The Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is accepting through Nov. 7 comments on a proposed rule that would harmonize the Hazmat Regulations with recent changes to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code, the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air, and the United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods—Model Regulations. Additionally, PHMSA is proposing several amendments that result from regulatory coordination with Canada. PHMSA anticipates that most of the proposed amendments would ease the regulatory compliance burden for shippers engaged in domestic and international commerce, including trans-border shipments within North America.

According to PHMSA, the more noteworthy changes in this proposed rule include the following.

- amend the Hazardous Materials Table to add, revise, or remove certain proper shipping names, hazard classes, packing groups, special provisions, packaging authorizations, bulk packaging requirements, and passenger and cargo aircraft maximum quantity limits

- include in the HMT four new entries for polymerizing substances as well as defining criteria, authorized packagings, and safety requirements, including stabilization methods and operational controls

- amend packaging requirements for vessel transportation of water-reactive substances consistent with requirements in the IMDG Code, including changes to the packaging requirements to require certain commodities to have hermetically sealed packaging and to require other commodities, when packed in flexible, fiberboard, or wooden packagings, to have sift-proof and water-resistant packaging or packaging fitted with a sift-proof and water-resistant liner

- adopt a new lithium battery label, amend the existing marking requirements for small lithium battery shipments to incorporate a new standard lithium battery mark across all modes and establish the conditions in which such mark is used, and delete a documentation requirement for shipments of small lithium cells and batteries

- harmonize the HMT proper shipping names utilized for the transportation of engines and machinery containing engines with those in the UN Model Regulations and harmonize with the IMDG Code for domestic vessel shipments of engines, internal combustion, and machinery containing combustion engines

- provisions for recognition of Transport Canada cylinders, equivalency certificates (permit for equivalent level of safety), and inspection and repair of cargo tanks

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