Interpretation Response #16-0207
Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.
Interpretation Response Details
August 15, 2017
5220 W M-80
Kincheloe, MI 49788
Reference No. 16-0207
Dear Ms. McBane:
This letter is in response to your December 27, 2016, email requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to exceptions for transportation of Category A infectious substances. You provide a scenario where a hospital transports patients infected with Category A infectious substances in an ambulance to the local airport for air ambulance services. Then, the hospital transports the ambulance and Category A infectious waste to a site for decontamination. You ask whether the exception in § 177.823(a)(3) for emergency movement of a "transport vehicle containing hazardous materials" when "necessary to protect life or property" may be used for this situation. You cite a frequently asked question (FAQ) in the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration's (PHMSA) "DOT Guidance for Preparing Packages of Ebola Contaminated Waste for Transportation and Disposal," as support for use of this exception.
The answer is yes. Section 177.823(a) permits a carrier to move a transport vehicle (e.g., an ambulance) that contains a hazardous material (e.g., a patient contaminated with a Category A infectious substance) in an emergency when necessary to protect life or property. This provision also permits moving a transport vehicle that contains a Category A infectious substance to a location where this material can be removed and disposed of safely. Hazardous materials transported under this provision are excepted from the HMR.
PHMSA published a final rule on June 2, 2016 [Docket No. PHMSA-2013-0225 (HM-218H); 81 FR 35483] pertaining to the transportation of infectious waste generated during air ambulance services. The final rule revised §"175.1(d) (formerly §"175.9(b)(4)) to clarify that staging operations related to dedicated air ambulance, firefighting, or search and rescue operations are intended to be excepted from the HMR when in compliance with the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR).
I hope this information is helpful. Please contact us if we can be of further assistance.
T. Glenn Foster
Chief, Regulatory Review and Reinvention Branch
Standards and Rulemaking Division
177.823(a)(3), 177.823(a), 175.1(d),"175.9(b)(4)
|§ 175.9||Special aircraft operations|