PHMSA Aligning Hazmat Regs with International Standards

The agency wants to have its proposed rule adopted by Jan. 1, 2013, when most of the relevant international standards take effect.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, a DOT agency, has published a proposed rule to align some of the Hazardous Materials Regulations to match international standards, including the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code, ICAO's Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air, and the UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods – Model Regulations.

PHMSA's proposed rule, published in the Aug. 15 Federal Register, will incorporate the new versions of these standards by reference. The changes include adding more flexibility when choosing packaging for hazmats; revising the vessel stowage location requirements for explosives; and adopting a new packaging definition, operational controls, performance-oriented standards, and testing requirements for flexible bulk containers, which are packages with a capacity greater than the currently authorized maximum volume capacity for IBCs.

Also, the agency plans to include entries for chemical under pressure to clear up what it calls confusion that causes these products to be frequently classified incorrectly and transported as liquefied gases or under special permits.

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