The Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has amended the Security Plan regulations of 49 C.F.R. Part 1721. The intent of the amendments is to ensure that materials posing the most significant transportation and security risks are regulated the most stringently, as well as to clarify issues that had arisen with respect to the preparation and implementation of Security Plans.

When are Security Plans Required?

The new rule changes the types and quantities of certain hazardous materials for which Security Plans are required. In the past, Security Plans were required for the transportation of classes of hazardous materials no matter how much was being transported as long as placarding was required. The new rule now requires Security Plans only for the transport of large bulk quantities of certain hazardous materials, including:

  • Division 2.1 flammable gases;
  • Division 2.2 nonflammable gases (such as oxygen and similar materials);
  • Division 4.2, Packaging Group I and II, spontaneously combustible materials;
  • Division 5.1 Oxidizers;
  • Division 6.1 poisonous materials that are not poisonous-by-inhalation (PIH); and
  • Division 8 corrosive materials.

The term “large bulk quantity” is defined as a quantity greater than 6,614 pounds for solids or 792 gallons for liquids and gases in a single packaging such as a cargo tank, motor vehicle, portable tank, tank car, or other bulk container.

Security plans are still required for the transport of any quantity of explosives and PIH materials, among others. Security Plans will no longer be required, however, for the transportation of Class 9 (miscellaneous) hazardous materials.

Updated Security Plan Requirements

The new rule also revises what information needs to be contained in a Security Plan. For instance, the rule clarifies that, while Security Plans need not address each location or transportation route, the plans must consider site-specific risks and vulnerabilities and not be generic corporate templates. In addition, the final rule clarifies that Security Plans must include:

(a) information on the identity, duties, and training of the lead site security personnel; and (b) a written security and risk assessment. Security Plans must be reviewed at least annually and updated to reflect any changing circumstances.

The final rule clarifies the training requirements for Hazmat Employees. The amended 49 C.F.R. §172.704(a)(5) explains that training is required for any Hazmat Employee “who handles hazardous materials covered by the plan, performs a regular function related to the hazardous materials covered by the plan, or is responsible for implementing the plan.” Training is required initially, every three years, and within 90 days of implementation of a revised Security Plan. The final rule clarifies that employees need to be provided access to the Security Plan and that each facility must either have a copy of the Security Plan on file or be able to access the plan electronically.

One of the goals of the new rule is to harmonize the DOT’s Security Plan requirements with similar requirements, including requirements for enhanced security measures with respect to high consequence dangerous goods recommended in the United Nations Model Regulations for the Transport of Dangerous Goods. Before finalizing the rule, PHMSA conferred with the Federal Railroad Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and the Transportation Security Administration in the Department of Homeland Security.

The new rule is not legally effective until October 1, 2010. The new rule has a voluntary compliance date of April 8, 2010, because DOT does not anticipate that the rule will require that most existing Security Plans be changed.