DG Digest: PHMSA HM-215P Proposes Greater Harmonization; Comment Period Open until 10/12/21

PHMSA published a proposed harmonization rule last week.  An intermodal train carrying dangerous goods among its ladings roars through Puyallup, Washington on a recent summer evening.  Photo © 7/21 by Nikki Burgess; all rights reserved.

It’s the middle of August, and hot weather and storms have been a dominant feature of the landscape so far this month in man places across America.  Be sure you have your plan for safe work practices in place to help handle what Mother Nature is sending our way.  The week’s biggest regulatory news by far: publication by PHMSA of a new proposed harmonization rule, HM-215P, which will update any number of rules to bring the US into line with much of the rest of the industrialized world is operating under.  We’ll cover it in more detail below, along with the week’s other news.  See it here:


Harmonization—it’s always the biggest news on the block. PHMSA provides proof below with a new proposal for improved alignment. HM-215P has a 60 day comment period until October 12, 2021. Here are its major features:

  • Updates by incorporation a number of the “usual suspect references—i.e. ICAO, the IMDG Code, the UNMR, etc., all of which have new editions out since the last time such an update occurred.
  • Establish approximate equivalence in the US for Canadian (TDGR) Temporary Equivalency Certificates (more or less what the US refers to as Special Permits)
  • Revises the Hazardous Materials Table.  In addition to what one might call typical updates, this revision features among others expanded treatment of Dangerous Goods in Articles
  • Creates new exceptions for Lithium batteries in service for transport equipment—think monitor devices for CTU’s, etc.
  • Changes to some IBC construction standards
  • Change some parameters including marking size minimums for Lithium Batteries
  • Revises some of the stowage requirements for lithium batteries, in this case, covering those consigned as damaged and defective as well as for disposal or recycling
  • Updates the definitions of SADT and SAPT in reference to the lowest temperature at which the these may occur include in various packagings
  • Doubles periodic inspection timing from five to ten years for fire fighting cylinders that are filled with hazardous materials described as “UN3500, Chemicals under pressure, n.o.s.”
  • Revises its specifications for adding technical names to the PSN for hazmat that is a marine pollutants
  • Stipulates that the LQ mark, when used, must appear on one side of a package, i.e. no folding over
  • There’s a new and presumably pandemic originated exception for alcohol-based hand sanitizers and cleaning products carried aboard aircraft by its operator for use by its crew and passengers

As the reader may guess, the above is only a brief summary of highlights—there’s plenty more to be seen, so you should be sure to review the proposal yourself. Find a link to it here.

The agency also published an ICR related to hazardous materials.  This information collection applies to procedures for requesting changes, exceptions, and other determinations in relation to the HMR. Specific areas covered in this information collection include part 105, subparts A and B, ‘‘Hazardous Materials Program Definitions and General Procedures’’; part 106, subpart B, ‘‘Participating in the Rulemaking Process’’; part 107, subpart B, ‘‘Special Permits’’; and part 107, subpart C, ‘‘Preemption.’’ See the full ICR here.

Although the harmonization NPRM steals the thunder this week, the agency also published yet another raft of special permit actions last week—something they’ve been super buys with all this year.  Pretty much the usual suspects, but that’s what keeps the DG world moving.  See the new actions here:





The service published a final rule that enables regulated facilities to electronically submit Operations Manuals and Emergency Manuals and electronically communicate with the Coast Guard. This rule also allows facility operators to submit one electronic or printed copy of the manuals and one electronic or printed copy of the amendments to the manuals. Finally, this rule requires the regulated facilities to maintain either an electronic or a printed copy of each required manual in the marine transfer area of the facility during transfer operations. This rule is effective September 10, 2021. See it 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.

Related posts