Transport Canada has laid criminal charges on six former Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway (MM&A) employees in connection with the Lac-Mégantic train derailment that took place in July 2013. The engineer and CEO are among those charged. Three of the six former employees have already been charged with 47 counts of causing death by criminal negligence. During the investigation, Transport Canada discovered that there were not enough hand brakes applied and the handbrakes were not properly tested.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the TSCA Modernization Act on June 23, 2015. The industry welcomed the vote as this act is the long awaited overhaul to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). NACD’s president, Eric R. Byer, stated “Tonight’s vote puts us one step closer to reforming an outdated law in a way that will build confidence in the US chemical regulatory system, protect human health and the environment from significant risks, and meet the commercial and competitive interests of the US chemical industry and the national economy.”
The Environmental Protection Agency is inviting small businesses, governments and not-for-profit organizations to participate in its Small Business Advocacy Review (SBAR) as Small Business Entity Representatives (SERs). The purpose of the panel is to focus on EPA’s development of a rule that proposes to modify the current Risk Management Plan (RMP) regulation in order to reduce the possibility of accidental release of toxic and/or flammable substances at chemical facilities and improving emergency response when those releases do occur. The panel will consist of federal representatives from the SBA, OMB and EPA. The panel members will ask a selected group of SERs to provide advice and recommendations on behalf of either their company, community, or organization so the panel members can understand the potential impacts of the proposed rule on small entities.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) amended its enforcement policy regarding the use of Safety Measurement System (SMS) in reviews of hazmat carriers under the Hazardous Materials Safety Permit (HMSP) program. In addition, FMCSA will requirement to conduct compliance reviews for HMSP motor carriers who are unable to use SMS due to insufficient data.
FMCSA is using the SMS scores to improve its oversight of HMSP holders by identifying poor performing carriers for safety fitness compliance review and by providing grounds for suspension or revocation. These recommendations are being implemented under the existing Safety Fitness Procedure regulations and will be effective August 18, 2015.
Lisa Raitt, Canada’s Minister of Transport, announced today that the Safe and Accountable Rail Act has received Royal Assent. The Safe and Accountable Rail Act is an amendment to the Canada Transportation Act. The goal of this act is to enhance railway safety and make both the rail industry and crude oil shippers more accountable to Canadians. This act will strengthen the liability and compensation process for federally regulated railways by amplifying insurance requirements and creating a supplemental compensation fund that will be financed by levies on crude oil shippers. The Safe and Accountable Rail Act will be effective on June 18, 2016.
DGAC submitted an appeal on the Final Rule – Enhanced Tank Car Standards and Operational Controls for High Hazard Flammable Trains that was submitted on May 8, 2015. The Final Rule incorporates improvements to the design of the tank car in order to improve safety, a sampling and classification program for unrefined petroleum based products, notification requirements and requirements that are designed to reduce the probability of accidents with trains transporting large amounts of flammable liquids and the consequences when accidents do occur. Some of the issues listed in the appeal include the definition of HHFT and HHFUT, the lack of a definition for unrefined petroleum based products, requirements for sampling and testing program for unrefined petroleum based products, various operational requirements, and the need for additional harmonization with Canadian requirements.
ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) published the first addendum to the Technical Instructions 2015-2016 edition. The addendum inserts a new item 19 into Table 8-1. The new item focuses on battery-powered portable electronic smoking devices. The addendum lists the approved battery sizes and conditions under which a spare battery can be carried.
Transport Canada is proposing an amendment to the TDG Regulations that would revise the incident reporting requirements. The proposed amendment will also include a new definition of release, amendments to the reporting requirements to introduce circumstances under which a report is required, reporting the loss or theft of dangerous goods, exceptions where reporting obligations do not apply, and new reporting criteria for misdeclared or undeclared dangerous goods.
Comments on the proposed amendment are being accepted in writing until July 6, 2015.
President Barack Obama has announced his intent to nominate Marie Therese Dominguez as the Administrator of PHMSA and Sarah Feinberg as the Administrator of the FRA. Anthony Foxx, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, released the following statement.
“Marie Therese Dominguez will be a great asset to PHMSA and to DOT. She has extensive management, regulatory and safety experience in the transportation public sector, including at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). She will also bring a different perspective to PHMSA’s safety mission, having worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to safely improve the Nation’s water resource infrastructure. Sarah Feinberg has already proven to be a steady and capable leader at FRA, and especially during the tragic Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia, where she remained on site throughout the initial rescue and recovery efforts. Throughout her time at DOT she has been immersed in issues related to rail safety, including the safe transportation of crude by rail. Her attention to detail and passion for the work continues to impress not just me, but safety experts, Members of Congress and the staff at FRA. FRA will benefit from her ability to cut red tape and get things done.”
Since releasing the original memo “Enforcement Guidance for Hazard Communication Standards” on February 9, 2015, OSHA has received an overwhelming amount of questions relating to the use of HCS 1994-compliant labels on containers packaged for shipment and requests for additional clarification on behalf of manufacturers, importers and distributors.
In response to these questions and requests, on May 29, 2015 OSHA released a memo entitled “Interim Enforcement Guidance for Hazard Communication 2012 (HCS 2012) June 1,2015 Effective Date” which focuses on manufacturers, importers and distributors that have not yet received classification and SDS information from upstream suppliers.
Due to OSHA’s efforts to ensure the additional clarification gets included in the revised Hazard Communication directive there has been a slight delay in completing review and clearance of the directive. The anticipated issuance date for the directive is now set for shortly after June 1, 2015 and this memo will be cancelled upon its issuance.