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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 #06-0117 ([Manager of Technical Services] [Mr. Lon D. Santis])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Manager of Technical Services

Individual Name: Mr. Lon D. Santis

Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

Aug 24, 2006

 

Mr. Lon D. Santis                 Reference No. 06-0117
Manager of Technical Services
Institute of Makers of Explosives
1120 Nineteenth Street, NW
Suite 310
Washington, DC 20036-3605

Dear Mr. Santis:

This responds to your May 18, 2006 letter regarding the description of Class I materials on a shipping paper in accordance with the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CER parts 171-180). Your questions relate to the requirement for the shipping paper to include the net explosive mass (NEM) of the article being transported. Your questions are paraphrased and answered below.

Q1. The HMR appear to require shipping papers to list the NEM as a whole number. For an article containing less than one kilogram total NEM, may the NEM be expressed as “less than one kg” rather than the actual NEM?

Al.No. As provided in § 172.202(a)(5)(i), for an explosive article, the quantity shown on a shipping paper may be expressed in terms of the net mass of the article or the net mass of the explosive substance in the article. The HMR do not require the quantity to be expressed in whole numbers; indeed, the NEM should be s accurate as possible. Thus, for an article containing less than one kilogram NEM, the NEM indicated on the shipping paper must be either the net mass of the article itself or the net mass of the explosive material in the article.

Q2. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) uses a general standard of 0.7 grams of explosive material per detonator to calculate the quantity distance requirements for explosives storage (27 CFR 555.218, Note (3)1) Consistent with the ATF regulations, may the NEM for a detonator containing not more than two grams NEM be expressed as “1 gram” rather than the actual NEM?

A2. No. Transportation of hazardous materials poses certain risks that are not present when materials are stored. Your suggested approach has the potential to underestimate the actual hazard of the article because an estimate rather than a known quantity is used to express NEM. Such errors may be more critical in transportation where exposure to hazards is greater, which increases the risk to the public, transportation workers, and emergency response personnel. For this reason, we do not agree that standards applicable to the storage of explosives outside of transportation should be applied in a transportation scenario. For a detonator, the NEM must be either the net mass of the detonator itself or the net mass of the explosive material in the detonator.

We believe the option provided in the HMR allowing a shipper to express the NEM on a shipping paper in terms of the net mass of the article or the net mass of the explosive material contained in the article provides flexibility for the regulated community and has worked well for transportation. It allows a conservative estimate of explosive mass unless the more precise NEM of the explosive substance in the article, which is available from the explosives approval process, is provided. Changing this requirement in the way requested would require a regulatory change or a special permit rather than an interpretation.

I hope this information is helpful. Please contact this Office if you have questions or need additional information.

Sincerely,

Edward T. Mazzullo
Director, Office of Hazardous
  Materials Standards

172.202 (a)(5)(i)

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
172.202 Description of hazardous material on shipping papers