DG Digest: PHMSA extends comment period on converting historic letters of interpretation into FAQs on its website

The FRA took action to address crew fatigue with a proposed rule regarding program management of the issue. A Union Pacific local train rolls by the steam era water tank at Red Rock, Arizona, on May 15th, 2022. Photo © 5/2022 by Nikki Burgess; all rights reserved.  

Mid-June rolls in with Hurricane season beginning to ramp up. This can produce severe storms in affected regions, and flooding rains even in areas far from the storm zone itself. Be sure your business has severe weather plans to prepare the response needed!  Meanwhile, it was a usual week in the regulatory world, with several items of interest.  Here’s the latest:


On March 22, 2022, the agency announced an initiative to convert historical letters of interpretation applicable to the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) that have been issued to specific stakeholders into broadly applicable frequently asked questions on its website. PHMSA requested comment on the initiative and input on the prioritization of future sets of frequently asked questions. In this new notice, PHMSA is extending the comment period on the action from May 23, 2022, until July 22, 2022. In addition, PHMSA plans to host a webinar to discuss the process and intent of this initiative with stakeholders on June 27, 2022. Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before July 22, 2022. Comments received after that date will be considered to the extent practicable. See details here.

The agency continues its busy focus on its special permit program.  Among others, Amazon has several actions in the mix, affecting shipping papers and overpack usage. Here’s the latest release of actions:

 2022-12304.pdf (govinfo.gov)

 2022-12305.pdf (govinfo.gov)

 2022-12306.pdf (govinfo.gov)

Transport Canada

The Ministry has published a newly updated technical standard (CAN/CGSB 43-147) pertaining to the required elements of rail tank car dangerous goods packaging manufacturing and qualification standards.  Canada has become something of the regulatory leader in requiring updated standards for rail tank cars and other such equipment since the tragic Lac-Megantic train derailment and fire that claimed so many lives in 2013. See the new standard here:


FRA announces the sixty second meeting of the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC), a Federal Advisory Committee that develops, through a consensus process, recommendations for railroad safety regulations and other solutions to railroad safety issues. The RSAC meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 27, 2022. See details on how to participate here.

In a significant action, the agency has issued a proposed rule that would mandate required fatigue management programs for Class I carriers and some other affected railroads. Crew fatigue has often been found to be a factor in a variety of railroad safety incidents. See the proposed rule here.

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