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PHMSA proposes changes to the HMR

HMR changes include updates to the hazmat Table

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) released a notice of proposed rulemaking for HM-215P on August 10, 2021. Changes in the proposed rule will harmonize the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) with international dangerous goods regulations.

Harmonization facilitates international trade by minimizing costs and other burdens of complying with multiple or inconsistent safety requirements for transportation of hazardous materials.

The proposed changes in this rule will affect just about every section of the HMR. Some of the major changes include:

  • Incorporating references to international regulations, including the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Technical Instructions, the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code, the United Nations (UN) Model Regulations, the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria, the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals, the Canadian Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations, and various International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards.
  • Authorizing highway and rail transportation of a hazardous material within the U.S. in accordance with temporary certificate issued by Transport Canada.
  • Updating the Hazardous Materials Table (HMT) by adding, revising, or removing certain proper shipping names, hazard classes, packing groups, special provisions, packaging authorizations, bulk packaging requirements, and passenger and cargo aircraft maximum quantity limits.
  • Adding exemptions for Data Loggers powered by lithium batteries. This would clarify regulations applicable to data loggers and cargo tracking devices powered by lithium batteries that are attached to or contained in, and in use or intended for use during transport.
  • Removing the minimum wall thickness requirements for metal IBCs that have a capacity of 1500 liters (L) or less.
  • Making miscellaneous revisions for lithium batteries, which include, minimum size markings and modification of stowage requirements for lithium batteries including those offered as damaged/defective or for disposal/recycling.
  • Amending provisions pertaining to the addition of technical names to the shipping description when transporting hazardous materials that contain marine pollutants.

As a reminder, this is only a proposed rule NOT a final rule. This means these are just suggestions as to what changes PHMSA wants to make. Once PHMSA gathers all the comments from interested parties, they will make the necessary adjustments and release the final rule.

If you support or oppose any of the proposed changes to the HMR, let PHMSA know. Comments on the proposed changes will be accepted through October 12, 2021, and can be made through the Federal Rulemaking Portal

If you plan to submit comments, make sure you include the agency name, docket number PHMSA–2019–0030 (HM–215P) or RIN 2137–AF46.