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…

Knock-Knock. Who’s There? PHMSA Auditors… What!?

The receptionist brings you the business cards of two PHMSA auditors and tells you they are waiting to speak to you. What do you do?

Well, after taking a deep breath, you go introduce yourself and find out why they are there. A “surprise audit” is how they respond, and you think, “OMG, how can this be happening?” Once you regain your senses, you ask them more about the process and what they wish to see. When they ask you questions, be honest; don’t try to hide things – that will only get you in trouble.

First question: Where are the training records?

If PHMSA feels that you are a hazmat employer, you will have hazmat employees. Under 49 CFR 172.700 you are required to train employees in general awareness, function specific, security and safety training. You are required to have documentation of that training. It is required every 3 years.

There are several possible violations: failure to train and/or failure to document the training.

A violation for training is easy to avoid. Keep good records, and ensure all employees who could be considered hazmat employees are retrained every three years – without question!

Second question: Where are your packaging records?

What packaging are you using? Do you have a packing instruction sheet for that package on file? Are you preparing it as the manufacture said you should? Did the manufacture Continue Reading…

PHMSA Increases Potential Fines for Non-Compliance

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has increased the potential penalties for failing to comply with the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR).

Under Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations (49 CFR), hazardous materials must be transported in accordance the rules set out in Parts 100-185 of the HMR. Failing to follow these minimum standards can result in serious risk to the public, as well as environmental and property damage. Therefore, the potential penalties for lack of compliance must be appropriate. These penalties are set by Congress, but must be reflected in the HMR itself. Civil penalties are fines; there are criminal penalties involving prison sentences for violations that are “willful or reckless”.

Penalties must be kept current, and reflect not only inflationary changes, but also the government’s concern ab that the regulations are taken seriously by stakeholders. Therefore, on July 6, 2012, the U.S. Congress revised the maximum and minimum civil penalties for a “knowing violation” of the Federal hazardous material transportation law, or legal requirements under that law, such as regulations, special permits, inspectors’ orders or special approvals issued under that law. Details on these new penalties may be found in 49 U.S.C. 5123(a). The new penalties take effect on violations that occurred on or after October 1, 2012.

To follow Congress’ lead, PHMSA issued a Final Rule ([Docket No. PHMSA–2012–0257 (HM–258)], RIN 2137–AE96) on April 17, Continue Reading…

There is an App for That

Every four years the transportation agencies in USA, Canada and Mexico jointly publish the North American Emergency Response Guidebook. There are more than one million shipments of Hazardous Materials across North America each day. While most arrive without incident at the destination, there are situations where emergency action/response is needed.

This past May more than 2 million free copies of the 2012 Emergency Response Guidebook were distributed to firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and law enforcement officers by PHMSA.

Now, there is an app for that!

App image icon from Google Play

The free app, which is geared for first responders—can be downloaded from iTunes and Google Play.

Authors of this app, warn that this app is for reference and not to be used in an emergency response situation and the only way to stay up to date is to have your own ERG.

The 2012 North American ERG book in English, French or Spanish is available in two sizes: 4 x 6 and 5 x 7. If you do not already have your copy, buy one today.

20 Years Ago

Time flies. Can you believe that it has been 20 years since RSPA (now PHMSA) published docket HM-126F regarding training?

Final rule HM-126F is now incorporated into the 49 CFR regulations Part 172 Subpart H. Subpart H stipulates that:

    1. A hazmat employer shall ensure that each of its hazmat employees is trained in accordance with the requirements prescribed in this subpart
    2. Employees may not perform functions without appropriate training
    3. Training may be provided by the hazmat employer or other public or private sources
    4. A hazmat employer shall ensure that each of its hazmat employees is tested by appropriate means on the topics covered

Hazmat employee training must include the following:

  1. General awareness/familiarization training
  2. Function-specific training
  3. Safety training
  4. Security awareness training
  5. In-depth security training

Often times both function-specific and in-depth security training is better done onsite by the employer. It is the employer’s responsibility to certify that the hazmat employee can perform their job, and do so safely.

For more than 25 years, ICC has provided companies with training that complies with these regulations. We offer training that complies with the general awareness/familiarization, security awareness, safety and some function specific topics.

Ask us about our scheduled public training for ground, air or ocean at our facilities across North American. We also offer GHS training, and new OSHA compliant safety training.

Call 888.442.9628 for more information. Have a problem? We have a solution.

The Rulemaking Process

Have you ever been curious about how a rulemaking is published?  Have you ever wondered how you can participate in the rulemaking process?

We came across a link we want to share from The Office of the Federal Register. When you follow this link https://www.federalregister.gov/learn/tutorials, then scroll down to Tutorials, you will see A Guide to the Rulemaking Process containing answers to the questions below.

Gavel and books

Before the proposed rule

What gives agencies the authority to issue regulations?

How does an agency decide to begin rulemaking?

When can the public learn that an agency plans to start a rulemaking?

How does an agency involve the public in developing a proposed rule?

What is the role of the President in developing a proposed rule?

The proposed rule

What is the purpose of the proposed rule?

How is the proposed rule structured?

What is the time period for the public to submit comments?

Why do agencies re-open comments or issue multiple proposed rules?

Do agencies have additional options for gathering public comments?

Why should you consider submitting electronic comments?

Before the final rule

How do public comments affect the final rule?

What is the role of the President in developing a final rule?

The final rule

How is the final rule structured?

When do final rules go into effect?

Can an agency issue a final rule without publishing a proposed rule?

What are interim final rules and direct final rules?

After the final rule

How are final rules integrated into the CFR?

How is Continue Reading…

Safety
DOT Provides Guidance on Marine Pollutants

Identifying environmental hazards is an important part of the current transportation of hazardous materials system. However, changes that have originated in the UN Recommendations for the Transport of Dangerous Goods (the so-called “Orange Book”) are making classification of such hazards more complex than it used to be. Fortunately, the US Department of Transport (DOT) has issued a short guide that will help those who deal with such chemicals, called Marine Pollutants, in the United States work their way through the system a little easier.

Environmentally hazardous substance marking

Originally, the concept of Marine Pollutants was developed to deal with chemicals that could cause significant damage if released into the ocean. A list of such chemicals was developed, based on Annex III of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 (MARPOL 73/78). Classification depended on whether or not the chemical was identified on this list, or if a substance contained ingredients on the list, above a certain concentration cut-off. While this was a relatively straightforward way of classifying well-known chemicals, it did not fully address how chemicals should be classified if information was discovered about hazards after the list had been established – added or deleting chemicals from the list required extensive work at the international level. With more environmental data being developed all the time, a new method was called Continue Reading…

Fireworks are hazardous

As everyone gathers to enjoy time with friends and family for the 4th of July, it is important to remember that one of our favorite traditions can be dangerous. There are hundreds of injuries and fatalities each year due to fireworks.

“Fireworks on the Fourth of July are an American tradition,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “We want to make sure the traveling public and commercial operators know how to safely transport fireworks so we can all enjoy these colorful displays, both small and large.”

Fireworks are regulated under the hazardous materials regulations. They are a class 1.4G explosive. When transporting fireworks, you must follow the rules as outlined in the regulations including: shipping papers, loading/blocking/bracing, placarding, security plans and you must be a trained person. Workplaces must also meet the requirements under the OSHA regulations, including personal protective equipment and the use of fire extinguishers.

Fireworks

There is a variety of guidance documents available to keep you, your family and your employees safe. Keep  safety in mind so everyone has an enjoyable holiday.

OSHA’s Guidelines for the Pyrotechnics Industry – Fireworks Display

Industry Alert for Fireworks Shippers, Distributors, and Carriers

2009 COSTHA Forum

This year’s COSTHA Forum was held in Long Beach, California from March 29 – April 1.

Some of the speakers were:

  • Geoff Leach, Civil Aviation Authority, UK
  • Janet McLaughlin, Divisions Manager, US DOT FAA
  • Duane Pfund, Director International Standards, US DOT PHMSA
  • Robert Richard, Deputy Associate Administrator, US DOT PHMSA
  • Brendan Sullivan, Manager, Cargo Standards, IATA
  • William Schoonover, Federal Railroad Administration
  • Dave Madsen, Hazmat Analyst, AutoLiv, Inc.
  • L’Gena Prevatt, Delta Air Lines, Inc.
  • Josefine Gullo, Swedish Rescue Services Agency
  • Chen Zhegcai, Director of Transport and Safety, Ministry of Transport, China
  • Sean Broderick, Regulatory Compliance Manager, Procter & Gamble

and the list goes on. But in looking at the list, someone is missing.

There were two federal agencies from over the pond—UK and Sweden—plus one federal agency from half way around the world – China.

The federal agency that was conspicuous by its absence, Transport Canada, is right next door to the host country. Where were they? In this time of harmonization of regulations, it would have been nice to have representation from Transport Canada to give the Canadian perspective on this issue.