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Audit initiated of PHMSA Fitness Reviews of Hazmat Approval and Special Permit Applicants

Project ID: 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 2.7 billion tons of hazardous materials (hazmat) valued at more than $3.1 trillion are transported annually by air, highway, rail, and ship. Based on data from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), in calendar year 2019, about 22,000 hazmat incidents, 7 fatalities, 177 injuries, and approximately $91 million in damages occurred in all modes of transportation nationwide. 

To promote safety, PHMSA developed and uses the Hazardous Materials Regulations to oversee shippers’ and carriers’ use of packaging and transportation safety standards. The regulations require individuals to request Agency approval to perform certain regulated functions, such as transporting a new explosive, or a special permit to perform functions not permitted by regulation. PHMSA evaluates the applications to determine whether they demonstrate an appropriate level of safety and the applicant is fit.
A thorough and effective review of an applicant’s fitness supports the safe transport of hazmat. Accordingly, the objective of this self-initiated audit is to assess PHMSA’s implementation of Federal requirements for conducting fitness reviews of applicants seeking hazardous materials approvals or special permits.