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Interpretation Response #10-0010 ([B&W Pantex, LLC] [Mr. Jesse Beyers])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: B&W Pantex, LLC

Individual Name: Mr. Jesse Beyers

Location State: TX Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

October 20, 2011




Mr. Jesse Beyers

Compliance Manager

B&W Pantex, LLC

P.O. Box 30020

Amarillo, TX 79120

Ref. No. 10-0010

Dear Mr. Beyers:

This responds to your letter requesting clarification of the packaging requirements for certain Division 1.4S explosive articles under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180). I apologize for the delay in responding and any inconvenience it may have caused. You ask several related questions that are paraphrased and answered as follows:

Q1. For Division 1.4, Compatibility Group S explosive substance or articles, is the classification assignment always packaging-dependent?

A1. Not always. Generally, the assignment of Compatibility Group S to an explosive substance or article is based on the results of certain tests conducted on the completed package as intended for transportation. However, some substances and articles of Division 1.4 are conditionally assigned to Compatibility Group S based on authorized formulations or manufacturing criteria and are not packaging dependent for their classification. If there is a note in the EX-Approval which assigns the packaging, then it is packaging-dependent.

Q2. If a Compatibility Group S assignment for a Division 1.4 substance or article is packaging-dependent for its classification, what methods are available to ensure any alternative form of packaging other than what was originally tested maintains the same level of performance?

A2. The packaging specified in the approval note is the only packaging authorized. A change in packaging would require a new laboratory examination.

Q3. For a Division 1.4 explosive substance or article conditionally authorized assignment to Compatibility Group S by the manufacturer without testing to determine its classification, how is the required packaging selected for such materials?

A3. Provided the classification or compatibility group assignment of an explosive substance or article is not packaging-dependent (i.e., no packaging note is in the approval specifying the packaging), any authorized packaging in the packing method for the substance or article specified in the § 173.62(c) Table of Packing Methods may be used. Unless otherwise excepted in the HMR, the packaging design used to package the substance or article must be examined by the laboratory with inner packagings of similar size, mass and density as the substance or article to be packaged for transportation at the Packing Group II performance level.

Q4. An explosive manufacturer receives approval from the Associate Administrator for an article classed as a Division 1.4S. Is it then permissible for a third party to test the article in a different packaging design authorized under § 173.62 and submit an approval request to the Associate Administrator on its own?

A4. If the original approval for the article includes a specific packaging configuration when its classification is packaging-dependent, the answer is yes, but the laboratory must examine and recommend it. If approval of an article is not packaging- dependent (i.e., no packaging note is in the approval specifying the packaging), it may be repackaged in any authorized packaging prescribed in § 173.62 for the article that is successfully tested (and documented) to the Packing Group II performance level without further testing or approval.

Q5. In reference to the § 173.52 Table 1 entry for Compatibility Group S, where it states "substance or article is so packed or designed"", if an article meets the definition of Division 1.4S by design (i.e., explosive effects are largely confined within the article itself upon initiation), is the classification assignment of Division 1.4S appropriate for the packaged article regardless of what packagings are used under the referenced packing instruction?

A5. We do not agree with the premise of your question; specifically, that a Division 1.4S article is defined in the HMR as having "explosive effects that are largely confined within the article itself upon initiation." You may be misinterpreting the statement in

§ 173.58(a)(5) that assigns Division 1.4S "if the hazardous effects are confined within the package or the blast and projection effects do not significantly hinder emergency response efforts."

There are numerous identification numbers with Division 1.4S classification that are assigned a corresponding packing instruction in the § 173.62(c) Table of Packing Methods. If the Competent Authority approval letter issued by the Associate Administrator does not provide a packaging note (normally indicated below the product description), then the shipper must select an authorized packaging from the packing instruction assigned to the product in the Competent Authority approval letter. Each of the § 173.62(c) Packing Instructions typically provide a list of authorized inner, intermediate and outer packaging choices. A shipper is not required to have its choice of packaging for such a product examined or approved by the Associate Administrator under this scenario. Further, it is a shipper"s responsibility to ensure that any packaging design used has been successfully tested at the Packing Group II performance level for the maximum gross mass intended to be packaged.

I trust this satisfies your inquiry. Please contact us if we can be of further assistance.


T. Glenn Foster

Chief, Regulatory Review and Reinvention Branch

Standards and Rulemaking Division

173.62, 173.58, 173.52

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.52 Classification codes and compatibility groups of explosives
173.58 Assignment of class and division for new explosives
173.62 Specific packaging requirements for explosives