RSPA Releases Proposed Rule on Hazmat Movements
Jun 16, 2001 12:00 PM
The Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA) is proposing to clarify the applicability of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) to specify activities, including hazardous materials loading and unloading operations and storage of hazardous materials during transportation. The proposed rule sets forth a list of HMR pre-transportation and transportation functions to which the HMR apply.
Pre-transportation functions are those performed to prepare hazardous materials for movement in commerce by persons who offer a hazardous material to be transported. Transportation functions are performed as part of the actual movement of the hazardous materials in commerce, including loading, unloading, and storage of hazardous materials that is incidental to their movement.
In its proposal, the agency seeks to clarify that "transportation in commerce" for the purposes and applicability of the HMR, begins when a carrier takes possession of a hazardous material and continues until the carrier delivers the package containing the hazardous material to its destination as indicated on the shipping documents.
Over the past several years RSPA has issued a number of interpretations, inconsistency rulings and preemption determinations in response to requests from the public for clarification regarding the meaning of "transportation in commerce" and whether particular activities are covered by that term and therefore, are subject to regulation under the HMR. Loading, unloading and storage of hazardous materials are areas of particular confusion and concern.
Some of the issues treated by the proposed rule include: an agency interpretation of the authorizing statute; bulk versus non-bulk issues; preemption; pre-transportation activities and specification packagings; "transportation in commerce"; OSHA (Occupational and Safety Health Administration) and EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) regulations.
Comments on Docket No. RSPA-98-4952 (HM-223), Applicability of the Hazardous Materials Regulations to Loading, Unloading, and Storage are due on or before October 12, 2001. For further information contact Susan Gorsky at (202) 366-8553, Office of Hazardous Materials Standards, Research and Special Programs Administration, or Nancy Machado, (202) 366-4400, Office of the Chief Counsel, Research and Special Programs Administration.