DG Digest: PHMSA extends COVID-19 exceptions, EPA publishes final Methylene Chloride risk evaluation

The FRA published an ICR regarding track safety conditions, a necessary component of hazardous materials shipping via rail. A BNSF oil train headed to Anacortes, Washington passes through Kent, Washington in May of 2018. Image © 5/2018 by Nikki Burgess; all rights reserved.

As we wrap up June, the nation is unfortunately experiencing a resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic in many states. It’s important to be mindful of the necessary precautions to help keep your workplace as safe as possible for your level of operations. It’s also important to stay safe at home and while in your community. Let’s all keep working together to end this as soon as we can. The week was quite busy and saw some interesting news; here’s all the latest:

COVID-19 Specific News:


In an important action related to pandemic response, the agency published deadline extensions to its currently in force emergency exemptions allowing for both non-standard domestic ground shipment of some alcohol based hand sanitizers as well as a continuation of the extension of training recertification requirements under the 49 CFR 172.704(c)(2) past their normal expiration dates. The extensions will now run to October 31st, 2020 and in the case of the hand sanitizer exemption, the action also extends the terms of that exemption to encompass rail as well as highway shipments. The exemption in reference to training has no new provisions beyond the extended deadline date. See the extensions here:

Training requirements

Hand sanitizers


The organization published what it calls a guidance structure suggestion for alternatives to quarantine imposition on various segments of air travel, especially from countries still heavily affected by the pandemic. Among other things the proposal suggests increased testing of travelers from areas known to be at higher risk of transmission, as well as contact tracing from the travel activity. See the proposal here.

Non-Covid-19 related news


The agency published its final risk evaluation report for Methylene Chloride under the TSCA high-risk evaluation. EPA has determined that specific conditions of use of methylene chloride present an unreasonable risk of injury to health. For those conditions of use that EPA has found an unreasonable risk, EPA must move to address those risks through management measures enumerated in TSCA. See the report here.

The agency published a renewal request for its ICR collecting information about Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) levels in consumer products. VOC’s are a primary ingredient in haze and smog formation and as such are strictly regulated. See the ICR here.


The agency amended two of the Agency’s financial assistance programs, adopting a new funding formula based on recommendations from the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) Formula Working Group and effective for fiscal year (FY) 2021 grant funds and beyond. This rule reorganizes the Agency’s regulations to create a standalone subpart for the High Priority Program. See the change here.

The agency also announced a July 11th virtual meeting of its Safety Advisory Committee. To participate, see the details here.


The agency renewed an ICR related to reporting requirements for the physical safety and capacity of its track infrastructure. Such reports are used in part to help determine the status of such tracks’ ability to transport various ladings. See the ICR here.


The agency renewed its ICR regarding the display of identifying data tags on rigging equipment for material handling. See the ICR here.

A second ICR deals with the status of provisions for protective equipment for work with electrical infrastructure in both construction and general industry. See it here.

Yet a third ICR seeks to reauthorize collections regarding the Ionizing Radiation Standard. This standard governs exposures in industry to sources of potentially harmful sources of radiation. See the ICR here.


On April 10, 2020, the agency published a request for information from the air cargo industry (including manufacturers, shippers, suppliers, warehouses, e-commerce fulfillment centers, third-party logistics providers, and air carriers) relating to compliance with international security standards for the transport of air cargo by commercial aircraft operators (85 FR 20234). TSA will hold a public meeting on July 29, 2020, to answer questions regarding the international standards discussed in the RFI and to provide an additional forum for comments by stakeholders. Account the COVID–19 pandemic the meeting will be held virtually. See the details and how to participate here.


The Russian Federation published an update to its Competent Authority contact information. Find the update here.

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