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Interpretation Response #00-0132 ([Dow Chemical Canada, Inc.] [Mr. Phil Stewart])

Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Dow Chemical Canada, Inc.

Individual Name: Mr. Phil Stewart

Country: CA

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

October 18, 2000

Mr. Phil Stewart                Ref. No. 00-0132

Dow Chemical Canada, Inc.

1425 Vidal Street South

Sarnia, Ontario


Dear Mr. Stewart:

This is in response to your request concerning the attendance requirements for loading and unloading of a cargo tank motor vehicle under 177.834(i) of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180).  Your questions are paraphrased and answered as follows:

Scenario 1:

A cargo tank arrives at our unloading rack.  The motive power remains connected.  The cargo tank is unloaded into a storage tank, tank farm or processing unit by our plant personnel.

Q1.      Is the cargo tank considered to be "in transportation"?  If so, do all the unloading attendance requirements apply, including the requirement that personnel remain within 25 feet of the tank during the entire offloading operation?

Al.        Yes, if the carrier's obligation to transport the hazardous material is not yet fulfilled, the cargo tank is still "in transportation." All unloading requirements of the HMR apply.  As provided by §177.834(i)(2), a carrier's obligation to ensure attendance during unloading ceases, and transportation ends, when: (1) the carrier's obligation for transporting the material is fulfilled; (2) the cargo tank is placed on the consignee's premises; and (3) the motive power has been removed from the premises.  Because the unloading is regulated under the HMR, due to the carrier's continuing presence, facility personnel must comply with the applicable unloading in &se177.834. As provided by §173.30, a person who unloads hazardous materials from a cargo tank motor vehicle must comply with the applicable unloading requirements of Part 177; i.e., §177.834. Therefore, under scenario 1, plant personnel who perform the unloading function must comply with the attendance requirements in §177.834.

You provided other alternative scenarios, some where the motive power remained and some where the motive power was removed.  If the carrier has no further obligation, as determined under § 177.834(i)(2), then the attendance requirements do not apply to anyone.  If the carrier still has an obligation, the attendance requirements then apply to whoever unloads.

Scenario 2:

A cargo tank motor vehicle operated by a motor carrier arrives at our loading rack.  The motive power remains connected.  The cargo tank is loaded from our storage tanks by our plant personnel.

Q2.      Is the tank considered to be "in transportation"?

A2.      Yes. As provided by §177.834(i)(1), a cargo tank must be attended by a qualified person at all times when it is being loaded.  The person who is responsible for loading the cargo tank is also responsible for ensuring that it is attended.  A person is "qualified" if he has been made aware of the nature of the hazardous material which is to be loaded or unloaded, he has been instructed on the procedures to be followed in emergencies, he is authorized to move the cargo tank, and he has the means to do so. (See §177,834(i)(4)).

Q3.      Is the tank considered to be "in transportation" if the motive power is removed?

A3.      No. A cargo tank removed from its motive power on private property is not considered to be in transportation.  Therefore, if a motor carrier delivers a cargo tank to a shipper,

disconnects the motive power and leaves the premises, the person loading the cargo tank is not responsible for ensuring attendance as provided by §177.834(i)(1).

You also stated that your plant sites have no public access and that the loading and unloading racks have fully automated electronic monitoring capabilities that can be controlled from control rooms and that can be manually operated if the automated process malfunctions.  The HMR currently do not provide for the use of an automated monitoring system, in lieu of direct human intervention, for the loading and unloading-of cargo tanks in transportation.  However, you may wish to seek authorization to use an automated monitoring system by submitting an application for exemption in accordance with the procedures in §107.105. I have enclosed for your information copies of three Federal Register publications on the attendance requirements.

I hope this information is helpful.


Hattie L. Mitchell

Chief, Regulatory Review and Reinvention

Office of Hazardous Materials Standards


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
177.834 General requirements