Today’s digest covers the two weeks just past. The first week of the period was quiet; the second week, quite busy. IATA published a new addendum and PHMSA was quite active. All in all, a busy period. Meanwhile, the vaccination effort against the ongoing pandemic continues. Let’s all keep working and living safe and do our part to battle this virus. By the end of the summer, with a little luck and a lot of effort, hopefully things will be better. Here’s the latest news:
The agency announced a meeting of the Lithium Battery Air Safety Advisory Committee for March 3rd and 4th. The meeting is virtual and open to the public. For details and a way to attend, see the link here.
The agency published an ICR related to cargo tanks. It consolidates and describes provisions in parts 107, 178, and 180 of the HMR involving the manufacture, qualification, maintenance, and use of specification cargo tank motor vehicles. It also includes the requirements for persons who are engaged in the manufacture, assembly, requalification, and maintenance of DOT specification cargo tank motor vehicles. See the ICR here.
The association published a second addendum to the 62nd Edition of the DGR. The addendum specifies a number of changes to relatively minor carrier variations, but also includes an important change to SP 220, dealing with COVID-19 vaccines. The variation now reads (changes italicized and in parenthesis):
A220 Packages containing COVID-19 (pharmaceuticals) accompanied by data loggers and/or cargo tracking devices containing lithium batteries are not subject to the marking and documentation requirements of Section II of Packing Instruction 967 or 970, as applicable. (This same package configuration, when consigned without the COVID-19 pharmaceutical for the purposes of use or re-use, is also not subject to the marking and documentation requirements of Section II of Packing Instruction 967 or 970, provided prior arrangements have been made with the operator). See the full addendum here.
The Postal Service proposed a change to its handling of e-cigarettes. These devices contain lithium batteries. The change if adopted will place restrictions similar to those already in place on tobacco products onto e-cigarettes. See the proposal here.
Chemical Safety Board
The board, which assists OSHA in assessing chemical safety issues, has scheduled a meeting for March 5th. Public participation is available here.
The agency published an emergency order (EO) mandating face mask use aboard freight trains and other rail vehicles. The order imposes the same conditions that have existed in other modes for some time as a mitigation measure to help address the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. See the order here.
Office of the President
President Biden issued an executive order mandating a review of American internal supply chains. The goals of the order are to identify and address weaknesses in the ability of the United States to supply its own critical needs for items vital to the national interest. These include things like microchips, rare earth minerals, and high tech batteries. See the order here.
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