Decoding the Mysteries of ‘IBR’
June 27, 2019
One important aspect of self-regulation in the compressed gas industry has long revolved around CGA’s close interaction with our regulatory partners, including the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
For decades, CGA has successfully petitioned agencies such as DOT and OSHA to request that certain CGA publications be Incorporated by Reference (“IBR’d”) into federal regulations.
Specifically in relation to DOT and OSHA, we focus on the following:
- For DOT: Title 49 (Transportation) of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR); also referred to as “49 CFR”
- For OSHA: Title 29 (Labor) of the CFR; also known as “29 CFR”
For example, when a cylinder containing a compressed or liquefied gas is shipped from a filling site to a consumer use site, that transportation must comply with DOT regulations found in 49 CFR. When a cylinder is filled at a production facility, or used at a customer’s site, these functions must comply with the regulations found in 29 CFR.
The Compressed Gas Association has enjoyed good success in having many of our publications incorporated by reference. These publications cover a variety of topics, such as the proper labeling of a compressed gas cylinder, or how to select the proper pressure relief device for a compressed gas cylinder or mixture.
But what does “Incorporated by Reference” mean, exactly? For CGA’s purposes, IBR is an administrative drafting tool that enables federal agencies to take the voluntary consensus standards developed by the Compressed Gas Association, and make these published materials federally enforceable.
Congress originally authorized the process of IBR in the Freedom of Information Act, to reduce the volume of material published in the Federal Register and Code of Federal Regulations.
In the compressed gas industry, the IBR process avails the general public of the collective expertise of CGA’s membership and the work output of many of our CGA committees. Arguably, this represents the essence of self-regulation, when government agencies recognize the value of publications produced by the Compressed Gas Association, and leverage these resources to enhance public safety.
Currently Referenced CGA Publications
CGA publications that are incorporated by reference include, but are not limited to:
CGA C-1 – Methods for Pressure Testing Compressed Gas Cylinders
CGA C-6 – Standards for Visual Inspection of Steel Compressed Gas Cylinders
CGA S-1.1 – Pressure Relief Device Standards-Part 1-Cylinders for Compressed Gases
CGA S-7 – Standard Method for Selecting Pressure Relief Devices for Compressed Gas Mixtures in Cylinders
For a complete list of CGA standards incorporated by reference by DOT, see: Code of Federal Regulations, Title 49 (Transportation), 171.7.
For a full list of CGA standards incorporated by reference by OSHA, see: Code of Federal Regulations, Title 29 (Labor), 1910.6.
Each of the above includes a listing of CGA publications that are referenced by name and the year of publication.
Petitions for Change: How Regulations Evolve Over Time
When a CGA publication that is currently referenced by DOT or OSHA is revised and updated, a petition is submitted requesting that the reference be updated to the most current revision.
This process enables members of CGA committees to identify opportunities to enhance existing regulations in 49 CFR or 29 CFR, by petitioning for a change.
An interesting case in point took place some years ago with the advent of the pneumatically operated cylinder valve. These valves were initially used with gases that are toxic when inhaled. At the time, the governing mandate in 49 CFR 173 required that a valve used in this type of service have a handwheel to open and shut the valve. Yet, pneumatically operated valves did not require a handwheel.
Consequently, a petition was written and DOT modified the wording to allow for this new technology. This change benefited both the packager and the user, while enhancing overall safety.
Petitions in Development
CGA currently has 18 petitions before the U.S. Department of Transportation and OSHA that are awaiting a final decision.
An additional 11 petitions are being worked on at the committee level. Once completed and approved by CGA’s Standards Council, these new petitions will be forwarded to the appropriate government agency for review.