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DOT Aligns with International Standards

On July 26, 2022, the DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) announced that, in order to align with international regulations and standards, including Transport Canada’s Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations, the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) will adopt various amendments. Some corrections regarding inadvertently omitted text in the rules for shipments on aircraft were later made on August 16th.

This new rule is effective today (August 25, 2022), however voluntary compliance was allowed as of January 1, 2021. The delayed compliance date is one year from the announcement date, July 26, 2023. All of the amendments are expected to at least maintain, if not improve, the high safety standards for people and the environment set forth in the regulations for transporting hazardous materials. A summary of the revisions that may affect life science companies can be found below, but if you would like to  view the final rule in its entirety, click here: Final Rule [Docket No. PHMSA–2019–0030 (HM–215P)]. The update can be found here: 87 FR 50273.

  • Amendments from new or updated versions of the following international hazardous materials regulations and standards, along with several others, were incorporated by reference.
    • International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air
    • International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code)
    • United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods—Model Regulations (UN Model Regulations)
  • Hazardous Materials Table (HMT) [49 CFR 172.101] updates included the addition, revision, or removal of certain:
    • Proper shipping names
    • Hazard classes
    • Packing groups
    • Special provisions
    • Packaging authorizations
    • Bulk packaging requirements
    • Passenger rail and aircraft maximum quantity limits
    • Cargo aircraft maximum quantity limits
  • Provisions for lithium batteries in equipment in use or intended for use during transport, such as data loggers, were adopted, including those used in air shipments of COVID–19 pharmaceuticals and vaccines.
  • Revisions to the definitions and exceptions for Division 6.2 hazardous materials at 49 CFR 173.134 were made to include references for the shipping descriptions “UN3549, Medical Waste, Category A, Affecting Humans, solid” or “UN3549, Medical Waste, Category A, Affecting Animals only, solid” that were created for solid materials that did not meet classification criteria for existing entries/classes.
  • Revisions to lithium battery shipping rules, included, but were not limited to, minimum marking size and stowage modification requirements including those for batteries offered as damaged/defective or for disposal/recycling.
  • Technical names and additional descriptions are now required for certain marine pollutants.
  • Stability tests for nitrocellulose are now required.
  • Minimum wall thickness requirements were removed for metal Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs) that have a capacity of 1500 liters or less.

This blog was written by Kim E. Folger, Training and Development Manager at Safety Partners.

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