Hazmat Security Plan

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), within the Department of Transportation, has proposed a modification to its current security plan requirements for the transportation of hazardous materials.

The proposed change was published in the Federal Register as 49 CFR Part 172, “Hazardous Materials: Risk-Based Adjustment of Transportation Security Plan Requirements; Proposed Rule”.

PHMSA, in consultation with the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is proposing to modify its current security plan requirements governing the commercial transportation of hazardous materials by air, rail, vessel, and highway.

Based on an evaluation of the security threats associated with specific types and quantities of hazardous materials, the proposed rule would narrow the list of materials subject to security plan requirements, and reduce associated regulatory costs and paperwork burden.

The proposed rule also would clarify certain requirements related to security planning, training, and documentation, and incorporate and build on recent international standards governing hazardous materials security.

Under PHMSA regulations, a security plan must include an assessment of possible transportation security risks and appropriate measures to address the risks. Specific measures implemented as part of the plan may vary with the level of threat at a particular time.

Also, PHMSA set a performance standard providing offerors and carriers the flexibility necessary to develop security plans addressing their individual circumstances and operational environments. At a minimum, the security plan must address personnel security, unauthorized access, and in-route security.

The proposal responds in part to a petition from the Council on Safe Transportation of Hazardous Articles (COSTHA). COSTHA recommended that PHMSA incorporate into its security plan requirements the less extensive list of high consequence dangerous goods in the United Nations Model Regulation on the Transport of Dangerous Goods. A second petition from the American Trucking Association sought to have PHMSA expand the list of covered materials.

PHMSA decided to use the UN Recommendations as a starting point for its proposal. PHMSA notes that most entities that have commented on pre-proposal documents agreed that the list of materials for which security plans are required should be revised to include only those materials that pose a significant security threat in transportation.

Most of the existing requirements for security plans apply to hazmats that must be placarded. Among the proposed changes, PHMSA would remove security plan requirements for a variety of low-hazard explosives, some flammable gases and liquids under a threshold amount in a single package, spontaneously combustible materials below a threshold amount, and some oxidizing materials (excluding perchlorates and ammonium nitrate).

In the same proposal, PHMSA is seeking to make additional changes to the security plan regulations, including adding or clarifying requirements that the security plan is to be reviewed at least annually and updated if necessary, and that in-depth security training occur at least every 3 years, or sooner if the security plan is revised.

PHMSA’s proposed amendments to the hazmat security plan requirements are available at the BLR Environmental Document Center. Note: Type in 94669 when prompted for the document number.