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Notice of Probable Violation of the HMR Issued to Charleston, SC Company by the PHMSA – $9,600 Fine Possible

Notice of Probable Violation of the HMR Issued to Charleston, SC Company by the PHMSA – $9,600 Fine Possible

On February 26, 2013 the Office of Chief Counsel of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) alleged that Hagemeyer North America of Charleston, SC violated two provisions of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR).

On August 23, 2012 a PHMSA investigator conducted a compliance inspection at the company’s facility in Pelham, AL which is a DOT-approved cylinder requalifying test facility.  It performs requalification of DOT high pressure 3A, 3AA, and 3AL cylinders through hydrostatic testing.  It also ships class 2 Compressed Gases and 3 Flammable and Combustible Liquids hazardous materials via highway on its own trucks and by commercial carriers.

The violations noted on August 23, 2012 were:
  1. Failure to condemn DOT-SP 9634 cylinders that showed permanent expansion in excess of the 5% limit prescribed by Section 7(b) of DOT-SP 9634, in violation of 49 CFR 171.2(a), (c), (g), and (j), §180.205(b), and §180.205(i)(1)(vii, and DOT-SP 9634.
  2. Failure to comply with the testing requirements of DOT-SP 11194 and maintain test records in accordance with 49 CFR 180.215(b)(2), in violation of §171.2(a), (c), (g), & (j), §180.3(a), §180.205(b) & (c), §180.215(b)(2), and DOT-SP 11194, §7(b)(2).

Read the full Notice of Probable Violation here.

On their own, these violations are rather obscure and wouldn’t be of interest to most shippers of hazardous materials.  What caught my eye was the inclusion of the facility’s special permits (DOT-SP 9634 & DOT-SP 11194) listed with the violations of the HMR.  What is a special permit and why must a company that certifies compressed gas cylinders for reuse comply with one?  A special permit (formerly known as an exemption) allows a person to operate in a manner not allowed by the HMR.  It functions as an alternative to the HMR and has requirements of its own that must be complied with at the risk of violations and fines – that appears to be the case here.

You can learn more about Special Permits and other US DOT exceptions to the HMR here:  Special Permits, Exemptions, Approvals, and Exceptions to the Hazardous Material Regulations of the US DOT.

If you are involved in any stage of the design, manufacture, testing, marking, reconditioning, etc. of a packaging used for hazardous materials, then you are a HazMat Employer and you must provide initial and triennial training for your HazMat Employees.  If your operations require the use of Special Permits, then the training must include the requirements of the Special Permit for applicable personnel.  I provide this training and can do so for you for one low, flat fee.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me for a free consultation of your training needs.