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Applicability of HMR to employees maintaining shipping containers



Regluation summary

Section 171.8 establishes definitions and abbreviations of the hazardous materials regulations (HMR)


In this scenario, maintenance employees for a contracted company regularly maintain and repair freight containers, reefer containers, flat racks, and chassis that are owned and/or leased by an ocean carrier. The maintenance company asks if the contract employees meet the definition of a hazmat employee under the HMR.

In this interpretation, PHMSA addresses the definition of a hazmat employee.

Interpretation Summary

In interpretation Ref. No. 07-0137, PHMSA advises that a hazmat employee, as defined in 171.8, includes a person who designs, manufactures, fabricates, inspects, marks, maintains, reconditions, repairs, or tests a package, container or packaging component that is represented, marked, certified, or sold as qualified for use in transporting hazardous material in commerce.

  • The maintenance employees do not load, unload, classify, mark, label, placard, transport or accept hazardous materials.
  • PHMSA advises that based on the information, the employees in question do not meet the definition of a hazmat employee unless the equipment that the employees maintain and repair includes packages, containers, or packaging components that are represented, marked, certified, or sold as qualified for use in transporting hazardous materials in commerce.
  • Employees who conduct general maintenance of containers are not considered hazmat employees under the HMR.