DG Digest: With federal mediation efforts underway, Class 1 Norfolk Southern (and other operators) face looming strike

A potential hazmat embargo looms for rail shippers later this week if an impending Class 1 railroad strike by operating crews cannot be averted. A Norfolk Southern/BNSF routed oil train operates through Chillicothe, Illinois in April, 2015. Image ©4/2015 by Nikki Burgess; all rights reserved.  

Here we go, rolling into the last full official week of summer. Despite the advance of the calendar, however, much of the country, especially in the West, is still coping with high temperatures and fire danger. Be sure your workplace continues to monitor conditions and has the needed protocols in place to keep employees working safely. Meanwhile, it’s that time of year again—DG Symposium time! Labelmaster’s annual industry forum is now in full swing on our DG Exchange. The meet is virtual again this year, and you can catch all the action online at no cost. Ready to participate? Here’s your path to get all the latest from our industry’s top national and international regulators, subject matter experts, and fellow stakeholders:  Dangerous Goods Symposium – Sponsored by Labelmaster from Labelmaster.

It was a pretty busy week in the regulatory world, perhaps signaling the usual post-Labor Day shift away from summer vacation time and the “nose to the grindstone” shift that the coming fall always seems to bring. Here’s the latest:


The agency proposes to amend the Hazardous Materials Regulations to maintain alignment with international regulations and standards governing the transportation of Class 7 radioactive materials. Specifically, it proposes to adopt changes contained in the International Atomic Energy Agency standards. Additionally, the agency proposes regulatory amendments identified through internal regulatory review processes to update, clarify, correct, or streamline certain regulatory requirements applicable to the transportation of these materials. There are several major subject areas:

  • New incorporations of documents by reference
  • Changes to the definitions of Surface Contaminated Objects (SCO’s)
  • Updates dealing with the continued safe use of aging packages
  • Miscellaneous minor corrections and updates

Comments must be received by December 12, 2022. See the full proposal and ways to comment here.

The agency also announced a meeting of the Lithium Battery Air Safety Advisory Committee (Committee). The meeting will be held on October 20, 2022, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. Requests to attend the meeting must be sent by October 5, 2022. Persons requesting to speak during the meeting must also submit a written copy of their remarks to DOT by October 5, 2022. Requests to submit written materials to be reviewed during the meeting must be received no later than October 5, 2022. For full details on the meeting and how to participate, see the link.

Transport Canada

The ministry is modifying its guidance for the preparation of ERAPS. They are a unique Canadian requirement for the preparation and submission of emergency response plans in some scenarios involving the transport of dangerous goods.  To see the new guidance and what it means, check it out here.

 Guide to help you prepare your emergency response assistance plan (ERAP) (canada.ca)

The ministry also announced the publication of a new issue of its quarterly Dangerous Goods Newsletter. The newsletter contains information and updates useful to DG stakeholders and the associated industry sector. Find it here.


On August 31, 2022, FMCSA announced the extension of its coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID–19) Emergency Declaration which provides regulatory relief for motor carriers and drivers engaged in providing direct assistance in continued support of the Nation’s COVID–19 national emergency. The extension of the emergency declaration expires on October 15, 2022. FMCSA seeks public comment concerning the extent to which motor carriers currently rely on the emergency declaration to deliver certain commodities and whether there has been any impact on safety. Comments on this document must be received by September 21, 2022. Find out how to contribute here.

The agency also released an ICR related to its CMV Driver Medication Form. Medical examiners use the form as part of the physical process for CDL holders. See the ICR here.

The agency requested approval to renew an ICR titled, ‘‘Transportation of Hazardous Materials, Highway Routing.’’ The information reported by States and Indian tribes is necessary to identify designated/restricted routes and restrictions or limitations affecting how motor carriers may transport certain hazardous materials on highways, including dates that such routes were established and information on subsequent changes or new hazardous materials routing designations. Comments on this notice must be received on or before November 7, 2022. Here’s the detail.


The agency published a proposed rule modifying its Risk Reduction Program for railroad operations to account for the activities of contractors employed to perform major functions. Comments are due no later than November 7th. See the details and ways to comment here.

Class 1 Railroad Strike News

Class 1 railroad Norfolk Southern (NS) announced a pending embargo on dangerous goods shipments in preparation for what appears to be a looming strike by operating crews. Other Class 1 roads (Union Pacific, BNSF Railway, and CSX) are likely to follow suit within days. If a new national labor agreement is not reached soon, shipments by rail could be severely affected as soon as late this week. Three years of negotiations have yet to produce agreement.  There is currently a federal mediation effort underway. See details 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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