The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has proposed two new regulations that could benefit both retailers and transporters. They also offer up new rules regarding the power to shut down businesses that fail to make payments on time for previous civil penalties.
Logistical Concerns and Comments
The PHMSA has outlined some specific rules regarding the Hazardous Materials Regulations on return shipments of toxic products via vehicle transportation. PHMSA set forth a more descriptive guideline for “reverse logistics,” along with explaining how these products are exempt from the proposed regulations. This section helps define what materials are ‘exempt’ from the new regulation, and what requirements are applied to such shipments.
Presently, items that must be sent back to the facility they originated from are under the same packaging and shipping requirements that manufactures adhere to. But this new ruling could dramatically change this, as PHSMA states that they have noticed “that these requirements are misunderstood or overlooked”.
This new rule would alter the definition of “reverse logistics” from anything shipped back to a manufacture, to “the process of moving goods from their final destination for the purpose of capturing value, replacement, and proper disposal.” Vehicle transportation of any hazardous material would then have to follow this requirement.
Lead acid batteries also receive an exemption, as they often are picked up by retailers for recycling purposes.
PHMSA hopes that the new rule will provide worthwhile savings regarding packaging costs, as placards will be eliminated along with other paper labeling products.
Permits and Approvals
Special permits are presented and granted upon approval by written consent from PHMSA. This section received alterations when the new Standard Operating Procedures was released on August 12, 2014. For further information, please see the new NPRM.
Civil Penalties Procedures
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) gained special authority to prohibit any and all businesses who fail to pay civil penalties from conducting business. This ruling went into effect on September 6, 2014.
Some departments are concerned about how this will affect small business and the economic climate, but PHMSA has issued no concern regarding the new regulation and penalties, and in fact hopes it will eliminate overhead costs for many businesses.
These new laws, regulations, and procedures will directly impact how hazardous materials are shipped, and those in the shipping industry do well to pay heed to these new laws.