DG Digest: PHMSA releases pair of useful guides, FMCSA may reduce State fees collected from motor carriers

Among other actions in a busy end-of-summer regulatory week, the FRA announced a further delay in its new safety program rules affecting both passenger and freight carriers.  Meeker Southern SW9 103 meets Amtrak Phase I heritage unit 156 leading the Coast Starlight in August of 2019 in Puyallup, Washington.  Photo © 8/2019 by Nikki Burgess; all rights reserved.

Although the calendar says that summer doesn’t end until September 22nd, for all practical purposes summer ended yesterday with the Labor Day holiday.  Hopefully everyone had a safe and happy long weekend!  The last week of the traditional summer season was unusually busy from a regulatory standpoint, with a number of actions rolling in to wrap up the period.  The DG Digest also extends a warm welcome to all of the industry experts and stakeholder’s attending Labelmaster’s Dangerous Goods Symposium in Chicago this week.  Have a great meeting and enjoy the city!  Here’s all the latest:


The agency released a pair of helpful new guidance documents.  One is a sort of general “how to” guide for hazardous materials, while the other is a valuable new resource treating the upcoming international requirement for the ready availability of the UN 38.3 lithium battery test document.  You can find both documents at this link:

How To Guide for Hazardous Materials

Lithium Battery Test Document

Transport Canada

The Canadian General Standard Board (CGSB) has released the first draft of the new National Standard of Canada CAN/CGSB-192.3 entitled “Transportation of Dangerous Goods Training, Assessment and Competency”. Once the Standard is finalized and published, the agency will propose an amendment to Part 6 of the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations, which would allow the Standard to be incorporated by reference.  To obtain a copy of the draft Standard and corresponding comment form during the Public Review period, please contact Beata Hart at the CGSB. Please note that all comments must be submitted to CGSB using their comment form by October 24 2019.  Here is the contact email:  Beata.hart@tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca


The agency proposes reductions in the annual registration fees States collect from motor carriers, motor private carriers of property, brokers, freight forwarders, and leasing companies for the Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) Plan and Agreement for the 2020, 2021, and subsequent registration years. The proposed fees for the 2020 registration year would be reduced below the 2018 registration fee level that was in effect by approximately 12.82 percent to ensure that fee revenues do not exceed the statutory maximum, and to account for the various excess funds held in the depository. The proposed fees for the 2021 registration year would be reduced below the 2018 level by approximately 4.19 percent.  See the full notice here

FMCSA also announced a public meeting to discuss the technical specifications in Appendix A to Subpart B of part 395, Functional Specifications for All Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs), as published in the ‘‘Electronic Logging Devices and Hours of Service Supporting Documents’’ final rule (ELD Rule). This meeting will be a forum for discussion of the minimum requirements for ELDs and is being held to help manufacturers produce ELDs that will comply with the ELD Rule. The public meeting will take place on Friday, September 6, 2019, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Eastern time.  See additional details here

The agency announced a meeting of the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee.  MCSAC was established to provide FMCSA with advice and recommendations on motor carrier safety programs and motor carrier safety regulations. MCSAC is composed of up to 20 voting representatives from safety advocacy, safety enforcement, labor, and industry stakeholders of motor carrier safety.  The meeting is on September 30th.  Get all the information you need right here

The agency announced that it will hold a public listening session concerning potential changes to its hours-of-service rules for truck drivers. On August 22, 2019, FMCSA published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) seeking comment on proposed changes to its hours-of-service (HOS) requirements to provide greater flexibility for drivers who are subject to the HOS rules without adversely affecting safety. The listening session will be held on September 17, 2019. The session will be held at the U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590.  Here’s all the details


The agency published a proposal to extend its existing ICR regarding lead exposure standards in the workplace.  This ICR supports the agency’s ongoing effort to help control this useful but hazardous material.  See the details here

The Department of Labor is submitting the OSHA sponsored information collection request, ‘‘Standard on Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals,’’ to the Office of Management and Budget for review and approval for continued use.  The OMB will consider all written comments that agency receives on or before September 30, 2019. The Standard contains information collection requirements that require employers to ensure that processes using highly hazardous chemicals with the potential of a catastrophic release are operated as safely as possible.   Get the full set of details at this link


The agency is taking direct final action to amend the Approval and Promulgation of State Plans for Designated Facilities and Pollutants, General Provisions, in order to clarify the process by which state plans for the control of pollutants and facilities are incorporated by reference into this part. This action is intended to update and modify the outdated General Provisions that note that state plans are incorporated by reference and that describe the availability of state plans. The direct final rule is effective on October 29, 2019, without further notice, unless the EPA receives significant adverse written comment by October 15, 2019 on the amendments.  Many states operate their own state EPA plans in cooperation with federal authorities.  See the rule here

The agency has submitted an information collection request, EPA Worker Protection Standards for Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (EPA ICR Number 1426.12, OMB Control Number 2050– 0105) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval. Public comments were previously requested via the Federal Register on November 27, 2018 during a 60-day comment period. This notice allows for an additional 30 days for public comments. Additional comments may be submitted on or before September 30, 2019. See the ICR’s details here


On August 12, 2016, FRA published a final rule requiring commuter and intercity passenger railroads to develop and implement a system safety program (SSP) to improve the safety of their operations. FRA has stayed the SSP final rule’s requirements until September 4, 2019. FRA is issuing this final rule to extend that stay until March 4, 2020. See the new stay 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

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