DG Digest: PHMSA Names a New Deputy Administrator; FRA and FMCSA Withdraw Sleep Apnea Standards

DG Digest 8-14-17

It’s summer bridge inspection time again for the nation’s rail carriers as the FRA has issued its ICR for the activity. A Union Pacific Engineering Inspection Special makes its way over the Kankakee River at Momence, Illinois at 7 PM on July 17th, 2017. Image ©7/2017 by Nikki Burgess; all rights reserved

August is the month that Washington, DC takes off. Congress is not in session and many officials get of town—the city is famous for its humid and uncomfortable August weather. However, despite this the last week was fairly busy on the regulatory front, with a number of agencies announcing relevant action. Here’s the update:

PHMSA

The agency has a new deputy administrator, as explained in the following published notice:

“Drue Pearce Named PHMSA Deputy Administrator: Ms. Pearce was named the Deputy Administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) effective August 7. Ms. Pearce joins PHMSA from private practice. She previously served for 17 years in the Alaska Legislature, including two terms as the Senate President. During the administration of George W. Bush, she served at the Senior Advisor to Department of Interior Secretaries Gale Norton and Dirk Kempthorne, advising primarily on Alaska Affairs. She was the first Federal Coordinator in the Office of the Federal Coordinator for Alaska Natural Gas Transportation System Projects. Ms. Pearce also served on PHMSA’s Technical Hazardous Pipeline Safety Standards Committee, one of two technical committees that advise PHMSA on the development of pipeline safety standards.”

FAA

The Federal Aviation Administration has issued an “InFO” or “Information for Operators” alert in reference to personal electronic devices with Lithium Batteries and their carriage aboard commercial aircraft. The alert cautions carriers to “apply Safety Risk Assessments (SRA) through their Safety Management System (SMS) processes to identify and mitigate the risks associated with the carriage of these devices.” The push and pull between security and safety—carrying such devices in checked baggage, or in the main cabin, and the relevant risks attendant to both methods—goes on. See the full notice here:

https://www.faa.gov/other_visit/aviation_industry/airline_operators/airline_safety/info/all_infos/media/2017/info17008.pdf

US State Department

The Department will conduct an open meeting at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. The primary purpose is to prepare for the fourth session of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Sub-Committee on Carriage of Cargoes and Containers to be held at the IMO Headquarters, United Kingdom, September 11–15, 2017. The agenda includes many issues surrounding various Dangerous Goods. For more information about how to access the meeting, see the link here:

https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2017-08-14/pdf/2017-17111.pdf

FRA

It’s annual bridge inspection time for rail carriers. The FRA has issued its yearly ICR regarding the need to report status of the bridges that carry our nation’s rail freight and passengers. The safety of these structures is always a high priority for the agency. See the ICR here:

https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2017-08-14/pdf/2017-17115.pdf

The agency has withdrawn its proposed rule regarding stricter standards for testing train engineers and conductors for sleep apnea, a medical condition which can lead to sudden and uncontrolled bouts of sleep. Carriers objected to the costs and administrative burden. A similar rule proposal for road carrier employees (drivers) was withdrawn as well; see that notice in that section. Here is the FRA withdrawal:

https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2017-08-08/pdf/2017-16451.pdf

CPSC

The Consumer Products Safety Commission has updated its procedures for requesting product safety information from the agency. This may be of particular interest to retail sector readers of this column, since the CPSC is a great resource to help you provide information to your customers about the products that they may find of interest. See the revisions here:

https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2017-08-08/pdf/2017-16550.pdf

FMCSA

The nation’s safety agency for road transport has withdrawn its proposed rule regarding stricter standards for testing drivers for sleep apnea, a medical condition which can lead to sudden and uncontrolled bouts of sleep. Carriers objected to the costs and administrative burden. A similar rule proposal for rail carrier employees (train engineers and conductors) was withdrawn as well; see that notice in that section. Here is the FMCSA withdrawal:

https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2017-08-08/pdf/2017-16451.pdf

The agency also wants to know what its stakeholders think of the service it is providing. A new ICR asks for feedback regarding service delivery. Have an idea, or maybe a problem to explore? Here’s your chance to communicate them right to the ears in Washington. See the ICR right here:

https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2017-08-10/pdf/2017-16873.pdf

OSHA

The agency has issued three new ICR’s. The first deals with reporting the protective measures that employers are taking to protect employees form ionizing radiation; this can range from the nuclear industry to things as seemingly innocuous as medical facilities and radio stations. The second ICR is in reference to the safety of hoists and lifts, common industrial equipment used all over the country. A third ICR requires reporting of safety standards surrounding mechanical power presses. See the collections here:

Ionizing radiation:

https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2017-08-08/pdf/2017-16708.pdf

Hoists and Lifts:

https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2017-08-08/pdf/2017-16710.pdf

Power presses:

https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2017-08-10/pdf/2017-16835.pdf

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