The Federal Railroad Administration has updated the reporting regulations for accidents and incidents. Railroads submitting accident and incident reports to FRA will be required to send them to : RsisAiReports@dot.gov. The final rule is effective as of December 7, 2016.
The Environmental Protection Agency has made changes to the regulations regarding importing and exporting hazardous materials into and out of the United States.
The changes were made in an effort to provide more protection to human health and the environment, to ensure the regulations were consistent with current import/export requirements for shipments between members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and development, and to enable electronic submittal of all documents relating to the import/export of hazardous materials.
The final rule will be effective as of December 31, 2016.
The Environmental Protection Agency has released a final rule regarding revisions to the hazardous waste generator regulatory program that was proposed by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act in 2015.
The approved revisions include reorganization to the hazardous waste generator regulations to make it more user friendly, providing a better understanding of how the program works, allowing greater flexibility for these generators to manage hazardous waste in a more cost effective manner, addressing gaps in current regulations in an effort to strengthen environmental protection, and removing obsolete references to programs that no longer exist.
The final rule will be effective as of May 30, 2017.
PHMSA issued a final rule that updates the Hazardous Materials Regulations to include requirements set forth in the FAST Act.
The FAST Act requires a revised phase-out schedule for all DOT-111 tank cars that are used for transporting unrefined petroleum, ethanol, and Class 3 flammable liquids. In addition, all tank cars that have been built according to DOT-117 specifications and all non-jacketed tank cars that have been built to DOT-117R specifications are required to have a thermal blanket no less than 1/2 inch thick and meet existing thermal protection standards. The FAST Act also sets minimum top fittings protection requirements on DOT-117R specification tank cars.
The final rule is effective as of August 15, 2016.
FRA has issued a final rule that will require commuter and intercity passenger railroads to develop and implement a system safety program. The purpose of these programs, which can be tailored to each railroad’s specific operations, is to proactively identify and mitigate or eliminate hazards. The final rule will be effective as of October 11, 2016. All petitions for reconsideration must be received no later than October 3, 2016.
As as result of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, FMCSA was required to conform its regulations in order to ensure they remain current and consistent with the statutory requirements. The final rule containing the changes will be effective as of July 22, 2016. All petitions for reconsideration must be turned in no later than August 22, 2016.
FRA has announced an increase to the minimum and maximum allowable civil penalty amounts for railroad safety violations. The minimum penalty has been increased to $839. The ordinary maximum penalty was increased to $27,455. In the event of gross negligent violations or repeated violations that have created an imminent hazard of death or injury, the maximum penalty will be $109,819.
The new civil penalty amounts will be effective as of August 1, 2016.
PHMSA has announced changes to the minimum and maximum civil penalty amounts for knowingly violating federal hazardous materials transportation laws, regulations, orders, special permits, and approvals.
Effective August 1, 2016, the minimum civil penalty for any violation related to training has increased to $463. The maximum civil penalty has increased to $77,144 unless the violation results in serious illness, severe injury, or death. Under those circumstances, the maximum penalty will now be $179,933.
The Hazardous Materials Safety Permits rules have been updated to incorporate the April 1, 2016 edition of the out-of-service criteria. This final rule is effective as of June 17, 2016.
OSHA recently revised the Hazard Communication Standard to ensure it conforms with the UN Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). Manufacturers and importers of chemicals must ensure their products are classified and labeled according to the new standard and are required to create and distribute Safety Data Sheets.
In response to these revisions, EPA has made changes to the hazardous chemical reporting regulations and the hazard categories for hazardous chemical inventory forms.
The final rule will be effective on June 13, 2016 and has a compliance date of January 1, 2018.
FRA has issued a final rule to clarify the Roadway Worker Protection regulation. The amendments include, but are not limited to, the adoption of certain terms, clarification of various interpretation issues, and changes to the qualification requirements for roadway workers. The final rule will be effective on April 1, 2017.
Petitions for reconsideration must be received by August 9, 2016. Interested parties may submit comments until September 13, 2016.
Railroad Workplace Safety; Roadway Worker Protection Miscellaneous Revisions (RRR)
In response to a petition for reconsideration of the final rule, National Highway-Rail Crossing Inventory Reporting Requirements, that was issued in January 2015, FRA has issued additional amendments in an effort to address practical implementation concerns. The amendments to the final rule will be effective June 10, 2016.
FRA has made two adjustments to the drug and alcohol regulations. Maintenance of Way employees will now be subject to the same policies and protection as Roadway Workers. FRA has also withdrawn its proposed peer support requirements. As a result, subpart K now includes a revised version of the troubled employee identification requirements that was previously listed in subpart E.
The final rule will go into effect on June 12, 2017. Interested parties may submit petitions for reconsideration no later than August 9, 2016. Comments regarding any of the reconsideration petitions must be submitted by September 13, 2016.
PHMSA has issued a final rule, effective July 5, 2016, that makes several amendments to the Hazardous Materials Regulations in an effort to simplify, clarify, and update certain regulatory requirements.
The goal of the amendments is to encourage safer transportation practices, address NTSB safety recommendations, respond to petitions for rulemaking, make editorial corrections, and promote international commerce.
Some of the amendments include removing PG II designations for certain organic peroxides, self reactive substances, and explosives; incorporating requirements for trailers of manifolded acetylene cylinders; provide requirements to allow for shipments of damaged wet electric batteries; and revisions to the requirements for the packaging of nitric acid.
PHMSA has issued a final rule regarding lithium batteries on board aircraft. Passengers and crew members will no longer be permitted to have any type of battery-powered electronic smoking device in their checked luggage. In addition, these devices and their batteries can no longer be charged on board aircraft. Passengers and crew members will be able to have the devices in carry-on luggage.
This final rule will be effective as of June 20, 2016.
PHMSA has issued a direct final rule that will provide non-specification manufacturers and DOT and UN specification packaging manufactures with an opportunity to utilize the most current technology, materials, and practices to aid in maintaining a high level of safety.
The ASME reference standard 1998 edition will be replaced with the ASME standard 2015 edition for boiler and pressure vessels. The 1998 referenced standard of ASME’s Transportation Systems for Liquids and Slurries: Pressure Piping will be replaced with the 2012 edition. The rule will be effective as of June 28, 2016.
As permitted in the Administrative Procedure Act, PHMSA has issued the direct final rule without prior notice or public comments.
The final rule regarding the reverse logistics of certain hazardous materials being transported by road will be effective as of March 31, 2016. As part of the final rule, the HMR will be adjusted to include a definition of reverse logistics with provisions for the transportation of hazardous materials. The current exceptions relating to the transportation of used automobile batteries between retail facilities and recycling centers will also be expanded as a result of the final rule.
The Department of Transportation has extended its final rule on the smoking ban on passenger aircraft to include charter flights where a flight attendant is a required crewmember. The ban will also include the use of electronic cigarettes on any flight that also prohibits smoking. This final rule will become effective on April 4, 2016.
The Federal Railroad Administration has made adjustments to the deadline for Positive Train Control implementation. In addition to the deadline changes, FRA has also removed portions of the regulation that are no longer applicable. The final rule will be effective as of April 29, 2016. Petitions for reconsideration must be submitted no later than April 19, 2016. Interested parties may submit comments on petitions that have been submitted until June 3, 2016.
In an effort to reduce paperwork and economic burdens on the rail industry, FRA has revised the existing regulations on glazing materials in the windows of locomotives, passenger cars, and cabooses. The revised regulation no longer requires stenciling on the locomotives, passenger cars, and cabooses that are required to be equipped with glazing. Some compliance dates have been removed after they were deemed unnecessary. The final rule also addresses how the regulations apply to older equipment and end locations of all equipment, the definition of passenger car, and the modification of how regulations are applied to passenger cars and cabooses that are used for private transportation and older locomotives that are used in incidental freight service.