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October 2002 Newsletter
News Archive
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In our September Newsletter we commented about HM-232:

"HM-232 - Hazardous Materials: Security Requirements for Offerors and Transporters of Hazardous Materials.

This proposed regulation places some severe burdens on shippers, forwarders, and carriers and has attracted more comments than we personally can recall over many years."

Well, the comments kept pouring into U.S.D.O.T./RSPA.  Most of the comments recognized the value of security programs in light of 9/11/01terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.  RSPA is attempting to address security concerns in the transportation and distribution of dangerous goods. They are valid concerns.

RSPA has not issued a final rule as of October 7. The main issues are.....


U.S. D.O.T. Hazmat Registration Numbers:

RSPA has proposed that the Hazmat registration numbers be placed on shipping papers. However, there is no requirement for all hazmat shippers and carriers to be registered so some shipping papers would have the registration number while others would not. How would enforcement personnel know who needed a number and who didn't? Overseas exporters are not required to register at the present time. What about the one-time shipper trying to send a can of paint to his cousin overseas? This requirement, estimated by the DGAC to cost $416, 000, 000 nation-wide to re-program computerized systems, would do nothing to advance hazmat/dangerous goods security. Remember the Y2K problems with computers? 

Dangerous Goods Documentation:

RSPA is proposing that all shipments of dangerous goods be required to have shipping papers (bills of lading) indicating the name and address of the shipper and the consignee. While not a problem, and certainly no changes are required for air and ocean shipments, no one seemed to give any thought to truckers hauling tanks of gasoline or home heating oil or fertilizer whereby a dispatcher instructs the driver to deliver partial loads at multiple stops such as gas stations, homes, businesses, and farms. And, what about the distributor who wants to protect his client's identity from his supplier? There may be some good valid business reasons to not let everyone know who your customers are. Even transportation companies such as UPS and FEDEX have significant problems with this part of the proposal.

 Security Programs for Shippers, Forwarders, Carriers, Storage Facilities, and Sub-Contractors:

A good rule but RSPA has surely under-estimated the costs. RSPA estimates that after the final rule is published it should take companies about 30 hours to conjure up and implement an adequate security program at a cost of $20.00 per hour and a total cost of $600.00 for the creative work.

"Woe is me", your editor, who will be stuck with that "creative" job at R-A Specialists. I can recall that some of my teachers in high school and college at one time or another remarked that I was a "slow reader" - bright, accurate, creative, maybe, but slow. From that I can deduce that what might take fast-reader, creative people at RSPA, or 3-M, or DuPont, or Dow, or UPS, or Fedex, or Delta Airlines, 30 hours to create surely will take me 45 or 60 hours....and another 10 or 12 hours to refine the program after I try it out the first time. If I give up my fringe benefits and take a cut in pay it will still cost our small company at least $1400-$1500 to create a security program, based upon RSPA's estimate of $20.00 per hour.

RSPA estimates the actual training cost per employee per hour would be $10.00. Almost all of the commenters stated that they pay far more than $10 per hour to their employees. Add mandatory taxes, insurance, and fringe benefits to the tune of 30-35% and even that $15 employee, if anyone has any, and the cost rises to $20.25 per hour.  We checked with a local trucker and the cost per hour is more like $28.00 per hour. If you consider that the employee being trained must be replaced in the work force with an overtime employee that training cost quickly rises to about $60.00 per hour.

The time frame for completing the training from creation to completion would not appear to be realistic either. DOT/RSPA is proposing that all employees must be trained within 90 days after the final rule is enacted. That is likely to be a tall order for large companies.

Clearly RSPA will have to go back to the drawing board.

Homeland Security

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) as we attempt to finalize this newsletter, is still an Administration within the Department of Transportation, as is RSPA, the Research and Special Programs Administration. Ultimately, TSA will be shifted over to the Homeland Security Department, a new cabinet-level department within the executive branch of the U.S. Government. That is, whenever Congress finally passes the legislation.

Your humble writer senses overlapping jurisdictional issues looming on the horizon - RSPA, other Federal Agencies, State and Local Governments vs. TSA and Homeland Security. While the public views TSA's primary responsibility at this time to be passenger and baggage screening in the airline industry, its responsibilities do include passengers, baggage, and freight via all modes of transportation as well. Maybe we are too pessimistic.

U.S. Department of Commerce - National Telecommunications and Information Administration

On September 3 the NTIA issued a notice to request comments, Docket No. 020816197-2197-01, dealing with Section 101 of the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act ("ESIGN"). At issue is the present exception to the requirement for electronic signatures for hazardous materials, pesticides, hazardous wastes and other dangerous or toxic substances. The exemption exists in order to satisfy DOT/RSPA and EPA requirements for "shipping papers" and written emergency response plans for emergency responders.

Under Section 103, which details the Exceptions, The Secretary of Commerce must evaluate and report to Congress whether the exceptions should continue in effect in order to protect consumers.

The report to Congress must be submitted no later than June 30, 2003. NTIA requests public comments be submitted by November 4, 2002.

The issues that we feel that you should consider are DOT and EPA shipping paper and hazardous waste requirements and emergency response information for responders such as fire and police departments and EMS workers. Hard copy documents are what these emergency workers depend upon for fast, accurate responses to chemical accidents, spills, and fires.

"ESIGN", without continuance of the exceptions, would or could eliminate accessibility of hazard information to transportation personnel and emergency responders.

Dangerous Goods in Dangerous Times...

Is the theme for the Dangerous Goods Advisory Council's Annual Conference and Exposition on November 6-7-8, 2002 at the Tempe Mission Palms Hotel in Tempe Arizona.

Security for dangerous goods in transportation and distribution and regulatory updates will be the main topics of discussion. Domestic and international risk assessments for dangerous goods and advances in technology topics will be covered in the popular DGAC Breakout Sessions. These sessions give us the opportunity to learn more about these important issues in smaller groups that always attract active participation.

North American shippers and forwarders should also consider attending the European Road Transport of Dangerous Goods (ADR) training class that will be conducted in conjunction with the Conference. The two-day class will be held on November 4-5 at the same hotel as the Conference. Discounts are available to participants in both events. These are the same classes that our own trainers and consultants have been attending for the last 5 or 6 years. We highly recommend this ADR Class.

For more information about the Conference or the Training click on www.dgac.org 

While there you should also get information on membership in the Dangerous Goods Advisory Council.

We hope to see you at the training and the conference. Look us up and say hello. You will recognize us from our DGAC Member Badges.

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