Last month U.S. DOT Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) amended a previous rule-making (June 2, 2016) that made miscellaneous updates to the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR). The rule-making responds to appeals from hazardous materials (hazmat) industry groups, chemical shippers and carriers.
Emergency Response Phone Numbers
In its June 2 rule-making (49 CFR 172.604), PHMSA prohibited the use of an alphanumeric emergency response phone number (e.g., 1-800-HAZMAT) to save time during emergency response situations. Every second counts in a hazmat incident. If individuals must spend crucial seconds converting letters to numbers before calling in an emergency, it could cost lives and exacerbate the damage done.
After the rule-making, some hazmat carriers requested additional time to convert their electronic systems to comply with the new requirements, which PHMSA intended to grant. PHMSA now says that carriers have had sufficient time to come into compliance, as shown by recent feedback from carriers, and PHMSA will not extend the effective date at this time.
In response to carrier concerns regarding fires in transport involving nitric acid packaged in glass inner containers, Section 173.158 of the hazmat regulations now requires intermediate packaging for glass inner packaging containing nitric acid in concentrations of less than 90 percent. Initially, this requirement was set to take effect on June 5, 2016.
Since adding this intermediate container requirement, PHMSA received petitions from industry stakeholders requesting more time to deplete existing packaging stock or design and test new packaging. In response, PHMSA extended the compliance date for the new nitric acid packaging requirements to Sept. 18.
Corrections to 49 CFR Hazmat Rules
In addition to the two issues above, PHMSA also corrected other sections amended by the June 2 rule-making. These include:
– Corrections to the hazmat table at 49 CFR 172.101.
– Removing PG II instructions from the organic peroxides listing at 49 CFR 173.129, as the June rule making removed packing groups for all organic peroxides.