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The Journal of HazMat Transportation

A Publication of PRI International, Inc.


Volume 27, Number 3 September/October 2016

In This Issue 

PHMSA Penalties:  July and August 2016       


Summary of U.S. D.O.T. Rule & Rulemaking Activity

Also go to, Critical Dates. Summaries are linked to our reports and Federal Register notices, and go back several years.

Compliance Dates:  For a summary of important international and U.S. compliance dates, please login to and go to Critical Dates: Compliance Dates.  Summaries are linked to our reports and Federal Register notices.




A Summary Review of Recent and Important DOT Letters of Interpretation of the Hazardous Materials Regulations from July and August 2016.

  • Display of Technical Name, Hazard Class and Packing Group when not Required  
  • Requalification Marks on Cylinders   
  • Building a Stainless Steel DOT-117 Tank Car
  • Carrier Responsibility for IBC Refilled Past Retest Date    
  • Reductions in Marked Gross Mass for Selective Testing Variations 1 and 4
  • Limitations on use of EPA Method
  • Signatures on Test and Inspection Reports
  • Providing a Copy of a Special Permit to the Carrier

By Ed Mazzullo, Technical Advisor



PHMSA Codifies FAST Act Mandates Addressing Rail Tank Cars Used to Transport Class 3 Flammable Liquids  
By Ed Mazzullo, Technical Advisor

PHMSA published Final Rule HM-251C on August 15, 2016, to codify certain mandates and minimum requirements of the FAST Act pertaining to use of rail tank cars for the transportation of Class 3 flammable liquids. HM-251C became effective upon publication read for some background and an overview of applicable provisions and adopted changes in the final rule.

The Need to Provide for Sufficient Financial Coverage of Hazmat Transportations Incidents in the Rail Mode       
By Edward W. Pritchard, Senior Partner, Paladin Consulting Group

Transporting hazardous materials by rail involves financial risk. Does insurance offer sufficient protection? Are the right entities being held liable? Mr. Pritchard follows previous reports on insurance to examine how PHMSA has addressed this issue and offers as a possible model Congress’ 1982 passage of The Nuclear Waste Policy Act, a comprehensive national program.


PHMSA Responds to The Journal’s Inquiry Relative to 172.401(c) with Interpretation Letter 16-0122 to The Journal of HazMat Transportation™. July 25, 2016 
By Frits Wybenga, Senior Technical Advisor                     

Having identified potential for confusion with the policy set by a prior letter of interpretation addressing GHS pictograms on bulk packagings, The Journal wrote to DOT for clarification. Mr. Wybenga examines DOT’s response to The Journal and goes into additional detail on how non-bulk packagings may be affected as well.


PHMSA Publishes HM-234 Notice on Cylinder-Related Petitions for Rulemaking
By Ed Mazzullo, Technical Advisor

PHMSA’s HM-234 NPRM, published July 26, 2016, addresses petitions for rulemaking and proposes revisions and changes to HMR requirements applicable to the manufacture, use, and requalification of DOT specification cylinders, granting some of the petitions. Mr. Mazzullo summarizes each petition and looks at agency initiatives as well.

PHMSA Issues Its International Harmonization Notice of Proposed Rulemaking HM-215N 
By Frits Wybenga, Senior Technical Advisor

HM-215 Rulemakings are periodically issued by PHMSA to harmonize the US HMR with international regulations introduced by the United Nations and other international regulatory bodies.  A regular participant at the UN Subcommittee meetings, Mr. Wybenga reviews PHMSA’s HM-215N NPRM and summarizes its proposed changes to incorporations by reference, harmonization with Canadian regulations, definitional changes, polymerizing substances, among other subjects.



Package, Overpack, and Freight Container – Definitional Dilemma
By Wade Winters, President, Regulatory Resources, Inc.

Mr. Winters tackles the difficult questions surrounding freight containers and definitions, looking at exactly where the line lays between freight containers and overpacks, and the way marking, transport index, labeling, and other requirements differ.

A Different Approach for Improving Packagings Transported in the “Fifth Mode” of Transport    
Lonnie Jaycox, Jaycox Consulting

Mr. Jaycox uses a recently-issued Final Rule (HM-218H) modified package authorizations for Nitric acid, of less than 90% concentration, by surface modes, to examine the means and manner that PHMSA promulgates rulemakings. This report looks at the realities and practicalities of harsh treatment of packages in parcel transport, disharmonization, and suggests an alternative safety strategy.



The Journal of HazMat Transportation’s Exclusive Comments on the U.S. DOT Letters of the Hazardous Materials Regulations              
By Frits Wybenga, Senior Technical Advisor

  • Criteria for passing the vibration test
  • Inclusion of the UN identification Number on a Placard
  • Small lithium batteries subject to 173.185(c)
  • Air carrier acceptance of damaged packagings


U.S. DOT Letters of Interpretation of the Hazardous Materials Regulations: July and August 2016. Thirty-eight letters sorted, indexed and provided verbatim.  

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