Seat belts
Grateful Dead and Truck Seat Belts?

FMCSA Final Rule

Occasionally a change to a regulation comes along and just the title of it triggers the memory of a song in my head. On June 8th the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a final rule regarding passengers in commercial trucks. As soon as I saw the words “commercial trucks” the Grateful Dead’s song “Truckin’” popped into my head. For a reminder of this song, take a listen here. Throughout the song various cities are mentioned and the song itself is about the band travel exploits. The irony of this band and safety is not lost on me!

Now that the song is stuck in your head which are called “ear worms” by the way, let’s talk about the actual change to the regulation. For years commercial truck drivers have been required to wear seat belts but passengers did not. That is about to change. The revision goes into effect on August 8th and now requires all passengers riding in commercial trucks to wear a seatbelt. If a passenger fails to do so, then the driver will be held responsible.

We all know that wearing a seat belt can save your life. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2014, “37 passengers traveling unrestrained in the cab of a large truck were killed in roadway crashes”. Granted that’s not a large number, but any loss Continue Reading…

No Smoking
Up in Smoke – Transport Bans on E-Cigarettes

On almost every corner in St. Louis recently are signs for “vapor rooms” or “vaping” locations. Curious, I did some research. These are locations where the newly popular electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) are sold and used. We now have electronic devices that are alternatives to real cigarettes, pipes, cigars and chewing tobacco. Some of these devices are called an e-cigarette, e-pen or even an e-hookah. They work by using a lithium battery to heat an internal coil which vaporizes a mixture of various chemicals and flavorings, including nicotine which is then inhaled.

Last week one of our local news stations, Fox 2 Now, aired a story about injuries received from electronic smoking devices exploding or catching fire while in the hands or pockets of some users. The full story can be found here. Please be warned some of the images are graphic in nature.

As someone in the “safety business,” I was curious in regards to what regulations are currently in place for these items. Back in January of 2015 the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an alert that air carriers require these devices only in the cabin of the aircraft. This was followed by a June 2015 ICAO addendum that “prohibits the carriage of e-cigarettes in checked baggage and restricts the charging of these devices while on board the aircraft.” In May of this year, the US Department Continue Reading…

PHMSA
Correction to HMT in 49CFR

On Monday, April 25, 2016 the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) published a correction to the 49CFR Hazardous Materials regulations in the Federal Register.

The correction states:

“In Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, parts 100 to 177, revised as of October 1, 2015, on page 269, in § 172.101, in the Hazardous Materials Table, for the entry ‘‘Phenylmercuric compounds, n.o.s.’’ add ‘‘G’’ in the first column.”

The federal register notice can be viewed here: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-04-25/pdf/2016-09615.pdf

The “G” in the first column of the Hazardous Materials Table (HMT) identifies proper shipping names for which one or more technical names of the hazardous material must be entered in parentheses, in association with the basic description. The technical name(s) must be shown on package marking and shipping papers. Failure to comply with the corrected information can result in non-compliant shipments.

Single Packaging
The Importance of Packing Instructions

Simon Says . . . It’s All About Following Directions

An experienced shipper knows that in order to be compliant for HazMat or Dangerous Goods shipping, packaging designs have to be subjected to performance testing. In fact, this should be something that even new shippers learn during their training. This testing is meant to simulate conditions that the package could encounter during typical transport operations.

Did you know that there are requirements to be followed even after the testing is complete and the packaging is marked as meeting the appropriate specifications? In a game of Simon Says, all players must do whatever Simon says. Packaging manufacturers are like Simon, they must provide proper instructions to customers so that they are able to assemble and use the packaging correctly. The packaging must be assembled in the same manner as it was during the testing process. If not, the shipment could be considered non-compliant.

The certification provided for the packaging is only good for the exact configuration that was tested. This is especially critical for combination packagings which can have numerous parts necessary to make a complete package. Making even minor changes to that configuration means there is no way to know for sure if it would still pass the testing criteria. Using specification packaging is much like a game of Simon Says . . . one wrong move and you Continue Reading…

Danger Placard
Remembering Placards

Mnemonic Devices

How do you remember the meaning of something? Do you try to KISS it where KISS stands for – Keep It Simple Silly? Do you use mnemonics from elementary school and even through college to trigger your memory? I do, and boy how they make things easier. I bet you can remember ROY G BIV, the colors of the rainbow from art class. Music class they gave us easy ways to remember the treble clef with Every Good Boy Does Fine for the lines on the staff and FACE for the spaces. One of my favorites however, is PEMDAS to help remember the order of operations in math!

I am always looking for a fun way to help reinforce my memory. In the hazardous transportation industry there are so many things to remember or define. Oh and the acronyms!

What is a Placard?

Let’s take a look at placards. What is a placard? As defined in the Merriam – Webster dictionary a placard is defined as:

a large notice or sign put up in a public place or carried by people

Placards provide pertinent information about an area, a specific instruction, or a hazard. Placards are used in work places to communicate to people of special operating procedures. Placards are also used in transportation to warn of hazards that are present in a truck on the road, in a rail Continue Reading…

Why You Need the Most Updated Regulatory Texts

The Bible, Shakespeare and Transport Regulations

“Woe is me” is a phrase heard by many. It basically means someone is unhappy or distressed. The Bible uses this phrase in several locations including Job 10:15, Isaiah 6:5 and Psalms 120:5. Shakespeare later used this same expression when writing for his tragic character Ophelia in “Hamlet”. Existing and operating in the world of regulations can also bring on this feeling. It is difficult enough learning the basics of any regulation, but to truly “know” it takes time, patience and work. This process is complicated by the fact that many regulations change. Is it really necessary to have the newest, latest regulation? To answer that question it is time to look to the regulations.

International Air Transport Association (IATA):

For many, these are the Air Regulations. In this instance, the regulation is updated YEARLY. A new edition goes into effect on January 1st of any given year and ends on December 31st of that same year. The Regulation is currently on its 56th Edition. To showcase some of the changes that could apply to a variety of shippers, please read the following:

  1. The List of Dangerous Goods has new entries and/or updates to existing substances
  2. Packing Instructions for Lithium Batteries was updated to include not only a change but also a new addition
  3. Section 7 – Marking and Labeling for Limited Quantities has new information

Continue Reading…

Department of Transportation Logo
Transition Period for Two US Labels Coming to an End

On July 20, 2011, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) published Final Rule HM-218F, bringing changes to the 49 CFR Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR). Most of the amendments that were adopted in the final rule were intended to eliminate, revise, clarify or relax regulatory requirements. Two hazard class labels were revised in the final rule and were given a transition period for compliance until October 1, 2014.

Class 6 Label Changes

Class-6-Transition-Period-for-Two-US-Labels-Coming-to-an-End

Removal of CDC information on the class 6 infectious label

Prior to HM-218F, labels for Class 6 Infectious Substances were required by the HMR to include references to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The final rule removed the previously required statement “In U.S.A. Notify Director—CDC, Atlanta, GA 1–800–232–0124” from the label text. As of October 1, 2014, the statement must not appear on the Infectious Substances label.

Class 9 Label Changes

Class-9-Transition-Period-for-Two-US-Labels-Coming-to-an-End

Removal of horizontal line on the class 9 miscellaneous label

In 49 CFR, the Class 9 label was different from international regulations by including a thin, horizontal line running across the label at its midpoint. This led to some shipments being delayed or having to be relabeled by international carriers because there was no line required in the international standards such as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Technical Instructions and the International Maritime Dangerous Good (IMDG) Code. HM-215F removed the requirement for the line on the Continue Reading…

PHMSA Issues NPRM HM-215M for Harmonization with International Standards

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has been committed to ensuring that the domestic Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) are kept current with international standards. Since these standards are updated at the United Nations (UN) level every two years, this requires frequent amendments. The latest round of amendments has been started with the issue of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on August 25.

The NPRM has been issued by DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) as Docket Nos. PHMSA-2013-0260, HM-215M. It contains revisions necessary for harmonization with the UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, the ICAO Technical Instructions for Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air, and the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG). The comment period is until October 24, 2014. PHMSA’s goal is to ensure harmonization with the above regulations for the 2015-2016 biennium.

You can follow the links at the bottom of this article to read the proposed rulemaking or comment on it at the Federal Rulemaking Portal.

Shipping Hazardous Materials by Ground in the USA certification »

The extensive docket is about 90 pages long, and covers a number of areas for change.

HMR Significant Updates HM-215M:

  • Marine pollutants – the NPRM would exempt packages of small packages of marine pollutants (up to 5 Liters or 5 kilograms) from the HMR, due to the low risk for these goods in transport. Also, Chlorotoluenes will Continue Reading…
PHMSA Modifies HMR Lithium Battery Provision

PHMSA modifies HMR Lithium Battery Provision — Harmonizing with UN Model Regulations, IATA, and IMDG Provisions

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has issued a final rule establishing new standards for air cargo shipments of various types of lithium batteries, including packaging requirements and safeguards for power cells that have been damaged or are headed for recycling.

PHMSA, in conjunction with the FAA, is modifying the HMR regarding the transportation of lithium batteries. These changes with help to ensure that battery shipments are able to withstand transport conditions and are packaged properly to reduce the possibility of damage while in transit.

The intent of the rule making is to strengthen the current regulatory framework by imposing more effective safeguards, including design testing to address risks related to internal short circuits, and enhanced packaging, hazard communication, and operational measures for various types and sizes of lithium batteries in specific transportation contexts. The rulemaking would respond to several recommendations issued by the National Transportation Safety Board.

The final rule is expected be published in the Federal Register sometime in the next 10 business days. According to DOT, voluntary compliance is encouraged when the final rule is published, but compliance is mandatory beginning six months after publication, around in February, 2015.

The final rule will:

  • Enhance packaging and hazard communication requirements for lithium batteries transported by air
  • Replace equivalent lithium content with Continue Reading…
DOT Issues Emergency Provisions on Crude Oil Shipments

In the wake of a number of serious incidents involving rail transport of crude oil, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has issued an emergency order regarding these shipments. In order to improve public safety, the DOT will require that crude oil shipments be tested to ensure accurate classification, and that rail shipments of crude oil shipments be classified as Packing Group I or II, until further notice. This order was published on February 25, 2014.

The emergency order is issued under Docket No. DOT-OST-2014-0025, and can be viewed here. It establishes two main requirements for rail shipments of petroleum crude oil:

  1. Persons identified by the order must, prior to offering for transport, ensure that petroleum crude oil is properly tested and classified, as given in the Hazardous Materials Regulations of 49 CFR, Parts 172 and 173.
  2. Petroleum crude oil, UN1267, must be classified, handled and transported as Packing Group I or II; Packing Group III is forbidden during the timeframe of this order.

The order applies to all persons who offer for transportation or transport petroleum crude oil by rail in commerce within the United States. It covers organizations as well as officers and directors of organizations, employees, subcontractors and agents.


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According to the order, “[m]isclassification is one of the most dangerous mistakes to be made when dealing with hazardous materials.” Not only Continue Reading…