DG Digest: Lithium Batteries in the News and PHMSA adds 60 Days to Comment Period on Bulk Flammable Liquid Carriage

The FRA issued a set of information collection requests related to railroad safety focusing on emergency procedures, track condition, hours of service, and the progress of PTC installation on the nation’s rail network. A Tacoma Rail freight train rumbles through the east side of its namesake city on March 19th, 2017. Photo © 3/2017 by Nikki Burgess; all rights reserved.

Today is the first day of Spring!  I hope the day finds you someplace that is getting warmer and brighter as the year progresses.  Progress on the regulatory front remains slow, as the “freeze” continues to make its presence felt through a still-glacial pace of new regulatory releases.  On the HM-215N front, the song remains the same; another week has passed without a sign of the U.S.’s new harmonization rule.  Our wait goes on.  Meanwhile, here are the other items of interest for the week:


In an action scheduled to publish on the 21st, the agency has extended the comment period another sixty days for its proposed new rule in reference to volatile flammable liquids carried in bulk. That proposal was issued in January just before the new administration took office, and given the tepid response to the rule from potentially affected parties, one can imagine that it may face a rocky road to implementation given the new philosophical bent in Washington. We shall see.  Review the extension here (note this is a pre-publication link, and may deactivate following actual publication, in which case you’ll be able to find the active link in the Federal Register)


This action proposes special conditions for a supplemental type certificate for installing inflatable restraint systems with non-rechargeable lithium batteries on seats in certain transport category airplanes. These airplanes will have a novel design feature compared to current airworthiness standards for transport category airplanes; a non-rechargeable lithium battery. The applicable airworthiness regulations do not contain adequate or appropriate safety standards for this design feature. These proposed special conditions contain the additional safety standards that FAA considers necessary to establish a level of safety equivalent to the existing standards. Your comments are due before April 17, 2017. Here’s your link


The department invites public comments about its intention to request Office of Management and Budget approval to renew an information collection involving Transportation Drug and Alcohol Testing. It will be used to document tests conducted and actions taken to ensure safety in the workplace and is necessary under the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991. Comments must be received by May 15, 2017. See the ICR here


The agency published a draft of new and continuing information collection requests (ICR’s) covering a range of activity in the industry, from passenger train safety preparedness measures, track conditions, hours-of-service tracking for operating employees, and quarterly PTC implementation reporting.  In that regard, the agency also announced current reporting shows that Positive Train Control (PTC) compliance ranges between 16 and 24 percent—this as the deadline looms at the end of 2018.  However much preparatory work has already been accomplished and most railroads are confident about meeting the deadline.  See all the links below for the full stories.



The agency has extended the comment period for its proposed rule in reference to enhanced surface transportation security enhancements for the nation’s freight and passenger haulers.  See the extension here

Lithium Batteries

In an incident certain to add further impetus to the debate about the propriety of allowing Lithium Batteries aboard aircraft, a female passenger on a Beijing to Melbourne flight suffered thankfully very minor injuries when her lithium battery powered headphones erupted into flames as she wore them.  Photos of the young woman’s scorched and blackened hair and face add further drama to what is perhaps the most pressing question in DG shipping today; how to safely account for shipping these vitally useful but occasionally seemingly unpredictable devices.  Here’s the story

IMO IMDG 2016 Code Correction

Thanks to sharp-eyed Regulatory Specialist Brian Beetz in our Chicago offices, an error in the IMDG Code regarding marking will be corrected. IMO has indicated that the correction will be promulgated in a corrigendum prior to January 1, 2018. Below are the particulars; it pertains to the proper shipping name size requirement on cargo transport units (5.3.2 Marking of cargo transport units). The following are exact excerpts from with the differences highlighted between Amendments:

  • 2014 IMDG Code

The proper shipping name for the goods shall be displayed in characters not less than 65 mm high. The proper shipping name shall be of contrasting colour with the background. This may be reduced to 12 mm for portable tank containers with a capacity of less than 3,000 L.

  • 2016 IMDG Code

The proper shipping name for the goods shall be displayed in characters not more than 65 mm high. The proper shipping name shall be of contrasting colour with the background. This may be reduced to 12 mm for portable tank containers with a capacity of less than 3,000 L

Many thanks to our man Brian Beetz for the great catch!

Labelmaster is a full service provider of products and services for the Hazardous Materials and Dangerous Goods professional, shippers, transport operators, and EH&S providers. See our full line of solutions at www.labelmaster.com.



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