DG Digest: FMCSA reopens comment period on hazmat endorsements

The FRA issued a stay of new system safety program requirements in the railroad industry.  The new compliance date is September 4th, 2019, though this may shift as FRA reassesses the rule.  A BNSF manifest freight train roars through the rain in Auburn, Washington on Sunday, December 16th2018.  Photo © 12/2018 by Nikki Burgess; all rights reserved.

As we roll into the last few weeks of the year, regulatory activity has stayed relatively busy for a period during which it usually isn’t.  Is this a harbinger for a busy 2019, perhaps?  We’ll see!  Meanwhile, remember to stay safe during the holiday season—it’s an easy time to get distracted, whether at home or on the job.  Here’s all the latest:


The agency published a rather unusual notice that calls on the manufacturers of certain types of lithium batteries cells and power packs to express interest in having their equipment used in various airport power applications, including vehicles and emergency response equipment.  The notice gives direction on how to apply for possible consideration under available grant money.  See the news here


The agency is about to revise the requirements for drivers carrying hazardous materials endorsements on the CDL licenses.  Since the interim rule dates as far back as 2003, the agency has reopened the comment period for stakeholders.  Here’s your portal


The agency issued a stay until September 2019 of its previously implemented requirement for applicable railroads to create and implement a formal system safety program.  Some stakeholders have objected to the rule as being duplicative of existing safety regulations.  See the stay here


The agency issued Emergency Waiver #11 to assist in recovery efforts in the Anchorage, Alaska area after a November 30th earthquake there.  The waiver permits some relaxation of the HMR within the designated zone as long as transport is conducted with equivalent safety and in accordance with either EPA or Coast Guard requirements in the area affected. Here’s a link to the waiver

The agency issued a series of Special Permit actions.  In large degree they cover activity surrounding the “usual suspects,” i.e. lithium batteries, portable tanks, and cylinders.  However in the last action (see 2018-27112) FedEx asks for a modification of its special permit to allow for use of its air manifests as shipping papers when required over certain highway routes.  It will be interesting to see how that goes.  Here’s your links to the full list:





The Department of Labor is proposing an especially board survey of occupational injuries and illnesses on behalf of OSHA.  The survey is estimated to cover no less than 240,000 American workplaces—a huge number for an ICR.  See the proposal here 


The agency issued an ICR dealing its Certified Cargo Screening Facility requirements. According to TSA the collection will enable the agency to conduct more thorough screening, especially of new applicants.  Here’s a link 

Transport Canada

The agency issued a summary of comments and other feedback on its proposed Dangerous Goods Industry database. The proposal has stirred a certain amount of controversy in our northern neighbor, and this report gives voice to some of industry’s thoughts on the matter.  See it here

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