HazMat box with tape gun
Am I Using the Right Tape on my HazMat Shipment? (FAQ)

Man preparing shipment

Frequently Asked Questions About Tape Being Used With UN Boxes

Often times I get questions regarding which type of tape could be used with the various packaging we sell here at ICC Compliance Center. Like many other answers to questions, most of the questions can be answered straight from the regulations. As many of us know, sometimes when it comes to packaging, the regulations may not be specific enough to the questions we have. That’s when I turn to the PHMSA Interpretations for guidance.

What are PHMSA Interpretations?

PHMSA interpretations are written explanations of the hazardous materials regulations by various members of the D.O.T. They come in in the form of letters that are answering specific questions asked by a wide variety of dangerous goods professionals. They are to be used only as a form of guidance when following the regulations.

Do keep in mind that the interpretations that are currently posted in the database reflect the current application of the 49 CFR to the specific questions and may be removed if there are changes to the regulations or deemed inaccurate. The PHMSA interpretation browser can be found on PHMSA’s website.

HazMat Shipment Tape FAQs

Q. Can I put more strips of the tape than what is referenced in the closing instructions along the seam of the box?
A. Yes. Per Interpretation Response #06-0129 at the link below, as long as the specified Continue Reading…
PHMSA
PHMSA & OSHA Make a Video Together – an Oxymoron?

Warehouse with chemicals

PHMSA vs OSHA

George Carlin will always be a favorite comedian for people of a certain age. One of his best-known bits is on oxymorons. An oxymoron, is basically a set of contradictory terms that work together. While not the greatest of explanations, let’s have George give you some examples to make the point.

This concept came to mind on the heels of the DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and the DOL’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) joint video on labeling. Those two organizations are just that, 2 different organizations, yet they released a joint video? It sounded like a setup to a bad joke. Turns out I was wrong.

The video does a great job of explaining the focus of each organization and goes a long way to clearing the air. There are references to the regulations used by each, but not a lot of time is spent on “regulatory language” or the details of either one. 

Comparing PHMSA vs OSHA

Here is my version of the comparisons between the two and how closely the align based on the video.

PHMSA OSHA Take Away
Regulates hazardous materials in transport Regulates hazardous chemicals in the workplace Both want people to be safe.
Uses the Hazardous Materials Regulation Uses the Hazard Communication Standard Both have a set of “rules”.
Defines Hazardous Material as those that pose an unreasonable risk to health, safety and property when transported in commerce Defines Hazardous Chemical as Continue Reading…
PHMSA Change Notice

Man preparing shipment

PHMSA Issues Notice of Change on Termination of M-Number and R-Number Approvals with no Expiration Date

PHMSA has made a proposal to terminate previously approved M-numbers and R-numbers that were issued without an expiration date. Unless approval holders can either show why their approvals should not be terminated as provided in 49 CFR 107.713(c)(1) or apply for a modification of their approval in accordance with 49 CFR 107.705 prior to the effective date, their M-number may be considered expired. Modified approvals will conform to the Approvals and Permits Division’s standardized format in which all approvals have a 5-year expiration date.

M Number on UN packaging

What is an M-Number?

An “M-Number” or manufacturer number is issued by the D.O.T. to a manufacturer of packaging related to hazardous goods as a means of identification. This number is used in place of the manufacturer’s name and address as authorized in 49 CFR 178.503. In addition, an “R” number was a number previously given to companies that recondition their hazardous goods packaging, but PHMSA now uses M-numbers in their place. Often times the M-number is displayed on the outside of a package (like in the above picture). Manufacturer’s symbols can come in two formats. The first format lists the manufacturers sequentially by Identification Number (M#). The second format lists each state’s manufacturers alphabetically by city and company name. The identification number, the name and address, the status, and Continue Reading…

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 Continue Reading…

PHMSA Penalties Increase

Chemical Drums Disposal

Enforcement of Hazardous Materials Program Procedures

Many have heard the phrase, “money makes the world go around”. The phrase was made popular by the stage and film show “Cabaret”. In fact, that phrase is the name of one of the songs in the show. For a snippet of the song featuring Liza Minnelli, listen here.

What does this phrase have to do with the US transport regulations you may ask? It comes down to a particular section of 49 CFR. In Subpart D of Part 107 Hazardous Materials Program Procedures is a section entitled “Enforcement”. Within that subpart are the possible penalties a company could be assessed for violations to the requirements of 49 CFR. In particular, take a look at Sections §107.329 regarding the maximum civil penalties which could be assessed to a company.

Maximum Penalties Increase

Here’s where things get tricky. Anyone working with these regulations is familiar with the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015.  Quite a mouthful, I know. This act basically requires federal agencies to adjust civil penalties each year to account for inflation. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is a federal agency. As such, on April 19, 2017, those penalties increased. Per the announcement:

The maximum civil penalty for a knowing violation is now $78,376, except that the maximum civil penalty is $182,877 for a violation that results in death, serious Continue Reading…

Labeling
New Hazard Class Label Requirements

Red semi truck on highway

Updated Hazard Class Label Requirements

Stemming from the UN Sub-Committee of experts on the Transportation of Dangerous Goods 40th session, December 2011, and adopted by IMDG, IATA, and PHMSA (US DOT) in 2015. This change to all Hazard Class labels, became mandatory January 1, 2017 for air and ocean shipments. HM-215N issued on March 30, 2017 amended section 172.407 to allow an additional transition period to December 31, 2018 for ground shipments in the USA.

What’s Changed?

This inner line must be 2mm width and also remain at 5mm inside the outer edge even if a reduced size label is allowed.
Note, this is not mandatory for TDG (Canada ground, but will likely become mandatory in future), but customers who ship by ground and air, or ground, air, and ocean will want the consistency now.

Class 3 Label With thick border
New Border

Class 3 Label With thin border
Old Border

The width of the inner border was never previously defined. This change allows for consistency and the wider thickness to make the label more visible.

ICC The Compliance Center is your source for Hazard Class Labels. Our regulatory staff at ICC Compliance Center will be happy to help. Just contact us at 1.888.442-.628 (USA) or 1.888.977.4834 (Canada).

PHMSA Update
Finally . . . HM-215N

Final Rule HM-215N

At long last, HM-215N is officially in place. The Department of Transportation was published in the Federal Register on Thursday, March 30, 2017. This much-anticipated final rule harmonizes the 49 CFR regulations with the United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods—Model Regulations (UN Model Regulations), International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code), and the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air (ICAO Technical Instructions).

Some of the Notable Changes from HM-215N Include:

New entries in the hazardous materials table (HMT) including:

  • UN3527 Polyester Resin Kit, solid base material
  • UN3528 Engine, internal combustion, flammable liquid powdered or Machinery, internal combustion, flammable liquid powered
  • UN 3529 Engine, internal combustion, flammable gas powered or Engine, fuel cell, flammable gas powered or Machinery, internal combustion, flammable gas powered or Machinery, fuel cell, flammable gas powered
  • UN 3530 Engine, internal combustion or Machinery, internal combustion

Amended Proper Shipping names

UN 3151, Polyhalogenated biphenyls, liquid or Polyhalogenated terphenyls, liquid and

UN 3152, Polyhalogenated biphenyls, solid or Polyhalogenated terphenyls, solid by adding “Halogenated monomethyldiphenylmethanes, liquid” and “Halogenated monomethyldiphenylmethanes, solid”

New Special provisions including:

New special provision 422 is assigned to the HMT entries “UN 3480, Lithium ion batteries including lithium ion polymer batteries“; “UN 3481, Lithium ion batteries contained in equipment including lithium ion polymer batteries; “UN 3481 Lithium ion batteries packed with equipment including lithium ion polymer batteries“; “UN Continue Reading…

Anatomy of an ERG

Emergency Response Guidebook

Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG)

The North American Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG) is a tool developed by the US Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), Transport Canada, and the Secretaria de Comunicaiones Y Transportes (SCT).

Every 4 years, millions of copies are distributed, free of charge to firefighters and other emergency personnel. The purpose is to provide guidance to first responders during the initial phase of a transport incident involving dangerous goods.

There are Six Sections in the ERG

The white pages are informational. They contain the guidance and explanation on the following:

  • A flow chart provides information on how to use the Guide.
  • Basic safety information for use when responding
  • Hazard classification system
  • Rail car identification
  • Introduction to GHS pictograms
  • International Identification numbers
  • Hazard Identification numbers
  • Pipeline transportation, including pipeline markers

The Yellow Pages are chemicals listed by UN number. The responder would find the chemical by UN number, then follow orange and green pages accordingly. This section is also a handy tool to look up chemical names when you only have the UN number, without having to pull out a 49 CFR!

The Blue Pages are chemicals listed by chemical name. The responder would find the chemical by name, then go to the orange and green pages for instructions. This section is also a handy tool to look up UN numbers when you only have the chemical Continue Reading…

PHMSA Update
A Small Victory for Harmonization … For Now (HM-215N)

PHMSA Withdraws Final Rule

—PHMSA Update HM-215N

The Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) of the Department of Transportation (DOT) has withdrawn a Final Rule that was intended to be published in the Federal Register on January 26.

The Final Rule, HM-215N, would have updated the U.S. “Hazardous Materials Regulations” to reflect international standards. This was due to the new administration’s Regulatory Freeze executive memorandum, issued January 20, 2017.

Harmonization

HM-215N would have harmonized the 49 CFR regulations to the latest version of the UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, the ICAO Technical Instruction’s on the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods, the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code.

New lithium battery label     New Lithium Battery Mark and Pictogram
New marks and labels introduced in the upcoming international regulations.

 

This delay has made it particularly confusing for shippers of lithium batteries, who have transitioned to the new handling mark, and hazard class 9 label, shown in these international regulations.

Usage

Last week, PHMSA issued a Notice that allows offerors and carriers to use the 2017-2018 versions of the international regulations without fear of enforcement. In addition, it is allowing users to mark and label packages in accordance with either the 2015-2016 or 2017-2018 IATA/ICAO and IMDG regulations.

This notice is limited to 49 CFR Parts 171.4(t) and (v). This notice is expected to be in place until HM-215N is release, or this notice is otherwise rescinded or otherwise modified.

For a full version of the Continue Reading…

PHMSA Update
U.S. Final Rule HM-215N on International Harmonization Delayed

Regulatory Freeze Delays Final Rule HM-215N

The Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) of the Department of Transportation (DOT) has withdrawn a Final Rule that was intended to be published in the Federal Register on January 26.

The Final Rule, HM-215N, would have updated the U.S. “Hazardous Materials Regulations” to reflect international standards, improving U.S. abilities to import and export hazardous materials as well as reflecting improved safety standards. However, due to the new administration’s Regulatory Freeze executive memorandum, regulatory changes that had been sent to the Federal Register but not already approved must be immediately withdrawn for “review and approval” before being reissued. While the text of the Final Rule had already been published on PHMSA’s website on January 18th, it had not yet appeared in the Federal Register. The Regulatory Freeze took effect as of January 20.

Since this update is relatively non-controversial for stakeholders in the transportation industry, and will improve the ability of the United States to compete internationally, it is hoped that the review and approval time will be short. However, until the Final Rule can be published, the hazmat community must wait for the anticipated harmonization of U.S. regulations with international standards. These include proposed changes such as:

  • the adoption of the latest versions of the UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, the ICAO Technical Instruction’s on the Safe Transport Continue Reading…