in accordance with the ASME Code.
  • Revise 49 CFR 178.347-4 to make a clear distinction between “designed to be loaded by vacuum” and “built to withstand full vacuum.”

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