Top 10 things hazmat regulators can do during a regulatory freeze

When the new administration in Washington issued an executive order blocking any new federal regulations, all pending Dangerous Goods regulations were thrown into limbo. And there they remain.

What do regulators do when regulations are frozen?

Rest assured, our friends at PHMSA, FMCSA, OSHA, EPA and other agencies are still finding (mostly) productive uses for their time. Here are our top ten antidotes for regulatory freeze boredom:

  1. Explain what shippers should do when new rules are in limbo

In anticipation of PHMSA finalizing HM-215N, many lithium battery shippers bought the new required labels and set up their systems to use them. Then came the freeze, and shippers found themselves caught between old and new—and international and domestic—regulations.

Fortunately, regulators were able to explain exact procedures for lithium battery shippers to follow. Need more details? Call Labelmaster’s experts at 1.800.621.5808 and ask to speak to a member of our Regs Team.

  1. Catch up on The Walking Dead

A whole truck and a team of five to deliver twelve cantaloupes—and you lose one along the way? Nice supply chain you got there.

  1. Closely monitor international regulations

The United Nations and other international bodies are, of course, still free to enact new regulations. And since the U.S. frequently adopts new rules to harmonize with the international variety—assuming, of course, the freeze lifts someday—these new regulations are still highly relevant.

The last few weeks have seen action from the E.U., Canada and Brazil. Nothing earth-shattering, but worth regulators’ attention.

  1. Fill out NCAA brackets

We’ve got Villanova, Northwestern, Michigan and Middle Tennessee. Hey, we’re DG pros, not bracketologists.

  1. Focus on hazmat training

Our recent hazmat training survey found that many DG Pros think training needs to be improved even within their own organizations, as well as throughout the industry.

Training is, of course, already mandated by the 49 CFR. But if regulators have time on their hands, they could focus on ways to make training more engaging and less stressful. At Labelmaster we’ve already gotten started—check out our three new online training courses.

  1. Focus on spring training

Arizona and Florida are delightful this time of year.

  1. Enact regulations

The folks at the DOT and PHMSA are actually staying pretty busy. Just last week, they clarified enforcement guidelines, issued several special permits and initiated explosives lab beta testing.

Plus, not all regulators work (directly) for the government. In late February, The U.S. Postal Service announced significant lithium battery-related revisions to Publication 52, its rules governing Hazardous mail.

  1. Study up on new lithium battery technologies

The man who invented the lithium-ion battery is 94 years old—and still pushing the technology’s leading edge. His team at the University of Texas recently announced a low-cost, noncombustible, all-solid-state battery with a high volumetric energy density and fast rates of charge and discharge.

  1. Devise ways to prevent future Academy Award snafus

Proper labeling is clearly required to make sure the right envelope gets handed to the right presenters.

  1. Explain that regulations are not just a secret plot to kill jobs

Not to get political or anything, but regulations get a bad rap.

Regulations may be burdensome, overcomplicated, costly to comply with and a general pain in the rear, but there’s a reason people say “regulations are written in blood.” Behind every rule, there’s likely an incident that cost people their lives or destroyed an irreplaceable natural habitat.

If regulators actually have time on their hands, now is a good time for them to speak up about the crucial role they play in keeping Americans safe.

Labelmaster is a full-service provider of goods and services for hazardous materials and Dangerous Goods professionals, shippers, transport operators and EH&S providers. See our full line of solutions at

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    • Labelmaster said:

      Thanks Brian! Glad you appreciate our attempts to bring humor to your day!