[ RadSafe ] Enforcement of IATA/ICAO/IAEA "regulations"

Walt Cofer radcontrol at embarqmail.com
Thu Mar 19 13:01:51 CDT 2009

I was recently told by a respected colleague that he was aware of cases where USDOT and FAA inspectors had cited radioactive materials licensees for noncompliance with IATA/ICAO/IAEA "regulations." and had issued steep fines for the violations.  I put the word "regulations" in quotations because these organizations are not regulatory agencies, but each issues what I would describe as "quasi-regs" because the IATA and the ICAO issue "instructions" on hazmat transportation that are followed by the airline industry and the IAEA "standards" are adopted by many foreign countries.

The specific "requirement" my colleague mentioned was the IATA/ICAO requirement for hazmat employee training to be conducted at two year intervals, rather than the three year interval specified in 49 CFR Part 172, Subpart H.

I emailed contacts at both agencies about this.  My PHMSA contact told me that her agency doesn't enforce IATA.  My FAA contact said that their inspectors will enforce whatever commitments are made in by the organizations they regulate, so if an FAA repair station commits to the IATA requirement for 2-yr. refresher training and they haven't done it, they will be cited, so based on that, it appears that at least the FAA does some enforcement of the requirement.  The FAA's approach parallels my experience as a state radiation control regulator; if a rad. materials licensee commits to something (like 2-yr. hazmat employee refresher training), then my agency would hold them to it. 

My concern is that anyone who uses FedEx or other common carriers for air shipments of RAM is expected to abide by IATA/ICAO requirements, but its not like FedEx is checking with their clients to see if they actually do it, so if a company never commits to anything in writing that could gig them by the FAA or another regulator, are they off the hook or not?

My question to the group is, has anyone experienced enforcement of IATA/ICAO/IAEA requirements by the USDOT or FAA?  If so, what was the context and outcome?

Any feedback on this topic would be helpful.

Walt Cofer
Radiation Control, Inc.
Tallahassee, FL
Tel:    (850) 668-8559
Cell:   (850) 519-5351
Email: radcontrol at embarqmail.com
Web:  www.rad-control.net

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