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Recent Issue Summaries

What You've Missed... September / October 2008 Issue

A sampling of what you've missed in the March / April 2008 issue of HAZMAT Packager & Shipper...

As a Subscriber, you would have learned ....

    that PHMSA’s long awaited HM-232F Notice of Proposed RuleMaking (NPRM) was published on September 9, 2008.  The primary purpose of HM-232F is to streamline the list of substances requiring the preparation of a security plan for transportation.   The author’s analysis of this proposal reveals potential problems facing the transportation of certain materials.  For some products, major distribution challenges may face the shipping and transportation industries.  PHMSA Publishes Its Proposal on Substances Requiring a Security Plan: HM-232F

that the chemical industry is expressing concerns that two years are insufficient to design and test tank cars which can meet new proposed energy absorption standards.  It accuses DOT of not addressing car production issues during the eight-year transition period.  These comments are in response to PHMSA’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), Docket No. FRA-2006-25169 (HM-246), Hazardous Materials: Improving the Safety of Railroad Tank Car Transportation of Hazardous Materials.  A number of additional problems are raised.  Rail Industry Petitions

    steps are afoot to gain support for the certification of hazmat trainers to specific standards.  The author points out, ironically, that the regulations currently do not specify any particular qualifications for the trainers themselves.  Read the author’s thoughtful observations. Establishment of Certified Hazmat Trainers

how FAA Director Christopher J. Bonanti, Office of Hazardous Materials Federal Aviation Administration, views the FAA’s hazmat transportation safety program.  He discusses FAA’s understanding of the hazmat world in air transport in this question-and-answer interview.   Coordination with PHMSA and enforcement perspectives are covered.  Questions for FAA

that DOT’s PHMSA recently held a meeting of all DOT third-party laboratories.  PHMSA’s Approvals, Enforcement, Technology, Standards and International Standards staff attended.  Also present were representatives from the Army Materiel Command’s testing facility.   Test report contents and development costs would expand greatly if DOT has its way.  Packaging self-certifiers could be involved.  Notification procedures might be affected as well.  Focus on Standardization:  DOT Third-Party Lab Meeting

that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has proposed changes that could significantly increase penalties.  The proposal would allow OSHA to fine an employer per employee each time the employer fails to provide personal protective equipment (“PPE”) or training. Currently, in many instances, OSHA is permitted to fine an employer only once for failing to provide the requisite equipment or training, regardless of how many employees are affected by this failure. OSHA:  Get Ready for Bigger Penalties

    that PHMSA has recently modified its website making it possible for anyone to research its incident data base.  It allows a user to search 10 years worth of incident data using a variety of criteria.  The author illustrates several ways one might consider using this search capability.  PHMSA Makes it Possible to Analyze Its Incident Data Base

    why variations between test results on UN specification packaging are not surprising.  They are being encountered throughout the UN system, in Europe as well as in the United States.  Failures being experienced by DOT PHMSA’s marketplace test sampling program result from manufacturing issues not currently addressed by the UN standards. Package Testing – Reasons for Inter-Laboratory Test Result Variations

    about Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) trends that may result in paperless documentation for the shipment and transport of hazardous materials.  The author notes several specific projects underway by government and industry.  He believes that the system will eventually come to be adopted for hazmat, prodded by government safety and security objectives in tracking these shipments.  EDI Initiatives and What We Might Expect

    about PHMSA’s hazmat non-compliance penalty activity.  The monetary fine totals compared with other years may be indicative of some change in philosophy.  PHMSA may be tending toward limiting penalty action to the more serious offenses and applying higher penalty levels in those cases.  The highest penalty assessed was for over $20,000.  PHMSA’s 2007 Enforcement Results

    how PHMSA plans to incorporate the most recent ICAO Technical Instructions and recently amended IMDG Code requirements into the DOT hazardous materials regulations.  In his report on the July 31, 2008, Docket HM-215J/224D publication, the author summarizes the more widely applicable proposed changes that appeared in the Federal Register Notice.  Harmonizing the HMR with International Regulations