WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA) of U.S. DOT has adopted a regime governing the paperwork behind moving hazardous loads across the 49th parallel.
The new rules will apply to shippers, handlers, and carriers in any mode and are effective as of Aug. 12.
Each person providing or receiving a shipping paper for hazardous materials — with the exception of hazardous waste — must retain the document, or its image, for at least 375 days.
As well, hazardous waste manifests must still be retained for three years after delivery.
The papers may be retained in electronic format; meaning faxes, computer screen images, and optical imaging are acceptable formats.
A shipping paper is considered by the DOT to be a shipping order, bill of lading, manifest (i.e. hazardous waste manifest) or other shipping document serving the same purpose and containing all the required information (see 49 CFR 172.205(h)).
Other highlights of the clarified regulations include, but are not limited to:
— Motor carriers may continue to use a single document covering a series of regular shipments (often referred to as a permanent document) provided a record of all shipments, the shipper name, identification number, quantity transported and date of shipment for each load available at the carrier’s principal place of business.
— The shipping document or its electronic image must be available for inspection at or through the principal place of business of the person required to prepare or maintain the document.
— The retained document (or record of shipment) must include on it the date the shipment was accepted by the initial carrier. (For rail shipments the date the shipper notified the rail carrier that the shipment was ready for pick-up is acceptable.)
— The requirement does not apply to material that is currently exempt from shipping paper requirements.
— Only the initial carrier (in the U.S.) is required to maintain the shipper’s certification.
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