DG Digest: PHMSA announces virtual Research, Development & Technology Forum – starting October 12, 2021

The FRA published a new ICR related to crew hours of service. A local train guided by a BNSF SD60M rounds the big curve located on the railroad’s mainline in Sumner, Washington on September 19th, 2021.  Image © 9/2021 by Nikki Burgess; all rights reserved.

Amazingly enough, we’ve just finished the last weekend in September.  Where does the time go?  Cooler fall weather is beginning to settle in across the country; now is a great time to start thinking about your company’s cold weather plans for things like snow clearance, keeping walkways safe, and making sure heaters, boilers, and furnaces are all ready to go for the coming winter season.  Don’t wait till the last minute!  This week featured a variety of news on the regulatory front; let’s take a look:


The agency will hold a public Research, Development & Technology Forum to present the results of recently completed projects, brief new project plans, and obtain stakeholder input on the direction of current and future research projects on topics including mitigation of climate change, risk management and mitigation, packaging integrity, emerging technology, and technical analysis to aid risk assessment. The meeting will be held virtually on MS Teams from October 12 to 15, 2021, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on each day. See further details on attending right here.


The service published a new rule clarifying the relationship between it regulations in the 39 CFR and the status of its Publication 52, the USPS Hazardous Materials Rules.  In essence, the rule defines Pub. 52 as the referenced rulebook when shipping any hazmat via the US mail. See the rule here.

The service also published a clarification to its mail screening rules that addresses how mail is screened for transport by aircraft and specifically discusses firearms and explosive materials. See the clarification here.


The department issued an ICR for OSHA that delves in issues regarding permit required confined space entries.  Confined spaces requiring permits for entry are a subset of industrial spaces that are not often entered and that may as a result contain unbreathable atmospheres and must be tested in specific ways prior to entry.  They form an important part of OSHA’s safety responsibility. See the ICR here.


The agency announced a comment period on an ICR referencing operating crew hours of service.  Train crews are subject to hours-of-service limits as a safety issue. See the ICR here.

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