HM-233D sets new standards for bulk transport of explosives

Dec. 23, 2015

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has amended the Hazardous Materials Regulations by establishing standards for the safe transportation of explosives on cargo tank motor vehicles and multipurpose bulk trucks transporting materials for blasting operations. The HM-233D final rule takes effect January 20, 2016.

This rulemaking was in response to two petitions for rulemaking submitted by industry representatives: P-1557, concerning the continued use of renewal applications, and P-1583, concerning the incorporation of an industry standard publication. PHMSA officials say developing these requirements provides wider access to the regulatory flexibility currently only offered by special permits and competent authorities.

The requirements of this final rule mirror the majority of provisions contained in nine widely-used longstanding special permits that have established safety records. These requirements eliminate the need for future renewal requests, thus reducing paperwork burdens and facilitating commerce while maintaining a commensurate level of safety.

This final rule authorizes the transportation of certain explosives--ammonium nitrates, ammonium nitrate emulsions, and other specific hazardous materials in both non-bulk and bulk packagings, which are not otherwise authorized under current regulations. These hazardous materials are used in blasting operations and carried on cargo tank motor vehicles and specialized vehicles, known as multipurpose bulk trucks, which are used as mobile work platforms to create blends of explosives that are unique to each blast site.

Finally, this rulemaking addresses the construction of new multipurpose bulk trucks. Currently authorized bulk trucks are grandfathered.