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Interpretation Response #11-0140 ([Law Office of Seaton & Husk, L.P.] [Mr. Henry E. Seaton Esq.])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Law Office of Seaton & Husk, L.P.

Individual Name: Mr. Henry E. Seaton Esq.

Location State: VA Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

November 2, 2011



Mr. Henry E. Seaton Esq.

Law Office of Seaton & Husk, L.P.

2240 Gallows Road

Vienna, VA 22182

Reference No.: 11-0140

Dear Mr. Seaton:

This responds to your June 8, 2011 letter requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to the definition of a hazardous material employee. You reference a March 29, 2011 (Reference No. 11-0029) letter in which the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) determined that if a broker of transportation services performs any of the hazmat functions the person would be considered a hazmat employee under the HMR. In your scenario, your law firm represents a number of transactional property brokers licensed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to arrange transportation for compensation pursuant to 49 CFR 371. On occasion, these clients are asked to arrange for the transportation of hazardous materials as defined by 49 CFR 171.8. You ask whether a transactional property broker meets the definition of a hazardous materials employee who requires hazardous material training.

As specified in § 171.1, the HMR govern the safe transportation of hazardous materials in intrastate, interstate and foreign commerce. Generally, a "hazmat employee" is any person who is employed on a full-time, part-time, or temporary basis and who, in the course of such employment, directly affects hazardous materials safety. (See § 171.8 for the complete definitions of "hazmat employee" and "hazmat employer.") In other words, a person who performs duties that are regulated under the HMR is considered to be a hazmat employee. A broker is considered a "hazmat employee" under § 171.8 if he or she performs a function of an offeror or carrier. Functions of an offeror include, but are not limited to: selection of the packaging for a hazardous material; physical transfer of the hazardous materials to a carrier; classifying hazardous materials; preparing shipping papers; reviewing shipping papers to verify compliance with the HMR or international equivalents; signing hazardous materials certifications on shipping papers; placing hazardous materials markings or placards on vehicles or packages; and providing placards to a carrier.

In addition, a carrier is defined in § 171.8 to mean a person who transports passengers or property in commerce by rail car, aircraft, motor vehicle, or vessel. If what you describe in your letter as a "broker of transportation services" does not perform any of these functions, this person would not be considered a "hazmat employee" under the HMR, and would not be required to have hazardous material training.

I hope 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

171.8, 171.1

Regulation Sections

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