PHMSA Issues Clarifications and Editorial Corrections Docket
On December 21, 2020, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) published a final rulemaking making numerous editorial corrections and clarifications to the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR). The intended effect of the final rule is to enhance accuracy and reduce misunderstandings in the regulations. This final rule does not introduce any new requirements and is effective on January 20, 2021.


The largest change PHMSA made to the HMR is the use of the term movement. Throughout the HMR, “movement” is used to describe a change in position or “shifting” of a package or its contents.

However, the HMR define “movement” as the physical transfer of hazardous material from one geographic location to another by rail car, aircraft, motor vehicle, or vessel. This definition makes the use of the term “movement” not appropriate when prescribing requirements for handling or stowage of packages.

PHMSA is replacing the term “movement” with “shifting” or “motion” as appropriate wherever the term is used concerning handling or stowage of packagings.

Numerous additional changes were made to the HMR including:

·     Revising the definition of reportable quantity in § 171.8 to include a reference to Appendix A of § 172.101 and the appropriate columns in Tables 1 and 2;

·     Numerous corrections to entries in the § 172.101 Hazardous Materials Table;

·     Correcting metric conversion to US standard units throughout the regulations;

·     Removing expired transition dates from § 172.446, § 173.27, § 173.121; and

·     Updating the FAA contact information for reporting discrepancies in hazardous materials incidents in § 175.31.