On January 19, 2011, PHMSA published a final rule under Docket PHMSA-2009-0126 that revised the Hazardous Materials Regulations (“HMR”; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) to align with various international standards. This final rule adopted amendments to the HMR regarding hazard communication, hazard classification including packing group assignment, packaging authorization, air transport quantity limitations, and various other international harmonization-related topics. The amendments were necessary to align the HMR with the latest revisions to the International Civil Aviation Organization's Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air (“ICAO Technical Instructions”), the International Maritime Organization's Dangerous Goods Code (“IMDG Code”), Transport Canada's Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (“TDG Regulations”), and the United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods: Model Regulations (“UN Model Regulations”), and to facilitate to the seamless transportation of hazardous materials internationally, to, through and from the United States.
On December 30, 2011, PHMSA published a final rule (the “Final Rule”) that responded to administrative appeals, provided clarifications, and corrected typographical and other minor errors adopted in the January 19, 2011 final rule. The Final Rule can be found at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-12-30/pdf/2011-33358.pdf.
One of the many changes included in the Final Rule is PHMSA’s decision to extend the time frame for the transition period that authorizes the continued use of the square-on-point mark containing the UN ID number required by 49 CFR § 172.315. In the January 19, 2011 final rule, PHMSA provided a one-year transition period to authorize continued use of this marking before the revisions to the limited quantity markings became effective. Under the Final Rule, PHMSA is authorizing use of the square-on-point mark containing the ID number to continue until December 31, 2012.
A second change concerns the transportation of limited quantities of Class 1 explosives and Class 7 radioactive materials by aircraft. As adopted in the January 19, 2011 final rule, the general air packaging requirements for combination packagings prohibit Class 1 (explosive) and Class 7 (radioactive) material to be offered for transportation as limited quantity material by aircraft. PHMSA now recognizes that this is inconsistent with other provisions of the HMR. With this Final Rule, PHMSA is therefore amending 49 CFR § 173.27(f) to reflect current regulations that authorize the shipment of these substances and articles by aircraft.
A third change adopted by PHMSA approves changes to the use of the new limited quantity “Y” marking for display on packagings prepared for air transportation. In the Final Rule, PHMSA now clarifies that the display of a “Y” marking on a limited quantity package is authorized for all modes of transportation.
PHMSA has also adopted a number of minor changes concerning shipping names, definitions, and clarifications.