Recommended practices published for bulk handling of hazmat

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The Federal Register recently published a notice entitled “Proposed Recommended Practices for Bulk Loading and Unloading of Hazardous Materials in Transportation.” The Jan. 4 notice is based upon the work product of the Interested Parties coalition and proposes strategies for enhancing the safety of bulk loading and unloading operations.

The notice is intended to address several of the outstanding, unresolved recommendations issued by the National Transportation Safety Board. One of the primary reasons for undertaking this project was to ensure uniform regulation of these activities by providing that the Department of Transportation — rather than the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, or the Environmental Protection Agency — would be the responsible government authority.

The notice departs from the specific recommendations that the American Trucking Associations, National Tank Truck Carriers and other trade associations submitted to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. For example, the original text made clear that the duty to ensure proper loading and unloading was the responsibility of the facility operator (i.e., shipper or consignee). The notice provides that the “shipper, carrier or facility operator” should assume this responsibility.

Another significant difference is that the notice does not define the term “bulk.” As originally drafted, these procedures were intended to apply to the loading and unloading of tank trucks; however, the proposal appears to apply to anything larger than 119 gallons.

Click here to see a copy of the notice. Comments on the proposal are due by Feb. 8.