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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 #16-0143R

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: Mark Hawk

Location State: TN Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

September 29, 2017
Mark B. Hawk
Packaging Management Council Coordinator
49 Palisades Parkway
Oak Ridge, TN  37830
Reference No. 16-0143R
Dear Mr. Hawk:
This letter revises our March 30, 2017, response to your August 29, 2016, letter in which you requested clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to DOT Specification 7A Type A (Type A) packagings.  Specifically, you ask about changes made to documentation requirements for Type A packagings as a result of the HM-250 final rule (July 11, 2014; 79 FR 40596).
We have paraphrased and answered your questions as follows:
Q1.      You ask if an offeror may satisfy the requirements of § 173.415(a)(1)(i) by documenting a “good faith effort” to obtain missing elements of the test documentation information for Type A packagings that were in existence prior to the changes made under the HM-250 final rule if they prove to be unobtainable.
A1.      The answer is no.  No provisions in the HMR state that a “good faith effort” may serve as a substitute for compliance with HMR requirements.
Q2.      You ask if an offeror may use other (non-testing) methods in accordance with § 173.461 to provide the missing testing documentation information required by § 173.415(a)(1)(i) for existing Type A packagings that had been subjected to the physical tests of § 173.465.
A2.      The answer is yes.  For demonstration of compliance, the HMR permit the use of non-testing methods in § 173.461.
Q3.      You ask if it was PHMSA’s intent in HM-250 to require retroactive retesting of Type A packagings that had already successfully passed testing under § 173.415(a)(1)(i).
A3.      PHMSA’s intent was to hold all Type A packaging documentation to the same requirements.  PHMSA allowed for a transition period for the new documentation requirements with a compliance date of January 1, 2017, instead of the July 13, 2015, compliance date for the rest of the HM-250 rule changes, to provide additional time to upgrade documentation for older packagings.  This does not necessarily entail retroactive testing if documentation gaps can be addressed by other means, as allowed under § 173.415(a)(1)(ii) and specified in § 173.461.
Q4.      You ask if PHMSA would limit the scope of § 173.415(a)(1)(i) to packagings constructed and tested after January 1, 2017, or for advice on the best way to achieve relief from paragraph (a)(1)(i) when one or more elements therein are found to be unobtainable for existing previously tested Type A packagings.
A4.      The documentation requirements are not limited to packagings that were constructed and tested after January 1, 2017.  All Type A packagings that are offered for shipment after January 1, 2017, must meet the documentation provisions required by HM‑250.  Elements of the documentation requirements in § 173.415 may be supplemented by providing a detailed analysis as described in § 173.415(a)(1)(ii).  If any elements of the documentation requirements cannot be fulfilled by analysis, then additional testing may be required.
I hope this information is helpful.  Please contact us if we can be of further assistance.
Dirk Der Kinderen
Chief, Standards Development Branch
Standards and Rulemaking Division
173.415(a)(1)(i), 173.461, 173.415(a)(1)(ii), 173.465

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.415 Authorized Type A packages
173.461 Demonstration of compliance with tests
173.465 Type A packaging tests