As a result of our February 2021 newsletter, we were learned that many of our “non-hazmat” readers did not know that the steel drum industry is regulated by the Pipeline for Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), an arm of the United States Department of Transportation (DOT). When most people think of the DOT, they naturally think of transportation; planes, trains, automobiles, ships and highways. But the DOT also regulates items classified as dangerous goods, or hazardous materials, that are packaged and transported on public right of way via those planes, trains, automobiles, ships and highways.
The United States Department of Transportation was created by act of President Lyndon Baines Johnson in 1966. The purpose of the Department of Transportation was/ is to create, develop, and coordinate policies to provide an efficient and economical national transportation system. This system will incorporate respect for the environment, regards the needs of the people, and will employ and monitor national defense of the transportation system. This is the primary organization at the cabinet level to shape and administer policies that protect and enhance the safety, adequacy and efficiency of the United States transportation services and system.
The primary regulatory vehicle used to govern the safe transport of dangerous goods is Title 49 of the US Code of Federal Regulations. CFR Title 49 – Transportation, is one of fifty titles comprising the United States Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Title 49 is the principal set of rules and regulations issued by the Departments of Transportation and Homeland Security, and other federal agencies of the United States regarding transportation and transportation related security. Publication of Title 49 began in 1938, at which point it was entitled Transportation and Railroads.
Part 178 of Title 49 CFR prescribes the manufacturing and testing specifications for packaging and containers used for the transportation of hazardous materials in commerce. The requirements of this part apply to packagings manufactured to a DOT specification, or to a UN standard for packagings manufactured within the United States. A manufacturer of a packaging is subject to the requirements of this part and is responsible for compliance with these requirements. However, any person who performs a function prescribed in this part shall also perform that function in accordance with this part. Part 178 also requires that a packaging be marked with a DOT specification or UN standard marking. Marking of the packaging with the appropriate DOT or UN markings is the certification that all requirements of the DOT specification, or UN standard, including performance tests, are met and all functions performed by, the person or entity whose name or symbol appears as part of the marking conform to requirements specified in this part.