Saturday, January 5, 2013

PHMSA Final Rule for Next Round of Harmonization of HMR

The Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration published a final rule in Monday’s (available on line today) Federal Register (78 FR987-1100). This final rule completes the latest round (HM-215L) of the harmonization of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) with international rules and regulations. This rulemaking process began with the issuing of a NPRM in August of last year.

Rule Provisions

This final rule will:

• Update references to international regulations including the ICAO Technical Instructions, the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, the IMDG Code, the UN Model Regulations, the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria the Canadian Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations and various technical standards.

• Add, revise, or remove certain proper shipping names, hazard classes, packing groups, special provisions, packaging authorizations, bulk packaging requirements, and passenger and cargo aircraft maximum quantity limits from the Hazardous Materials Table (HMT).

• Adopt new HMT entries for chemical under pressure and specify acceptable bulk and non-bulk packagings, filling limits and appropriate segregation requirements.

• Adopt an exception for the transport of aircraft batteries aboard passenger aircraft in excess of the quantity limits specified in column 9A of the HMT.

• Revise the vessel stowage provisions in column 10 of the Sec.  172.101 Hazardous Materials Table (HMT).

• Adopt minimum size requirements for the ``UN'' or ``NA'' markings specified in Sec.  172.301.

• Adopt changes throughout Part 173 (packaging requirements) to:

(1) authorize the use of wood as a material of package construction for certain explosives;

(2) authorize the use of metals other than steel or aluminum for drums and boxes; and

(3) where appropriate, permit the use of non-removable head drums in those instances where removable head drums are otherwise authorized.

• Adopt a new packaging definition, operational controls, performance-oriented standards, and testing requirements for Flexible Bulk Containers (FBCs).

Response to Public Comments

In this final rule PHMSA made some changes to the provisions in the NPRM based upon public comments filed with that rulemaking. Those changes include:

• For the chemicals under pressure provisions PHMSA revised the packaging requirements for chemical under pressure to authorize the use of non-refillable cylinders larger than 1.25 liters for chemical under pressure;

• For the aircraft battery provisions PHMSA revised the exception to ensure full alignment with the ICAO Technical Instructions and FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 statutory requirements; and

• For the non-bulk packaging marking provisions PHMSA delayed the effective date of this requirement until January 1, 2017 and permit packages permanently marked prior to this date to remain in use until the end of their useful life.

Effective Dates:

PHMSA authorizes voluntary compliance with this rule effective January 1st, 2013 (effectively today). The required compliance date is January 1st, 2014 (except as noted above). The 'incorporation by reference' changes were approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of January 1st, 2013.

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