New Hazmat Rules for Shippers

Tomorrow, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) will publish a new revision to the United States Hazmat rules.  The new revision is intended to better harmonize United States Hazmat rules with the ICAO Technical Instructions for Shipping Dangerous Goods.  The Technical Instructions are republished by IATA as the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations and are widely used in the aviation community.

Those who work with standards for cylinders, and those who fill, or service/requalify, cylinders, will want to review these changes carefully.

The changes also better clarify how to identify certain types of vehicles, including remote control aircraft.

Lithium battery special conditions (e.g. special conditions 181-182) are updated.  Section 173.185, which provides the packaging instructions for lithium cells and batteries, is also updated.  Be sure you follow the new labeling and marking requirements!

The new US Lithium Battery Label is authorized for use immediately in 2017

Shippers subject to U.S. jurisdiction are permitted to voluntarily comply with the new rules as of January 1, 2017 (yes, that is three months before the final rule was published).  The mandatory compliance date will be January 1, 2018.

Hazmat Registration – Does the Mandate Apply to You?

One of our members recently asked “what is the PHMSA registration program for hazmat shippers?”

PHMSA is the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.  It is the government entity that establishes hazmat safety regulations for the United States.  As the agency’s name implies, it has responsibility for more than just hazmat regulation.  PHMSA shares enforcement responsibility for the hazmat rules with the modal agencies (like the FAA).  As a consequence, violations of hazmat rules that occur in the context of aviation are often handled by the FAA’s investigators and lawyers, rather than by PHMSA personnel.

PHMSA has a program that requires certain hazmat shippers and carriers to register with the government. They pay a fee and that fee is used for government grants (distributed to states and Indian tribes) for hazmat emergency response planning and training.

So, who must register?  Anyone who offers any of the following hazmats for shipment generally must register with PHMSA (this would also include hazardous wastes; the rule also applies to transporters):

  • Highway route controlled quantity of a Class 7 (radioactive) material
  • More than 25 kilograms (55 pounds) of a Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 (explosive) material
  • More than one liter per package of toxic inhalation hazard material (hazard zone “A” material)
  • Bulk-packaged hazardous material in a packaging having a capacity equal to or 3,500 gallons for liquids or gases or more than 468 cubic feet for solids
  • A placarding-required package with gross weight of 5000 pounds or more
  • Any package that requires placarding

Most aircraft parts distributors are not within the class of parties that need to register with PHMSA.  This is because typical hazmats found in aircraft parts are usually not shipped in ways that would meet one of the required categories for registration.  However, if your business model includes any of the above categories, then you should make sure that you are registered with PHMSA.

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