PHMSA
49 CFR – There’s an App for that?

oCFR Regulation Smartphone app

We’ve Come a Long Way

Technology is everywhere we look now. Think about some of the advertisements on television you see for what is available today in the realm of technology. There is the refrigerator that sends you pictures of its insides and keeps your grocery list. A device that can regulate your thermostat, turn on your lights, and send you reminders about events. Cell phones can now stream videos, search the internet, pay your bills, and still make calls. All of these are just in the past year.

Think back about ten years ago. It doesn’t seem that long ago, now does it? It is around this time that the iPhone craze was starting. In 2008 the iPhone 3G was released. As the second generation of iPhone, it came preloaded with such features as a GPS, special email capabilities, and the App Store. App stands for Application. It is from the App Store that people could download various tools, games, and software. Around this time, Apple began to advertise with the slogan, “There’s an App for that”.  You can watch one of the original commercials here.

So, why all the history? Because there is a new app available from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). This app called “oCFR” (Online Code of Federal Regulations), which allows access to a simplified, mobile version of the Code of Federal Register (CFR). The app works on both Apple and Android devices. Also, it is FREE!

What can I do with the oCFR app?

From the app, a user can access the 49 CFR parts 100-180 for transportation including classifying and packaging for hazardous materials by highway, railway, aircraft, and boat. There is also access to the minimum safety standards for liquefied natural gas facilities found in parts 190-199.

After playing around with it some, here are some of my general comments.

General Comments:

  • The app was easy to download and find in the App Store.
  • If the user knows the exact section needed, the Section can be entered directly into the search bar and it takes you directly there. Each paragraph of that section is then listed as individual links.
  • For directions on how to use the App, users should click on the “About” link at the bottom of the opening screen. This will take you to another link that I would call the overview.
  • On the overview page for the oCFR tool there are links to access the following:
    • the oCFR Tool itself
    • A direct link to the Hazardous Materials Table and Appendices
    • A direct link to “All Interps” which is a way to search all of the letters of interpretation.
    • Chapter I PHMISA DOT Parts 105-199 divided by Subchapters A-D including 2 Subchapter Cs. One is for Parts 170 – 177 and the other is a continuation with Parts 178-185.
  • From the overview, a user can download the “oCFR Quick Reference Guide”. This Guide describes how to use the online application and some general features of it. You can also access the guide while on the oCFR tool overview page.
  • It will take some time to use the app proficiently.

This is a great way to gain access to the regulations during transport of hazardous materials. Stay tuned to ICC Compliance Center’s blogs for other great applications and regulatory updates.

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