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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 #14-0034 ([Lighter Association, Inc.] [Mr. David H. Baker])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Lighter Association, Inc.

Individual Name: Mr. David H. Baker

Location State: DC Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

March 25, 2014

David H. Baker, Esq.
General Counsel
Lighter Association, Inc.
1701 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Suite 300
Washington, D.C.  20006

Ref. No.: 14-0034

Dear Mr. Baker:

This responds to your February 19, 2014 letter and previous conversations with members of my staff requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to lighters.  In your letter, you describe a difficulty in attempting to comply with the shipping paper and marking requirements in §§ 173.308(d) and (e).  According to your letter, you state that:

A lighter company must place each and every lighter design report identifier on the outer package for the shipment.  In the case of many companies, this means that they must place 20 or more LAAs on the outer packaging.  This is extremely cumbersome as there is only so much room on the corrugated box used for these shipments.  In addition, companies are routinely adding new lighters to their product line, and, therefore, new LAA numbers must be added regularly to the packaging.  Hence, boxes must be thrown out and new boxes ordered, with the new LAA number added.

Additionally, you summarize three alternatives informally discussed with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) staff that could satisfy these requirements for lighters.  These alternatives are paraphrased below:

1. Place all of the LAA numbers for the company on each box and simply place whatever lighter was being shipped in the box.  
2. Place every LAA number on the box with little boxes (squares) next to the approval number and check off exactly what lighters are in the box by manually putting a check mark in the applicable square.
3. Place the predominant approval numbers on the outer packaging.  If a lighter company sold twenty lighters, they could place the approval number for the five predominant lighters on the outer packaging.

Finally, you ask PHMSA to allow the outer packaging and shipping papers for approved lighters to be marked as follows (in lieu of the current HMR requirements provided in §§ 173.308(d) and (e)):

LIGHTERS: In compliance with 49 Part 173.308

Paragraph (d) of § 173.308 prescribes the shipping paper and package marking requirements for lighters.  Prior to publication on January 23, 2006 [71 FR 3418] of the final rule entitled “Hazardous Materials: Requirements for Lighters and Lighter Refills,” under Docket No. RSPA-2004-18795 (HM-237), the previous shipping paper and marking requirements required packages of lighters to be marked and shipping papers to be annotated with the approval numbers assigned by PHMSA.  After the January 1, 2007 effective date of the     HM-237 final rule, we instead require the identification code and test report identifier to be annotated on a shipping paper, in association with the basic description, and marked on a package, for all designs contained therein.

The consistency in pertinent information is important, as the shipping paper notation and package marking requirements enable enforcement personnel to identify the person who tested and approved the lighters for transportation should they identify a problem with the shipment.  

In paragraph (e) of § 173.308, we continue to allow the exception from Subparts C through H of Part 172, and Part 177, for no more than 1,500 lighters carried aboard a transport vehicle by highway.  This exception allows for the use of non-specification outer packaging meeting the general requirements of Subpart B of Part 173.  This paragraph does not, however, contain an exception from marking the test report identifier on the outer package because of the potential for transportation by common or contract carriage.  In all cases, the test report identifier marking is the only information available to enforcement personnel and carriers to identify the types of lighters that are contained in a package and to ascertain whether the lighters have been examined in accordance with the HMR.  Distributors should be aware of the test report identifiers for each design type in their inventory.  

We agree that marking the outside of the packaging may impose a burden on distributors.  At the same time, we maintain our belief that some record of the test report identifiers for lighters transported in a package must be available to enforcement personnel and carriers during transportation.  Therefore, we cannot authorize the fourth alternative you requested.  Nonetheless, to alleviate the possible burden on distributors, we do allow a list of test report identifiers to be included inside, or attached to the outside of a package as a means of complying with the requirement.

If you believe a rulemaking change, such as a revision, addition, or deletion is warranted, we invite you to file a petition in accordance with §§ 106.95, 106.100 and 106.105 of the HMR, including all information needed to support your petition.  Your request will be further evaluated for merit to address in an upcoming rulemaking.  For regulations in 49 CFR Parts 171 through 180, please submit the petition to: Standards and Rulemaking Division, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, PHH-10, U.S. Department of Transportation, East Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, Washington, DC 20590-0001.  Please contact Mr. Steven Andrews in the Regulatory Review and Reinvention Branch of the Standards and Rulemaking Division at 202-366-8553 for more information.

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


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.308 Lighters