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FAQs: Walking HazMat Across the Street. Is it Regulated Transportation?

FAQs: Walking HazMat Across the Street. Is it Regulated Transportation?

(9.28.15) A question from a site where I had provided Onsite HazMat Employee training in September 2014:

Dan,

A question came up while we were conducting training. We have employees that fill small containers of fresh acid in the lab and then walk across the street to the where the acid will be used. Would the person transporting the container be required to attend the DOT training?

My response later that day (9.28.15):

No. For two reasons:

  • First, the act of walking is not identified by PHMSA/USDOT as transportation and thus is not subject to the Hazardous Material Regulations.  At 49 CFR 171.8 Transportation is defined as:

Transportation or transport means the movement of property and loading, unloading, or storage incidental to that movement.

So, transportation is movement but it doesn’t specify how, so it’s possible that walking is regulated as transportation.  However, 49 CFR 171.1(c)(1) describes regulated transportation of a hazardous material as including:

Movement of a hazardous material by rail car, aircraft, motor vehicle, or vessel…

And, movement is defined at 49 CFR 171.8 as:

Movement means the physical transfer of a hazardous material from one geographic location to another by rail car, aircraft, motor vehicle, or vessel.

Therefore, the act of walking, even if transporting a hazardous material, is not subject to the HMR.

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  • Secondly, I am not certain to which of your facilities you are referring (they have two) but if it is an internal “street” and the HazMat doesn’t leave your property, then it is not subject to the HMR which applies to transportation in commerce on a public roadway.  Again, 49 CFR 171.8 defines movement as the transfer of a HazMat from one geographic location to another (see above), which would not include its transfer within a contiguous property.

Further, 49 CFR 171.1(d) identifies activities that are exempt from the HMR as including:

Rail and motor vehicle movements of a hazardous material exclusively within a contiguous facility boundary where public access is restricted, except to the extent that the movement is on or crosses a public road or is on track that is part of the general railroad system of transportation, unless access to the public road is restricted by signals, lights, gates, or similar controls.

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So, the movement of a hazardous material – even if by motor vehicle – is not subject to the HMR if the movement takes place within a contiguous facility boundary where public access is restricted, i.e. is on private property.

I hope this helps.

Thanks

Dan

It doesn’t matter to me whether you’re a past customer, future customer, or no customer at all!  I’m happy to answer your questions about the transportation of hazardous materials.