DG Digest: PHMSA Issues Pair of ICRs, USPS to Hold Webinar on LiBat Shipping, and BNSF Seeks O.K. to Use Drones

BNSF unit oil train seen at Everett, Washington on May 27th, 2017. BNSF has asked the FAA for an exemption for the use of drone aircraft to assist its maintenance forces. Image © 5/2017 by Nikki Burgess; all rights reserved.

This morning’s blog finds our nation reeling from yet another senseless and horrific act of gun violence.  As we mourn the most recent wave of victims, let us all hope that someday, peace and reason and hope will replace fear and ignorance and anger as the way that all of us choose to relate to one another.  On behalf of the entire Labelmaster family, I extend our condolences and hopes for recovery to all of those suffering because of what has happened in Las Vegas.

Let’s look at this week’s surprisingly busy regulatory news:


  • The agency invites comment on a pair of proposed information collection requests.  The first deals with the Security Plans required under the HMR for handlers and shippers of materials of type and or quantity as defined in 49 CFR 172.800(b).  The second ICR deals with the requirements to provide a compliant shipping paper and needed emergency response information along with offered shipments.   Comments are due by November 27th, 2017.   See the proposed ICR’s and how they may affect your operation here:
  • PHMSA issued an additional Emergency Waiver of the HMR, this for areas affected by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin islands.  The waiver is like those granted in recent weeks to the southeastern continental US and allows for modified transport of hazardous materials within the waiver zone, as long as certain EPA restrictions and other basic safety measures are adhered to.  See the waiver and how it works here
  • In preparation for the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Dangerous Goods Panel (DGP) meeting to be held October 16–October 27, 2017, in Montreal, Canada, the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Office of Hazardous Materials Safety and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) Office of Hazardous Materials Safety announced a public “pre-meeting” to discuss US interests.  The meeting will be held on Thursday, October 12, 2017 at FAA Headquarters in Washington, DC. Get the details and find out how to participate right here


The Postal Service has announced a free webinar to outline its most recent efforts to align with other bodies in its treatment of shipping lithium batteries.  In general terms, the Post Office only handles what the other bodies describe as “excepted” batteries.  The webinar is on October  5thHere’s your link to the free session


The agency issued a pair of renewed ICR’s seeking information about the state of operator training, emergency procedures in place, and support equipment needed for the nation’s powered industrial truck and building maintenance platform (i.e. devices like forklifts, scissor-lifts, pallet trucks, powered scaffolds, and other such units) operators.  Such units are a significant s cause of workplace accidents, and poor and incomplete training and or the lack of appropriate maintenance and emergency procedures are often identified as a contributing factor to the cause of such accidents.  See the ICR’s here:


The Board announced a meeting of the Rail Energy Transportation Advisory Committee (RETAC) on Thursday, October 19, 2017, at 9:00 a.m. E.D.T. The meeting will be held in the Board’s headquarters in Washington, DC. The RETAC was formed in 2007 to provide advice and guidance to the board and serve as a forum for emerging issues related to the transportation of energy resources by rail.  See the meeting details here

Transport Canada

BNSF Railway Drone Exemption

BNSF Railway became the first of the nation’s Class One Railroad carriers to ask the FAA for an exemption for the use of drone aircraft to assist its maintenance forces with track and right-of-way inspections required under the 49 CFR.  How much of the activity will pass from direct human to remote device inspection with review by humans remains a work in progress; for now, the idea is to use drones for hard-to-reach places like bridge structures and other areas difficult for humans to directly observe.  It’s likely to be an ongoing development process.  See the exemption request here

Labelmaster is a full service provider of products and services for the Hazardous Materials and Dangerous Goods professional, shippers, transport operators, and EH&S providers. See our full line of solutions at www.labelmaster.com.

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