DG Digest: OSHA issues guidance aiming to protect workers from lithium batteries worn as personal equipment

The FRA released 4th Quarter 2018 PTC Progress results.  The data shows that all required railroads are on track to meet the required regulatory deadlines.  A BNSF Intermodal train heads south through Kent, Washington.  Photo © 2/2019 by Nikki Burgess; all rights reserved.

Mid-February finds a variety of action taking place on the regulatory front as everyone waits for winter to run its course.  With the shutdown now receding, agencies have ramped back up to normal operations, and are busy with their schedules.  Here’s all the latest:


The agency published the renewal of an ICR affecting Part 121, 135, and 145 certificate holders.  As prescribed in 14 CFR parts 121 and 135, it requires certificate holders to submit manuals and hazardous materials (hazmat) training programs, or revisions to an approved hazmat training program to obtain initial and final approval as part of the FAA certification process. Original certification is completed in accordance with 14 CFR Part 119. Continuing certification is completed in accordance with 14 CFR parts 121 and 135. The FAA uses the approval process to determine compliance of the hazmat training programs with the applicable regulations, national policies and safe operating practices. The FAA must ensure that the documents adequately establish safe operating procedures. Additionally, 14 CFR part 145 requires certain repair stations to provide documentation showing that persons handling hazmat for transportation have been trained following DOT guidelines.  See the renewal here


The agency published a final rule revising the Hazardous Materials Regulations in Parts 107 and 110 pertaining to the Hazardous Materials Grants Program and the Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness Grant. This final rule aligns with the Office of Management and Budget’s Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (‘‘Uniform Guidance’’) and implements new requirements set forth by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act of 2015.  Effective date is March 18th, 2019.  See the rule here

US Coast Guard

The service announced that the Chemical Transportation Advisory Committee and its subcommittee will meet in Houston, TX, to discuss committee matters relating to the safe and secure marine transportation of hazardous materials. All meetings will be open to the public. The Chemical Transportation Advisory Committee subcommittee will meet on Wednesday, March 20, 2019, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The full Committee will meet on Thursday, March 21, 2019, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Written comments are due no later than March 6, 2019.  Here’s your portal for further information


The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) released a status update regarding railroads’ self-reported progress toward full implementation of positive train control (PTC) systems as of December 31, 2018. All required railroads either met the December 31, 2018, statutory deadline for fully implementing PTC systems, or submitted requests demonstrating they met or exceeded the statutory criteria for an alternative schedule provided for by law, permitting up to two additional years to complete full implementation.  See the details here


The safety agency published guidance intended to help protect workers from the dangers of small lithium batteries worn as part of personal equipment. Sudden battery fires have been seen in the news associated with things like e-cigarettes and other small personal devices; this new guidance is meant to provide workers who may not own such devices themselves some help in coping with them as part of their workplace responsibilities.  See the guidance here

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