On Dec. 28, 2012, ACA submitted data and comments to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) on its Incident Reporting system. PHMSA sought comments from industry as the agency conducts an assessment to improve the collection, analysis, reporting and use of data related to accidents and incidents involving the transportation of hazardous materials.It is important to note that this is not the opening of a new rulemaking docket.
ACA comments focused on the mechanism which provides incident data, the 5800 Form and its instructions, making recommendations on the very long list of codes and definitions, and urged PHMSA tofocus its resources in order to collect data that is meaningful, useful, reliable and consistent; that is, the collection of essential data that can help eliminate or reduce the risk of causing harm to people, property and the environment when transporting dangerous goods. Toward that end, ACA urged PHMSA to focus on higher risk incidents. Shipments of small quantities of Class 9 and Class 3 (PG II and PG III) paints, printing inks and adhesives present little or nominal risk of injury or harm and should be excepted from this program, ACA argued.
Under the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), PHMSA is required to conduct an assessment to improve the incident reporting system.
The incident reporting system and its requirements are important to the paint and coatings industry. PHMSA not only collects incident data but they also publish it. For many years, paint (UN 1263) has been the commodity with one of the highest number of incidents. PHMSA uses this data for a variety of reasons, including evaluating regulatory effectiveness, identifying risk areas, charting trends, and evaluating packagings, to target enforcement and fitness evaluations for special permits. Other organizations use this data as well. Several years ago, the National Motor Freight Traffic Association used the incident report summaries to argue that the freight classification of paint should be revamped, and while we were able to delay this action for almost four years, this higher freight classification was ultimately adopted. Currently, regulated paint now ships at a much higher classification than it used to ship.
Specifically, ACA maintained thatsmall containers of low risk dangerous goods like PG II or PG III Class 3 flammable liquids and those materials now classified as a Class 9 material due to the UN Globally Harmonized System (GHS) criteria for environmentally hazardous substances, such as paint, pose minimal risk in transportation when shipped by highway or sea. In addition, the financial implications of these low risk incidents are typically minimal.
In 2010, two petitions for rulemaking were submitted to PHMSA requesting broader exceptions for small quantity, low risk shipments. One of the petitions, submitted by ACA, sought an exemption from the incident reporting requirements for small quantity shipments of PG II paint — an exemption that had previously existed in the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) until a 2004 amendment; and the other petition, submitted by the American Trucking Association, seeks to broaden the exception for Class 3 Flammable Liquids. ACA incorporated its petition as part of its comment under MAP-21, and encouraged PHMSA to move forward aggressively to open a new rulemaking docket to except small quantities of paint and paint-related materials from the DOT Form 5800.