PHMSA sets public meeting on hazmat/GHS labeling issues

Oct. 25, 2016

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration (PHMSA) is hosting a public meeting on November 15 to ask US stakeholders what regulatory issues need to be addressed at the international level.

For the tank truck industry, the most important issue is likely to be conflicts between the Global Harmonized System for Hazard Communication (GHS) and the US hazardous materials regulations.  In the United States, the GHS is administered by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) while the HMRs are administered by PHMSA. 

OSHA had been attempting to require GHS labels on tank trailers during transport, even though they were not required by the HMRs. Through previous National Tank Truck Carriers advocacy, OSHA and PHMSA have come to an agreement that the use of GHS labels while tank trailers are in transport is purely voluntary and is not required. At the international meeting, PHMSA will attempt to change the international model regulations to ensure that no future conflicts between GHS and the hazmat regulations can arise.

Although attendees can suggest other topics, PHMSA has asked that pre-meeting attendees address the following topics of interest to the tank trucking industry:

• Conflicts between the GHS and the hazmat regulations;

• Transport of gases;

• Countries adopting the model regulations in whole—which would eliminate the ‘combustible’ placarding system in the US; and

• Other proposals for changes.

“National Tank Truck Carriers representatives will be at the meeting to advocate that PHMSA push to solve the GHS-hazmat regulation conflicts at the global level,” says Boyd Stephenson, NTTC senior vice-president of government affairs. “We will also advocate against attempts to remove the combustible placarding designation and replace it with the more extensive flammable liquids requirements. NTTC members are also welcome to join the discussion, either in person or via conference call. Carriers that wish to do so can register online. Carriers that prefer having NTTC carry their concerns can contact me at [email protected].”