DG Digest: PHMSA and the FRA add to Thermal Protection Systems list, last updated in 1994

PHMSA and FRA co-released an updated set of safety standards related to thermal protection for rail tank cars. A pair of tank cars on a freight movement are being passed by an Amtrak Cascades Service train southbound at Vader, Washington on June 16th, 2018. Photo © 6/2018 by Nikki Burgess; all rights reserved.

Mid-June finds summer warmth coming in, and the last two weeks found a variety of interesting regulatory news coming to the forefront.  Summertime usually means vacation time at many companies; make sure your company’s planning accounts for potential reduced staffing and the distractions that sometimes can affect people about to take time off.  Safety and compliance can never take a break!  Here’s all the latest:


  • The agency issued a rule-making in response to appeals submitted to a previously-published final rule. On June 2, 2016, PHMSA published a final rule that made miscellaneous amendments to the Hazardous Materials Regulations. This final rule specifically responds to appeals to extend the effective date of certain nitric acid packaging and emergency response telephone number amendments as previously adopted. This final rule also clarifies amendments associated with the trigger date of the 10-year test period for certain MC 331 cargo tanks in dedicated propane service and corrects editorial errors. Effective date: This final rule is effective July 18, 2018
  • The agency issued a notice in coordination with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to notify the public of four systems that have been added to the thermal protection systems list since its most recent publication (in 1994, no less), as well as to solicit comments or updates to information on the current list. The thermal protection systems included on the list are compliant and are acceptable for use, without further test verification, on U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) specification tank cars. DOT manages the list through the PHMSA Records Center and periodically publishes an updated list in the Federal Register for public awareness. Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before September 4, 2018. Here’s the link


  • The agency announced regulatory guidance to clarify the applicability of the ‘‘Agricultural commodity’’ exception in the ‘‘Hours of Service (HOS) of Drivers’’ regulations. This regulatory guidance clarifies the exception with regard to: drivers operating unladen vehicles traveling either to pick up an agricultural commodity or returning from a delivery point; drivers engaged in trips beyond 150 air-miles from the source of the agricultural commodity; determining the ‘‘source’’ of agricultural commodities under the exemptions; and how the exception applies when agricultural commodities are loaded at multiple sources during a trip. This regulatory guidance is issued to ensure consistent understanding and application of the exception by motor carriers and State officials enforcing HOS rules identical to or compatible with FMCSA’s requirements. This guidance is applicable on June 7, 2018 and expires June 7, 2023.  See the guidance here
  • The agency issued corrections to the technical corrections final rule published on May 17, 2018, that amended FMCSA regulations to make minor changes to correct inadvertent errors and omissions, remove or update obsolete references, ensure conformity with Office of the Federal Register style guidelines, and improve the clarity and consistency of certain regulatory provisions. This document corrects an amendatory instruction effective June 18, 2018.  Here’s the correction
  • The agency also issued guidance referencing the use of CMV’s as personal conveyances.  This guidance could affect many operations that allow their drivers to take vehicles home after work, or to use them for personal reasons during work related service.  See the guidance here

Transport Canada

The Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) has released the draft of the updated safety standard CGSB-43.151, “Packaging, Handling, Offering for Transport and Transport of Explosives (Class 1)” for a 60-day consultation. The safety standard sets out the selection and use requirements for dangerous goods containers used to transport Explosives (Class 1).   Draft copy available by request here

Labelmaster is a full service provider of products, shipping and training software, and professional consulting services to assist the DG and HS&E professional to comply with national and international regulations.  See our full line of solutions at www.labelmaster.com