Announcements from regulatory agencies of the US Government in the Federal Register can have a profound impact on your business. Therefore it’s important for you to continuously monitor Federal Register publications for announcements applicable to your operations. I can help you to do this.
Sometimes an announcement in the Federal Register calls for a more thorough explanation than just what is conveyed by the headline. That is the point of this article. Here I will briefly summarize, and provide access to more information, on a specific Federal Register announcement: Safety Advisory: Packaging and Handling Ebola Virus Contaminated Infectious Waste for Transportation to Disposal Sites
What agency is making the announcement?
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), one of many administrations within the US Department of Transportation.
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When was this announced in the Federal Register?
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Any other dates I need to know?
What type of action is this?
Safety Advisory Notice
What regulations may be impacted?
The entire HMR.
How is the announcement identified?
Safety Advisory: Packaging and Handling Ebola Virus Contaminated Infectious Waste for Transportation to Disposal Sites Pages 64646 – 64647 [FR DOC # 2014-25778]
I don’t have all day. Can you sum it up for me and I’ll determine if I need to read the whole thing?
It’s a short announcement, a total of three columns on two pages of the Federal Register. For the most part, it states the obvious: “Material contaminated or suspected of being contaminated with Ebola is regulated as a Category A infectious substance under the HMR” and must be packaged accordingly. And, “Ebola contaminated materials that have been appropriately incinerated, autoclaved, or otherwise inactivated are not considered Category A infectious substance and are not subject to the requirements of the HMR.”
It refers to the Government Employee Exemption of the HMR, which means that the transportation of Ebola-contaminated materials for disposal in a motor vehicle, aircraft, or vessel operated by a Federal, state, or local government employee is not subject to the HMR. However, PHMSA recommends compliance with appropriate safety requirements in the HMR when government employees transport Ebola-contaminated materials for disposal.
A special permit may be necessary to provide for a variance from the HMR packaging requirements in order to transport the large volume of contaminated wastes generated during treatment of Ebola patients. One special permit in particular is mentioned: Special Permit DOT-SP 16279. It is a non-site specific special permit issued to certain waste haulers authorizing the transportation for disposal of Ebola-contaminated waste. A waste hauler not yet authorized to use Special Permit DOT-SP 16279 may apply for party status.
What I believe is the greatest contribution of this PHMSA Safety Advisory is the sources of additional information it provides:
- PHMSA Guidance on Transporting Infectious Substances
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on how to handle infectious substances before transporting them
- DOT Guidance for Preparing Packages of Ebola
Contaminated Waste for Transportation and Disposal. Provides guidance for preparing packages containing Ebola-contaminated waste for transportation to off-site treatment and disposal.
- DOT Guidance for Transporting Ebola-Contaminated Items, a Category A Infectious Substance.
Provides common FAQs regarding the
HMR requirements for Category A infectious substances.
- Transporting Infectious Substances Safely. Brochure that explains the HMR for transporting infectious substance.
- Special Permit DOT-SP 16279 provides certain carriers with alternative authorized packaging options for transporting waste contaminated or suspected of being contaminated with the Ebola virus
for treatment and disposal.
- All Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance regarding the Ebola virus.
Where can I look for more information?
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