PHMSA Clarifies Shipping Paper Requirements

April 13th, 2020 - 5:20 pm

Report by Rick Schweitzer, NEFI Regulatory Counsel (

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has issued a notice clarifying that parties may comply with the shipping papers requirements of the Hazardous Materials Regulations while still maintaining social distancing. The notice states that shipping papers "may be exchanged, for example, by physically attaching the document to a clipboard and placing it on a table and stepping away while the paper is signed, or sending the document via email or other means of electronic transmission."

Further, PHMSA addressed concerns raised about the shipper's certification statement. The agency noted section 172.204(d) states that the shipper's certification on a shipping paper: "... [m]ust be legibly signed by a principal, officer, partner, or employee of the shipper or his agent; and ... [m]ay be legibly signed manually, by typewriter; or by other mechanical means." The notice stated a shipper may ask a person to sign on its behalf, i.e., to enter the shipper's name as the signature for the shipper's certification on the shipping paper. The request may be made verbally or in writing, and may be electronically transmitted (e.g., text message or email).