Regulatory Developments

DOT Eases Requirements for Security Plans

March 9, 2010 PRINT

Today the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a final rule narrowing the list of hazardous materials (hazmats) that require security plans when transported in commerce. 75 Fed. Reg. 10974. The rule is effective on October 1, 2010, although voluntary compliance is authorized as of April 8, 2010. The final rule also revises the regulations applicable to the content of and training associated with security plans.

PHMSA's reasons for issuing the revisions center on consistency and harmonization. PHMSA revised the security plan requirements to align them with the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) Highway Security Sensitive Hazardous Materials (HSSHM) program. PHMSA also believes the changes will harmonize its security plan requirements with those of "high consequence dangerous goods" for which enhanced security measures are recommended under the United Nations Model Regulations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods.

Background

Current regulations require persons who offer for transportation or transport certain hazardous materials in commerce to develop and implement security plans. The scope of these existing regulations is broad; they apply to persons who offer for transportation or transport:

  • A highway-route controlled quantity of a Class 7 (radioactive) material;
  • More than 25 kg (55 lbs.) of a Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 (explosive) material;
  • More than 1 L (1.06 qt.) per package of a material poisonous by inhalation in Hazard Zone A;
  • A shipment in a bulk packaging with a capacity equal to or greater than 13,248 L (3,500 gallons) for liquids or gases or greater than 13.24 cubic meters (468 cubic feet) for solids;
  • A shipment in other than a bulk packaging of 2,268 kg (5,000 lbs.) gross weight or more of one class of hazardous materials for which placarding is required;
  • A select agent or toxin regulated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under 42 C.F.R. Part 73 or a select agent or toxin regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture under 9 C.F.R. Part 121; or
  • A shipment that requires placarding.

A security plan must include an assessment of possible transportation security risks and appropriate measures to address the assessed risks. Specific measures implemented as part of the plan may vary with the level of threat at a particular time. At a minimum, the security plan must address personnel security, unauthorized access, and en route security. For personnel security, the plan must include measures to confirm information provided by job applicants for positions involving access to and handling of the hazardous materials covered by the plan. For unauthorized access, the plan must include measures to address the risk of unauthorized persons gaining access to materials or transport conveyances being prepared for transportation. For en route security, the plan must include measures to address security risks during transportation, including the security of shipments stored temporarily en route to their destinations.

Revisions to the List of Hazmats Subject to Security Plan Requirements

The rule removes the security plan requirements for some materials and increases the threshold above which the plans are required for several classes of hazmats. For example, for several of the hazmat categories subject to current security plan requirements, the revisions now will trigger security plans only when the hazmats are transported in "large bulk quantity." This phrase is defined as a quantity greater than 3,000 kg (6,614 pounds) for solids or 3,000 liters (792 gallons) for liquids or gases in a single packaging, such as a cargo tank, portable tank, tank car, or other bulk container.

One of the most significant changes impacts Class 9 hazardous materials (miscellaneous hazmats). Current regulations require security plans for Class 9 materials transported in a bulk packaging with a capacity equal to or greater than 3,500 gallons for liquids or gases, or greater than 468 cubic feet for solids. The final rule completely eliminates existing security plan requirements for Class 9 materials. Another major change narrows the scope of Class 8 (corrosive) hazardous materials that are subject to security plan requirements. The existing standards require security plans for placarded shipments of Class 8 materials in all packing groups (Packing Groups I, II, and III). The final rule now triggers security plan requirements only for Class 8, Packing Group I corrosive materials shipped in a large bulk quantity.

The following table lists the changes to the scope of the security plan requirements.

Hazard Class Current Threshold Revised Threshold
1.1 (Explosives with a Mass Explosion Hazard) Any Quantity No Change
1.2 (Explosives with a Blast/Projection Hazard) Any Quantity No Change
1.3 (Explosives with a Minor Blast Hazard) Any Quantity No Change
1.4 (Explosives with a Major Fire Hazard) A Quantity Requiring Placarding No Change
1.5 (Blasting Agents) A Quantity Requiring Placarding No Change
1.6 (Extremely Insensitive Explosives) A Quantity Requiring Placarding No Change
2.1 (Flammable Gas) A Quantity Requiring Placarding A Large Bulk Quantity*
2.2 (Non-Flammable Gas) A Quantity Requiring Placarding A Large Bulk Quantity* of Materials with an Oxidizer Subsidiary Hazard
2.3 (Poison Gas) Any Quantity No Change
3 (Flammable Liquids) A Quantity Requiring Placarding Packing Groups I and II in a Large Bulk Quantity* or Placarded Quantity of Desensitized Explosives
4.1 (Flammable Solids) A Quantity Requiring Placarding Placarded Quantity of Desensitized Explosives
4.2 (Spontaneously Combustible Solids) A Quantity Requiring Placarding Packing Groups I and II in a Large Bulk Quantity*
4.3 (Dangerous When Wet) Any Quantity No Change
5.1 (Oxidizing Agent) A Quantity Requiring Placarding Packing Groups I and II, and Packing Group III perchlorates, ammonium nitrate, ammonium nitrate fertilizers, or ammonium nitrate emulsions or suspensions or gels in a large bulk quantity*
5.2 (Organic Peroxide Oxidizing Agent) Any Quantity of Organic Peroxide, Type B, Liquid or Solid, Temperature Controlled No Change
6.1 (Poison) A Quantity Requiring Placarding and Any Quantity of a Poison By Inhalation (PIH) Material Any Quantity PIH or a Large Bulk Quantity* of a Material That Is Not a PIH
6.2 (Infectious or Biohazardous) CDC or USDA List of Select Agents No Change
7 (Radioactive Materials) Shipments Requiring Yellow III Label; Highway Route Controlled Quantity Specified Radioactive Materials
8 (Corrosive Materials) A Quantity Requiring Placarding Packing Group I in a Large Bulk Quantity
9 (Miscellaneous Materials) Capacity >3,500 gallons for liquid/gas; Volumetric capacity of >468 cubic feet for solids Not Subject to Security Plan Requirements

* This phrase is defined as a quantity greater than 3,000 kg (6,614 pounds) for solids or 3,000 liters (792 gallons) for liquids or gases in a single packaging, such as a cargo tank, portable tank, tank car, or other bulk container.

Revisions to Security Plan Requirements

In addition to the changes to the applicability of security plans, the PHMSA amendments are intended to clarify and enhance current security requirements.

  • Site-Specific/Location-Specific Requirements -- The revisions clarify that shippers and carriers must consider site-specific risks and vulnerabilities at facilities subject to the security planning requirement.
  • Identification, Duties, and Training -- The rule requires that the security plan identify, by job title, the senior management official responsible for the overall development and implementation of the plan. It also requires that the security plan include security duties for each position or department that is responsible for the plan's implementation and the process for notifying employees when specific elements of the security plan must be implemented. and responsibility for compliance with security plan requirements.
  • Security Assessment in Writing -- Existing regulations require that a security plan include an assessment of possible transportation security risks associated with the hazardous materials covered by the security plan and appropriate measures to address the identified security risks. The final rule clarifies these requirements.
  • Annual Review -- The revisions require that security plans be reviewed and, if necessary, updated annually.

 
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