DG Digest: U.S. DOT adjusts civil penalties for inflation

The FRA published a final rule related to rail safety this week.  A pair of BNSF trains roar past one another in Auburn, Washington in March of 2022.  Photo © 3/2022 by Nikki Burgess; all rights reserved.

Welcome to Spring!  I’m sure that we’re all glad to start putting the winter behind us. As our workplaces begin to transition to warmer weather, as HS&E professionals let’s be sure that any damage to things like outdoor break or lunch areas gets taken care of before our fellow employees start to use them more heavily again.  Many places see increased rain during the Spring, so be sure that gutters, sluices, and sewers are clear of debris and ready for service.  Safety first and always!  Here’s the week’s rather busy and eclectic regulatory news: 

U.S. DOT Civil Penalty Inflation Adjustments

A variety of DOT agencies including PHMSA published adjustments to their civil penalty fee schedules.  These periodic changes keep fees in line with current economic circumstances.  Learn more about the adjustments for various agencies here.


The service published a Safety Alert in response to a fire involving lithium batteries in a container being transported via road but destined for loading aboard ship at a port in Virginia.  The batteries were used and had not been compliantly consigned for transport.  As a reminder, the IMDG Code does contain specific requirements for the transport of lithium batteries. See the safety alert here.


The agency published a renewed ICR dealing with hazardous waste disposal of pharmaceuticals.  Such materials are treated somewhat differently than other types of hazardous waste. See the ICR here.

Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board

The board announced a meeting for April 28th.  This body advises DOT on various issues surrounding transport safety of chemicals, including incident investigation. See the meeting details here.


The agency released an amendment to its final rule clarifying requirements for entry-level commercial vehicle drivers.  The amendment removes obsolete language from the rule. See the action here.

In a second action, the agency published an ICR dealing with driver hours of service.  FMCSA carefully monitors driver hours of service for safety reasons. See the ICR here.


The agency published a final rule modifying the ways in which track authorities can be secured electronically during maintenance of way operations. The rule also addresses various required appliances aboard maintenance of way equipment. See the rule here.


The “Surf Board” announced a meeting of the Rail Energy Transportation Advisory Committee. The committee advises the STB on issues surrounding the transport of energy commodities including hazardous materials by rail. The meeting is scheduled for April 20thSee details here.


The DOL published an ICR related to OSHA’s carcinogens standard. OSHA tracks the use of various carcinogens in the workplace in order to help ensure their safe use, handling, and storage. See the ICR here.

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