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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 #04-0218 ([Mr. Walter J. Pociask])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name:

Individual Name: Mr. Walter J. Pociask

Location State: MI Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

Oct 26, 2004


Mr. Walter J. Pociask                Reference. No. 04-0218
21833 Knudsen Drive
Grosse Ile, MI 48138-1320

Dear Mr. Pociask:

This is in response to your September 2, 2004 letter requesting clarification of the applicability of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180). Specifically, you ask if your lab packs are under the sole jurisdiction of the HMR when hazmat employees start filling hazardous materials packagings (i.e., performing pre-transportation functions).

On October 30, 2003, the Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA, we) published a final rule under Docket HM-223 entitled “Applicability of the Hazardous Materials Regulations to Loading, Unloading, and Storage.” The HM-223 final rule clarifies the applicability of the HMR to specific functions and activities, including hazardous materials loading and unloading operations and storage of hazardous materials during transportation. The final rule codifies in the HMR long-standing policies and interpretations concerning the applicability of the regulations to specific functions and operations. We initiated the rulemaking to better define the applicability of the HMR to loading, unloading, and storage operations at fixed facilities and to clarify the relationships among Federal, State, local, and tribal agencies involved in the regulation of hazardous materials. To this end, the final rule discusses the relationship of the HMR to worker protection regulations promulgated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and environmental protection regulations issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In addition, the final rule discusses preemption provisions contained in the Federal hazardous materials transportation law (Federal hazmat law; 49 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.).

As explained in the HM-223 final rule, pre-transportation functions are functions performed to prepare a hazardous material for transportation in commerce. Pre-transportation functions include activities such as determining a material’s hazard class; selecting a packaging; filling and closing a packaging; marking and labeling a package; preparing shipping papers and emergency response information; and selecting and affixing placards.

The Federal hazmat law does not preempt other Federal statutes nor does it preempt regulations issued by other Federal agencies to implement statutorily authorized programs. Facilities at which pre-transportation functions are performed, therefore, may be subject to EPA regulations governing risk management; community right-to-know; hazardous waste tracking and disposal; and spill prevention, control and countermeasures. Concerning your specific question, a facility that performs both hazardous waste management functions and pre-transportation functions must ensure that the functions subject to regulation under the HMR are performed in accordance with the HMR and must also ensure compliance with applicable EPA requirements addressing the environmental concerns associated with the hazardous waste management functions at the facility. Specific questions concerning the applicability of EPA hazardous waste management regulations to your facility, including questions concerning long-term storage permits and satellite accumulation areas, should be directed to the appropriate EPA office.

I hope this information is helpful. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact this office.



Hattie L. Mitchell
Chief, Regulatory Review and Reinvention
Off ice of Hazardous Materials Standards

171.1, 171.8

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
171.1 Applicability of Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) to persons and functions
171.8 Definitions and abbreviations