HazMat Transportation

What Are PHMSA’s Upcoming Research Priorities?

If you are a hazardous materials transportation employer, it is worthwhile to keep an eye on what the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) considers priorities. That way you can focus resources in the direction the agency feels compliance efforts should be targeted. Fortunately, PHMSA recently released a list of hazardous materials transportation research activities upon which it will be focusing its attention in the near future.

PHMSA will be hosting meetings on March 23 and 24, 2016, in Washington, D.C., to present the results of recently completed projects, to brief on new project plans with stakeholders’ input, and to discuss the direction of current and future research projects.

During the meeting, PHMSA’s Office of Hazardous Materials Safety (OHMS) will solicit comments related to new research topics that may be considered for inclusion in its future work. The OHMS will also accept research needs statements from industry, academia, and other stakeholders.

Examples of particular interest to the OHMS are the research gaps associated with energetic materials, STEP, compressed gases, and charged storage devices:

  • Energetic materials characterization and transport–Energetic materials research has to do with explosives, oxygen generators, self-reactive materials, organic peroxides, and fireworks.
  • Safe Transport of Energy Products (STEP)—enhancing the safe transport of crude oil by rail is one of PHMSA’s top priorities.
  • Safe containment and transportation of compressed gases—PHMSA regularly issues advisories concerning compressed gas cylinders that are not operating properly.
  • Safe packaging and transportation of charge storage devices, such as batteries and batteries in products. The recent issues with hoverboards containing lithium batteries catching on fire prompted PHMSA to issue a safety alert. Investigators intercepted 32 cargo containers filled with hoverboards containing lithium batteries that were improperly prepared for shipment as a hazardous material. PHMSA is working with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to further understand the risks that these products pose.

If you want to attend these meetings, PHMSA asks that you preregister by completing the form at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XPG67SN.

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