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A new proposal from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) would revise the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) to update, clarify, or streamline various regulatory requirements. The proposal responds to 18 petitions for rulemaking submitted by the regulated community between May 2018 and October 2020. Revisions address a variety of issues, including packaging, hazard communication, and the incorporation by reference of certain documents.

PHMSA intends to:

  • Allow more flexible packaging options for transporting compressed natural gas in cylinders.
  • Streamline the approval application process for the repair of specific DOT specification cylinders.
  • Provide greater clarity on the filling requirements for certain cylinders used to transport hydrogen and hydrogen mixtures.
  • Facilitate international commerce and streamline packaging and hazard communication requirements by harmonizing the HMR with international regulations to allow the shipment of de minimis amounts of poisonous materials.
  • Provide greater clarity by requiring a specific marking on cylinders to indicate compliance with certain HMR provisions.
  • Streamline hazard communication requirements by allowing appropriate marking exceptions under certain conditions for the transportation of lithium button cell batteries installed in equipment.
  • Provide greater flexibility and accuracy in hazard communication by allowing additional descriptions for certain gas mixtures.
  • Increase the safe transportation of explosives by updating certain Institute of Makers of Explosives (IME) documents currently incorporated by reference.
  • Modify the definition of ‘‘liquid’’ to include the test for determining fluidity (penetrometer test) prescribed in the agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR).
  • Incorporate by reference several revised Compressed Gas Association (CGA) technical references.

Submitting comments

If any of the mentioned revisions apply to your situation, you are encouraged to send your thoughts, suggestions, or comments to PHMSA, by May 2, 2023. When responding to a rulemaking, it is important that you provide as much information and data as you can that supports your view. The more information you provide, the more likely it is that your response will be acted upon.

You can respond in a couple of ways. The first is through a trade organization, such as the Council of Safe Transportation of Hazardous Articles (COSTHA) or the Dangerous Goods Advisory Council (DGAC). Sending your comments through a trade organization allows the organization to respond on behalf of you and other members, while adding the influence of the organization.

To respond directly to PHMSA, access the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov and follow the instructions. Be sure you include the identification of the docket number, which is: (PHMSA–2020–0102 [HM–219D]).

Key to Remember: Proposed revisions to the HMR address a variety of issues, including packaging, hazard communication, and the incorporation by reference of certain documents. Any comments on the proposed revisions should be sent to PHMSA by May 2, 2023.