Notice of PROPOSED Rulemaking: 49 CFR Docket HM-215O

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is at it again. Published on November 27, 2018 is a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that many in the industry want to happen sooner rather than later. It is Docket number HM-215O. This amendment is a giant step towards better alignment of the Hazardous Materials Regulation (HMR), or 49 CFR, with the changes coming in 2019 for several international transport regulations.

Remember, this NPRM is just one step in the process for updating Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations. We still have to get through the comment period on this particular docket. Starting today, the comment period is open until January 28, 2019. After that window closes, each comment is reviewed and changes could be made to the amendment. The docket is then published as a Final Rule with a 30- to 60-day phase in period. If you feel strongly about a proposed change, speak now or forever hold your peace.

While what is listed below this is not a comprehensive listing of everything in the PROPOSED amendment, an attempt was made to focus on what could impact a majority of transport professionals. For access to the entirety of NPRM, go to https://www.phmsa.dot.gov/regulations-fr/rulemaking/2018-24620 and view the PDF.

Here are some of the PROPOSED changes in HM-215O:

  • Section 171.7 – This section will now include reference to the 20th Revised Continue Reading…
North American Rail Safety Progresses

FRA Solicits Comments on Securement NPRM

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) published a Notice of Proposed Rule Making on September 9 to further enhance rail transportation safety and security following the recent incidents involving derailments of rail cars carrying hazardous petroleum products. The NPRM expands upon Emergency Order 28 and updates 2001 provisions regarding securement of unattended equipment. The FRA notes that there has been an increase in rail incidents involving flammable liquids since 2009 including (but not ending with) the 2013 Lac Mégantic, QC disaster with the tragic loss of life that resulted.

The proposed rule would require formal planning, job briefing, and verification measures to ensure that trains carrying specified hazardous materials/dangerous goods are secure when left unattended on main lines or sidings when specified materials [e.g. PIH, Class 1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 3 or specific items listed in 49CFR173.31(f)(2)] are present in specified configurations.

Locomotives in particular will require an exterior locking mechanism by March 2017. Provisions are also proposed requiring attendants when equipment cannot be secured according to the regulations.

Additionally procedures will be required to verify continued securement following incidents where non-railroad emergency personnel have been involved in a response that could have affected the integrity of the securement.

Although railways will not require prior FRA approval of securement plans, the FRA must be notified of amendments to existing plans and details must be provided upon request.

The Continue Reading…

PHMSA Withdraws NPRM

PHMSA has decided to not move forward to amend HMR 49 CFR 171-180 that would require CMTV loaders and unloaders to perform a risk assessment prior to activities and implement safety procedures based on the results.

On March 11, 2011 PHMSA published a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) based on their regulatory assessment, public comments and the completion of a supplementary policy analysis to address risks associated with loading and unloading operations. Also included in this proposal was additional training and qualification requirements for loading personnel.

PHMSA’s regulatory assessment cited “human error” as the reason for most cargo-related accidents. This decision was based on a 10 year study of CMTV incidents between 2000 and 2009. The study claimed that the human factor was attributed to inattention to detail while loading or unloading, attendance requirements, leaving valves in the open or closed position, failure to segregate incompatible materials, and improper hose connections and filling practices that result in over-pressurized CMTV’s. Over 3,500 of these incidents during the study period resulted in a total of $68 million in damages.

Public comments to the proposed amendment regarding performing risk assessments expressed concern over redundancy by facilities and carriers, as well as the record-keeping efforts for such a task, declared as “burdensome”.

Comments on PHMSA’s recommendation that operators perform an annual refresher under direct observation of actual duties and drills was strongly opposed Continue Reading…

Hazardous Materials: Harmonization with International Standards

August 15, 2012

This Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is part of a continuing effort to maintain alignment with international regulations and standards through a biennial process to harmonize the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR parts 171 to 180) with international regulations and standards.

The following are some of the more noteworthy proposals in this NPRM:

Incorporate Revised Standards: PHMSA proposes to incorporate by reference the newest versions of various international hazardous materials standards including the 2013–2014 International Civil Aviation

Organization Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air (ICAO Technical Instructions), Amendment 36–12 to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code), and the 17th Revised Edition of the United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (UN Model Regulations).

Additionally, PHMSA is proposing to update the incorporation by reference of the Canadian Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations to include Amendment 8 (SOR/2011–239) issued November 9, 2011, Amendment 9 (SOR/2011–60) issued March 16, 2011, and Amendment 10  (SOR/2011–210) issued October 12, 2011. Finally, in this NPRM PHMSA is proposing the adoption of updated International Standards Organization (ISO) standards.

This proposed rule is necessary to incorporate revisions to the international standards and, if adopted in the HMR, most of which become effective January 1, 2013.

Expand Packaging Authorizations: Consistent with the amendments adopted by the UN Model Continue Reading…

NPRM’s HM-233B and HM-238

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: HM-233B Revisions of Special Permits Procedures

Special permits allow for variances in the regulations as a way to quickly, effectively and safely integrate new technologies for the hazardous materials industry and to also address unique or infrequent transport situations.

This NPRM proposes to clarify existing regulations while requiring additional information that will allow PHMSA to evaluate the level of safety that will be achieved. PHMSA believes it is essential to understand and analyze the risks of a special permit application along with potential failure modes. Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA) will be an example of acceptable documentation to substantiate the alternative request.

In parts 107.105 of 49 CFR, PHMSA will be looking for additional information on:

  • Shipping and incident history in addition to experience relating to the initial application, modification, or renewal of a special permit.
  • Identification of increased risks to safety or property that may result is a special permit is granted or renewed.

As this rulemaking will request additional and detailed information in the special permit process, the proposed change is seen as increasing safety and environmental protections.

The comment period for HM-233B remains open until August 26, 2010.

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: HM-238 Requirements for the Storage of Explosives During Transportation

PHMSA and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) propose to use the National Fire Prevention Association standard 498 as the Federally approved standard for the Continue Reading…