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PHMSA and OSHA to Host Public Hearings on International Harmonization
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By Christopher R. Bryant

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) on June 6, 2018, announced two public meetings related to the harmonization of transportation and hazard communication standards with international standards.  83 Fed. Reg. 26338.  The first meeting -- led by PHMSA -- will solicit public input on current proposals and items for inclusion in the agenda of the 53rd session of the United Nations Sub-Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (UNSCOE TDG). The second meeting will be spearheaded by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and will focus on preparation for the 35th session of the United Nations (UN) Sub-Committee of Experts on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (UNSCEGHS).  Both meetings will take place on Tuesday, June 12, 2018, at DOT Headquarters, West Building, Oklahoma City Conference Room, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, Washington, D.C. 20590-0001.  The PHMSA meeting is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (EDT) and the OSHA meeting is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (EDT). Registration for the meetings is available online.  DOT and OSHA will also provide conference call-in and Skype meeting capabilities. 

The primary purpose of PHMSA’s meeting is to prepare for the 53rd session of the UNSCOE TDG.  UNSCOE will consider proposals for the 21st Revised Edition of the United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (Model Regulations), which may be implemented into relevant domestic, regional, and international regulations from January 1, 2021.  Topics on the agenda for the UNSCOE TDG meeting include:

  • Explosives and related matters;
  • Listing, classification, and packing;
  • Electric storage systems;
  • Transport of gases;
  • Global harmonization of regulations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods with the Model Regulations;
  • Guiding principles for the Model Regulations;
  • Cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency;
  • New proposals for amendments to the Model Regulations;
  • Issues relating to the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS); and
  • Miscellaneous issues.

OSHA’s meeting will focus on preparation for the 35th session of the UNSCEGHS.  It will provide interested groups and individuals with an update on GHS-related issues, as well as solicit input on the development of U.S. positions on proposals submitted to the UNSCEGHS.