Wednesday, October 29, 2008

PHMSA HAZMAT Security Rule Comments – 10-24-08

Last month I posted an entry (see: “PHMSA Transportation Security Proposed Rule”) about the PHMSA proposed rule modifying HAZMAT transportation security rules. Until last week there was only a single comment, hardly worth blogging about. Last week that changed, there were three additional comments, so I thought that I would update my readers about the comments that have been filed on this rule. Interestingly all four of the comments submitted to date come from companies and individuals in the special effects community. All of them use explosive and pyrotechnic devices to augment presentations in the entertainment industry; everything from TV to movies to concerts. The four comments come from:
Technic Services Hi-Tech Fx Peter Albiez J&M Special Effects
Technic Services Comments Reuben Goldberg, the owner of Technic Services, notes that the special effects industry uses a variety of Division 1.4 explosives in their daily business. They typically use small quantities of these materials and he objects to small quantity shipments of these materials requiring placarding and security plans for the shipments. He feels that this will increase the cost of these materials, unfairly affecting his company Mr. Goldberg proposes that the following Division 1.4 materials be given a small quantity (250 devices) exemption to the security plan provisions of the rule:
Detonator assemblies, non electric for blasting (UN 0361, UN 0500) Detonators, electric, for blasting (UN 0255, UN 0456) Detonators, non-electric, for blasting (UN 0267, UN 0455) Cord, detonating, mild effect (UN 0289) Cord, detonating, mild effect, metal clad (UN 104) Charges, shaped, flexible, linear (UN 0237) Charges, shaped, without detonator (UN 0440, UN 04410)
Hi-Tech Fx Comments Brian Panther, the President of Hi-Tech Fx LLC, notes that his special effects company frequently uses UN 0361, Detonators- Non electric, UN0456, Detonators-Electric for Blasting, UN0289 Cord, Detonating Flexible, and ‘flash paper’ (a division 4.1 desensitized explosive shipped wet with water). He states that the shipments that he receives are typically less than 1 Kg in weight. He expresses his concern that requiring security plans for these shipments will cause carriers to either increase shipping surcharges to the extent that he could no longer afford to use these devices, or simply refuse to carry the materials in question. Since his company frequently uses these materials at remote locations with rapidly changing requirements this would put an undue financial burden on his company. Peter Albiez Comments Mr. Albiez has been working in the special effects industry for 40 years and is licensed by both the State of California and the BATF to handle division 1.4 and 4.1 explosives. He makes many of the same points made by the previous commenters. He proposes that PHMSA adopts the recommendations made in public hearing comments (11-30-06) made by the Institute of the Makers of Explosives. They proposed that only placarded amounts (1001 lbs) of division 1.4 explosives and desensitized explosives (class 3 and division 4.1) be required to have a shipment security plan. J&M Special Effects Comments Mr Bohdan Bushell, Planning & Administrative Officer for J&M Special Effects objects to the changing of the amounts of Division 1.4 explosives and desensitized explosives. He feels that changing the amount to ‘any amount’ for the level requiring shipment security plans will effectively make these materials un-shippable in the small quantities used by the special effects industry. My Comments on Comments It is always interesting to see an industry respond to new regulations. This may or may not be an organized campaign. If it is, the commenters are doing a better job of writing individualized comments than is normally seen. It will be interesting to see how many more comments are received from this industry between now and November 10th when the comment period ends.

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