Monday, November 22, 2010

PHMSA Hazmat Bulk Loading NPRM to OMB

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) announced that last Friday it received a draft of a notice of proposed rule making (NPRM) from the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) regarding bulk hazardous materials loading and unloading operations. According to the OMB’s Unified Agenda both the National Transportation Safety Board and the Chemical Safety Board have made recommendations for additional regulations in this area based upon accident investigations the two Safety Boards have conducted.

As with most chemical safety measures, a number of bulk unloading safety requirements could have a significant, positive effect of security at high-risk chemical facilities. Examples could include the use of remote emergency shutdown controls and high-flow preventers on unloading systems. Another safety/security issue that could be included would be a requirement for positive identification of materials to be unloaded into bulk tanks to prevent hazardous reactions because of incompatible materials.

Once the OMB reviews and (if it) approves the draft (with or without recommendations for revisions) PHMSA will prepare the NPRM for publication in the Federal Register. We will not know any of the details of the proposed rule until that time. There is no way to estimate how long the OMB review or the PHMSA final preparation will take.

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