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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Interpretation Response #00-0280 ([Transportation Consulting Services] [Mr. Andrew C. Rymer])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Transportation Consulting Services

Individual Name: Mr. Andrew C. Rymer

Location State: MD Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

April 5, 2001

Mr. Andrew C. Rymer                Ref. No. 00-0280
Transportation Consulting Services
Post Office Box 592
Fulton, MD 20759

Dear Mr. Rymer:

This responds to your letter requesting clarification on the term Aimmediate access@ as used in § 172.604 of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180).

As provided by § 172.604 a person who offers a hazardous material for transportation must provide an emergency response telephone number.  It must be the number of a person who is either knowledgeable of the hazardous material being shipped and has comprehensive emergency response and incident mitigation information for that material, or has immediate access to a person who possesses such knowledge and information.  You are correct that the term "immediate access" is not defined in the HMR.  However, the term is intended to indicate that the emergency response information must be provided to a responder with no undue delay.  Clearly, a few minutes may lapse during a telephone call while the person answering the emergency response phone number locates specific information on a particular product or contacts a person to provide such information.  However, any delay longer than a few minutes would be unacceptable, as would any delay involving call-back, such as would be necessary if the person answering the emergency response telephone number had to use a pager to contact someone with the specific knowledge about the product in question.

We are aware of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) Information Notice 92-62 that was issued to increase awareness that licensees must be prepared to respond promptly with the information needed, when called.  The NRC provided its opinion that emergency responders would want or expect that this information be provided within 15 minutes.  It is our opinion that an emergency responder would want the information as quickly as possible and that, in many if not most hazardous materials transportation response situations, a delay of 15 minutes would be unacceptable.

I hope this information is helpful.


Edward T. Mazzullo
Director, Office of Hazardous
Materials Standards


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
172.604 Emergency response telephone number