A final rule was released July 25 amending the Federal Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) to harmonize U.S. laws with international standards to improve safety and streamline transport of hazardous materials.
The U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) introduced the rule to “streamline international shipping, untangle supply chains and reduce costs for Americans.”
The rule is intended to:
- improve safe transportation of hazardous materials
- encourage shippers to package goods more efficiently
- help consumers save about $250 million in shipping costs over the next 10 years
- help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and supply chain disruptions by allowing the transport of more goods in fewer trips, and
- lessen the economic disadvantages faced by American companies competing in foreign markets who are forced to comply with different or conflicting requirements or forgo exporting internationally altogether.
Highlights of the final rule include:
- updated standards for the manufacture, use, and certification of pressure vessels, used to transport essential gases for medical, manufacturing, and other uses
- updated requirements for the transportation of damaged or defective lithium batteries
- improved process for recycling or disposing of small gas or fuel cell cartridges
- updated packaging construction provisions to help reduce delays and interruptions of hazardous materials during transportation, and
- provisions that encourage the use of animal-friendly alternative hazard testing to reduce the prevalence of animal testing.
The final rule is currently available in the Federal Register.