DG Digest: PHMSA publishes multi-part ICR on requesting changes, exemptions in relation to the HMR

PHMSA published an ICR addressing a number of areas within the HMR’s. Two BNSF trains carrying crude oil meet in downtown Auburn, Washington on Sunday, May 2nd.  Photo © 5/2021 by Nikki Burgess; all rights reserved.

We head into May’s final full week with a holiday weekend set to happen at its end. Make sure that your holiday plans include not only the usual safe practices related to travel and work around the house, but that we all remain mindful of the ongoing issues surrounding the pandemic.  Let’s all keep doing what we can to help bring it to an end.  Meanwhile the week just completed had some interesting regulatory happenings, with both PHMSA and OSHA hard at work.  Here’s the latest news:


The agency published a multi-part ICR. 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.’’ The types of information being collected include these subjects:

(1) Petitions for Rulemaking: Any person may petition PHMSA to add, amend, or delete a regulation in parts 110, 130, 171 through 180, or may petition the Office of the Chief Counsel to add, amend, or delete a regulation in parts 105, 106, or 107.

(2) Appeals: Except as provided in §106.40(e), any person may submit an appeal to our actions in accordance with the Appeals procedures found in §§106.110 through 106.130.

(3) Applications for Special Permit: Any person applying for a special permit must include the citation of the specific regulation from which the applicant seeks relief; specification of the proposed mode or modes of transportation; detailed description of the proposed special permit (e.g., alternative packaging, test, procedure, or activity), including as appropriate, written descriptions, drawings, flow charts, plans and other supporting documents, etc.

(4) Applications for Preemption Determination: With the exception of highway routing matters covered under 49 U.S.C. 5125(c), any person directly affected by any requirement of a State, political subdivision, or Native American Tribe may apply to the Chief Counsel for a determination whether that requirement is preempted by §107.202(a), (b), or (c).

See the full text here.


OSHA is scheduling an informal public hearing on its proposed rule ‘‘Hazard Communication Standard.’’ The public hearing will begin September 21, 2021 at 10:00 a.m., Eastern Time (ET). The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on February 16, 2021. The initial public comment period was to end April 19, 2021, but was extended to May 19, 2021, in response to requests from the public. These comments indicated to OSHA that more input on the proposed changes was desired, so a hearing process is now being implemented. See the details here.

In a second action the agency has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that will direct changes to the Walking-Working Surfaces standards to clarify which handrail and stair rail system requirements apply to new stair rail systems. OSHA is proposing changes to two provisions of the walking-working surfaces standard, Subpart D. The first, amending §1910.28(b), clarifies that a stair rail system with a handrail is required on the open side of certain stairways. The second, amending §1910.29(f), eases a restriction on previously-installed stair rail systems by allowing the top rail of those systems to serve as a handrail when it is as low as 30 inches. Comments are due by July 19thSee the proposed changes here.

Finally, a third action advises interested persons that OSHA will conduct a virtual public meeting in advance of the official 40th session of the United Nations Sub-Committee of Experts on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (UNSCEGHS) to be held as a hybrid (in-person and virtual) meeting July 5–7, 2021, in Geneva, Switzerland. OSHA, along with the U.S. Interagency Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) Coordinating Group, plans to consider the comments and information gathered at this public meeting when developing the U.S. Government positions for the UNSCEGHS meeting. The virtual public meeting will take place on June 23, 2021. Find the details here.

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