January 30, 2017: Presidential Executive Order on Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs

In an effort to reduce regulation and expenses, President Donald Trump has made several changes since taking office. One of the most important changes he made was placing a regulatory cap on Fiscal Year 2017 that would require agencies requesting new regulations to identify two existing regulations to be repealed.
In addition, the agencies were informed that the total incremental cost of the new regulations and repealed regulations that are to be finalized in 2017 must be no more than zero unless prior written approval has been issued by the Director of OMB.

Presidential Executive Order on Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs

March 21, 2017: Hazardous Materials: Volatility of Unrefined Petroleum Products and Class 3 Materials

The comment period for the advanced notice of proposed rulemaking regarding the volatility of unrefined petroleum products and Class 3 materials has been extended. The comment period will now conclude on May 19, 2017 rather than the original date of March 20, 2017.

Docket No. PHMSA–2016–0077 (HM–251D)

March 17, 2017: Roundtable to Focus on Emerging Railroad Technologies

The Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee will be holding a meeting to discuss the impacts of emerging railroad technologies at 10 am (EDT) on Tuesday, March 21, 2017.

The members of the subcommittee will be joined by representatives from a freight railroad, the railroad technology research center, a rail industry technology supplier, and a labor representative.

Some of the topics that will be addressed include ultrasound, laser, and other forms of technology that could be used to obtain information about the condition of equipment components and track, locomotives that will use data to maximize performance while reducing emissions and fuel consumption and using drones to inspect track and bridges.

The roundtable, Emerging Railroad Technologies, will be open to the public and is being streamed live via webcast.

Roundtable to Focus on Emerging Railroad Technologies

View Webcast 

February 27, 2017: PHMSA Issues Notice Regarding IMDG Code and ICAO Technical Instructions

PHMSA has issued a notice to offerors and carriers of hazardous materials regarding the 2017-2018 ICAO Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air and Amendment 38-16 of the IMDG Code.
At this time, PHMSA has not made a final decision on whether or not it will be adopting the recent changes to the international standards. Until a decision has been made offerers and carriers will be permitted to use either the 2015-2016 or 2017-2018 standards for markings and labeling. The FAA, FRA, FMCSA, and PHMSA will be following this enforcement discretion until such time as this notice has been modified or rescinded.

PHMSAs Notice Regarding the IMDG Code and ICAO Technical Instructions

February 16, 2017: Amendments Included in 58th Edition of IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations

The 58th edition of the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations includes numerous amendments that were made by both the ICAO Dangerous Goods Panel and the IATA Dangerous Goods Board.
Some of the important changes include new shipping classifications, training and instruction requirements, changes regarding packing instructions and performance testing, and several changes to markings and labeling.

Complete List of Amendments

February 1, 2017: WHMIS 2015 — New Hazardous Products Regulations Requirements for Canada

Canada has made some changes to the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) to align more closely with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).
While the changes won’t officially be mandatory until June 1, 2017, suppliers are able to begin following the new requirements for hazardous products that are sold, distributed, or imported into Canada now.
Some of the important changes being made to WHMIS include more comprehensive hazard classification criteria that will now include indications on the severity of the hazards, additional hazard classes, physical hazard criteria that will now be more consistent with TDG regulations, standardized language, and standardized SDS format. In addition, employers must have an education and training in place for their employees.

WHMIS 2015

January 19, 2017: FAST Act Requirements for Real-Time Train Consist Information by Rail

PHMSA is seeking public comments concerning certain aspects of the FAST Act. Specifically, PHMSA is requesting comments regarding baseline changes, affected entities, and cost & benefits related to fusion centers that collect information from railroads and disperse the information during an emergency. Interested parties may submit comments until April 19, 2017.

Docket No. PHMSA–2016–0015 (HM–263)

January 12, 2017: Hazardous Materials: Amended Emergency Restriction/Prohibition Order

The Federal Aviation Administration has amended Emergency Restriction/Prohibition Order No. FAA-2016-9288. As of January 10, 2017 air carriers are no longer required to inform passengers immediately before boarding that Samsung Galaxy Note 7 devices are not permitted to be transported by air. This change was made as a result of Samsung’s efforts to recall Samsung Galaxy Note 7 devices and ensure customers who continue to use them are aware that the devices are not permitted to be transported by air.

Docket No. FAA–2016–9288

December 22, 2016: Application for Special Permit

The Office of Hazardous Materials Safety received an application for a special permit from Southern States, LLC. The permit is a request for modification to a currently approved special permit authorizing the transportation of a larger model of equipment. Interested parties may submit comments until January 23, 2017.

Hazardous Materials: Notice of Applications for Special Permits

December 21, 2016: Proposed Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request

In October OMB approved information collection activities associated with FRA’s Railworthiness Directive No. 2016-01. The approval was set to expire on April 30, 2017. However, the Railworthiness Directive was revised on November 18, 2016. FRA is now seeking approval for the information collection activities under the revised Railworthiness Directive.
Interested parties may submit comments on the new request until February 21, 2017.

Docket No. FRA–2016–0002–N–26

December 19, 2016: Petition for Waiver of Compliance

Union Pacific Railroad Company submitted a petition for waiver of compliance from regulations regarding cab signal systems requirements.
Union Pacific is asking for relief to operate Positive Train Control equipped controlling locomotives with automatic cab signals cut-out. The relief would be within the PTC revenue service demonstration area on UP’s Portland Subdivision. The PTC system is installed and operative and the locomotive engineer will be present for the operation of the train with the ACS cut-out. The engineer is trained and qualified to operate PTC.
Union Pacific also noted the ACS and PTC systems are not integrated on the locomotive and feels using them concurrently would be confusing and distracting for the train crew due to the fact that the displays, audible and visual alerts, and required acknowledgment protocols are different.
Interested parties may submit comments regarding the petition until January 18, 2017.

Docket Number FRA–2016–0108

December 19, 2016: Petition for Waiver of Compliance

The Belt Railway Company of Chicago submitted a petition for waiver of compliance from safety regulations concerning approach locking, time locking, route locking, indication locking, and traffic locking on vital microprocessor based systems.
BRC is seeking authorization to verify and test signal locking systems by using an alternative procedure every 4 years after the initial baseline testing.
At this time FRA does not plan to hold a public hearing on this petition but will be accepting comments until February 2, 2017.

Docket Number FRA–2016–0111

December 15, 2016: Petition for Waiver of Compliance

CSX is requesting a system-wide waiver of compliance from the regulations that prohibit using a switch shunting circuit as the only protection for inside switches or fouling point derails on non-signaled tracks that lead to signaled tracks.
Interested parties may submit comments until January 30, 2017.

Docket Number FRA–2016–0116

December 15, 2016: Petition for Waiver of Compliance

The Beltway Railway of Chicago submitted a petition to FRA seeking a waiver of compliance from the regulations that mandate checking the actual time interval of microprocessor based variable timers.
At this time, FRA does not plan to hold a public hearing but will be accepting comments from interested parties until January 30, 2017.

Docket Number FRA–2016–0118

December 15, 2016: Petition for Waiver of Compliance

CSX has submitted a petition for waiver of compliance to the Federal Railroad Administration. The petition is in reference to  49 CFR 236.566, Locomotive of each train operating in train stop, train control or cab signal territory; equipped.
CSX is seeking an absolute block in advance of the following movements from CP 45 at milepost OB44.5 to CP 92 milepost OB92.0 and from CP 92 milepost OB92.0 to CP 187 milepost OB187.4: engines used in switching and transfer service, with or without cars; work trains; wreck trains; ballast cleaners to and from work; engines and rail diesel cars moving to and from shops. All movements must operate at restricted speed, not exceeding 15 mph.
Interested parties may submit comments on the petition until January 30, 2017.

Docket Number FRA–2016 -0115

December 13, 2016: UPS and FedEx Announce Restrictions on Lithium Batteries

As of January 1, 2017 FedEx Express and UPS will no longer be accepting shipments containing stand alone lithium batteries under the reduced regulations listed in Section II of the IATA PI 965 and 968.
The batteries that fall into that category are small lithium metal (UN 3090) cells not more than 1g and lithium metal batteries not more than 2g. Also included in that category are lithium ion (UN 3480) cells not more than 20Wh and lithium ion batteries not more than 100Wh.
These batteries will be required to be prepared using Section 1A or 1B of the IATA DGR Packing Instruction 965 (for lithium ion) or 968 (for lithium metal).

UPS – Shipping Batteries or Devices With Batteries

FedEx Express – Shipping Lithium Batteries