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 illness, or severe injury to any person or substantial destruction of property.

Also, there was an increase to the minimum penalty for violations related to training. The new value is now $471. To see the full ruling in PDF form, go here. These new penalties are effective immediately.

Why is this tricky? If you have the hardbound/paper copy of the regulations published in March of 2017 – it won’t have these increased penalties in it. If you use the electronic Code of Federal Regulations the changes are there.

So, take note! Things change fast in this world and you have to stay aware. For help with all of your regulatory needs including training contact ICC Compliance Center today.

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