Update: ARSA Asks FAA to Amend Hazmat Training Rule
The FAA has issued a final rule on hazardous materials (hazmat) training requirements. The rule affects Part 121 and Part 135 operators and persons working for or on behalf of such operators, including repair stations. Because the rule will have unintended effects on non-hazmat employer repair stations, ARSA has submitted a petition for rulemaking to the FAA, asking the agency to address several critical flaws in the regulatory language.
Hazmat training final rule
The new rule expands training requirements for air carriers, particularly “will-not-carry” operators. Under the new requirements, an operator must give notice of its will-carry or will-not-carry hazmat status to repair stations that are performing work for the operator.
A repair station performing work for an air carrier must also notify its employees, contractors or subcontractors who handle items or components falling under the hazmat regulations in Part 49 of the hazmat status of the carrier. Furthermore, all such hazmat work done for the carrier must be in accordance with the carrier’s FAA approved hazmat training program.
In order for a repair station to become certificated or amend or transfer its certificate, it must certify in writing that its “hazmat employees” are trained as required by Part 49.
ARSA’s petition for rulemaking
As written, the rule requires that air carriers give notice of their hazmat status only to repair stations who are regulated by 49 CFR parts 171 through 180 (i.e. hazmat employers). However, as the rule is currently written, all repair stations that receive hazmat status notices from an air carrier must pass the notice along to employees, contractors or subcontractors who handle hazmat items.
Air carriers are likely to send out notices to all repair station vendors rather than expend significant effort determining which repair station vendors are hazmat employers. As a result, many non hazmat employer repair stations will likely receive notices, triggering obligations that the FAA clearly did not intend.
The rule also requires repair stations who receive notice from an air carrier to pass that notice to employees, contractors or subcontractors who handle hazmat items. ARSA feels that this language places a heavy regulatory burden on repair stations.
Many repair stations employ contractors, just as air carriers do. These contractors may in turn employ contractors themselves, the existence of which may not be known by the original repair station. The rule would require a repair station to identify whether any of its contractors handle hazmat, and whether any of the repair stations that do work for its contractor handle hazmat. Complying with this portion of the rule will be exceedingly difficult for many repair stations.
ARSA’s proposed changes
ARSA has asked the FAA to amend this rule to limit the notice requirements to hazmat employer repair stations, as was the intent of the rule. Further, ARSA has asked that the FAA eliminate the requirement that repair stations notify contractors or subcontractors of an air carrier’s hazmat status, as this process will likely lead to confusion, duplicative paperwork and difficulties in compliance for many repair stations.
The rule became effective November 7, 2005, with a compliance date of February 7, 2007.