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PHMSA Provides Partial Relief for Shipping Hand Sanitizers and Disinfectants by Ground

Posted on April 27, 2020 by Lauren Scott

Disinfectants and hand sanitizers are critical to protect the health and safety of essential workers, especially those performing hands-on supply-chain jobs like packaging, materials handling, loading, unloading, and others. Because hand sanitizers are regulated as hazardous materials in transport, distributing these items poses a logistics and compliance challenge for transportation companies.

To make it easier for carriers to provide hand sanitizers and disinfectants to workers throughout the supply chain, PHMSA will provide relief for the transport of these items on a motor vehicle for the purpose of protecting the health and safety of employees and contractors who directly support a carrier’s logistical operations.

In a memo released April 20, PHMSA said this would allow hand sanitizers and disinfectants to be transported by a logistics company’s own transportation network without meeting the rigorous hazmat standards outlined in the HMR for Class 8 corrosive liquids.

Employers may qualify for temporary relief if they meet the following criteria:

(1) The sanitizing and disinfecting materials are intended to allow employees to adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for protecting against COVID-19.

(2) The sanitizing and disinfecting materials are being provided to protect the health and safety of employees who directly support the operations of the carrier, such as by sorting packages, loading and unloading packages, and driving delivery vehicles.

(3) The sanitizing and disinfecting materials are transported by motor vehicle.

(4) The shipment complies with the hazard class, quantity, packaging, hazard communication, and aggregate gross weight requirements specified in 49 CFR 173.6 (Materials of Trade provisions).

(5) Transport of these materials for purposes other than use by employees of the carrier (e.g., retail sale) is not authorized.

If these terms are met, PHMSA will not issue any enforcement action related to the shipments of sanitizing and disinfecting products by motor vehicle. Shipments by air and vessel are still required to meet all HMR requirements, unless relief is provided elsewhere. This relief is only a temporary measure during the coronavirus pandemic.

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