DG Spotlight | PHMSA Harmonizing HMR with UN Model Regulations, IMDG and ICAO


As part of its ongoing effort to harmonize Hazardous Materials Regulations; 49 CFR Parts 171–180 (HMR) with international standards, PHMSA published the HM-215M Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on August 25, 2014. The comment period for these proposed changes lasts until October 24, 2014, and you can read our expanded coverage of the NPRM announcement here.

PHMSA publishes these proposed changes every two years to help US companies remain competitive in the international Dangerous Goods (DG) shipping business. The goal is to simplify compliance across international borders and multiple modes of transportation while maintaining public safety. The proposed amendments will help align the HMR with the latest editions of:

  • The United Nations Model Regulations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (18th revised edition)
  • The International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG) Amendments 37–14
  • The International Civil Aviation Organization Technical Instructions on the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods (ICAO TI) 2015–2016 edition

These proposed changes con potentially affect any company shipping DG, both in the US and internationally, which is why it’s important to review the NPRM and provide feedback. Some of the more significant proposals in HM-215M include:

  • Multiple amendments to the §172.101 Hazardous Materials Table (HMT) to update proper shipping names, hazard classes, packaging groups, bulk packaging requirements, passenger and cargo aircraft maximum quantity limits and new special provisions
  • A proposal to revise and add vessel stowage codes to standardize segregation requirements
  • An exception for environmentally hazardous substances, including marine pollutants, in quantities not exceeding 5 liters or 5 kilograms from the HMR in §171.4
  • New definitions in section 171.8 including “bundle of cylinders,” “large salvage packaging,” “neutron radiation detector,” “non-bulk packaging” and a direction to §173.115 for the definition of “absorbed gas”
  • Changes for markings, labels and placard specifications for OVERPACK and SALVAGE
  • Additional harmonization of lithium battery requirements beyond the HM-224F final rule: The proposal would harmonize with the latest version of ICAO TI by requiring a “CARGO AIRCRAFT ONLY” label on packages containing small lithium metal batteries not packed in or with equipment

Keeping up with the ever-changing world of DG shipping regulations isn’t easy, but it’s a responsibility we all share to ensure every DG shipment arrives safely and without complications. And Labelmaster is here to help you stay on top of the latest developments.


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