PHMSA has issued a notice to offerors and carriers of hazardous materials regarding the 2017-2018 ICAO Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air and Amendment 38-16 of the IMDG Code.
At this time, PHMSA has not made a final decision on whether or not it will be adopting the recent changes to the international standards. Until a decision has been made offerers and carriers will be permitted to use either the 2015-2016 or 2017-2018 standards for markings and labeling. The FAA, FRA, FMCSA, and PHMSA will be following this enforcement discretion until such time as this notice has been modified or rescinded.
PHMSAs Notice Regarding the IMDG Code and ICAO Technical Instructions
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is recommending Transport Canada develop strategies to reduce the severity of derailments that involve dangerous goods.
This recommendation follows the investigation into the February 14, 2015 derailment of 100 tank cars carrying petroleum crude oil. The accident caused 1.7 million liters of crude oil to spill, ignite and burn for five days. The derailment was caused when joint bars in the tracks failed. This could have been prevented, however, had previous inspections noticed fatigue cracks in the joint bars at that particular location. The pre-existing cracks in combination with cold temperatures and repetitive impacts from trains caused the joint bars to fail. During the course of the investigation it was determined that the training, on the job mentoring, and supervisory support that is provided to an assistant track supervisor are insufficient.
Kathy Fox, Chair of the TSB, stated “This accident occurred at a speed below the maximum speed permitted by the Transport Canada approved Rules Respecting Key Trains and Key Routes. The TSB is concerned that the current speed limits may not be low enough for some trains—particularly unit trains carrying flammable liquids. We are also calling for Transport Canada to look at all of the factors, including speed, which contributed to the severity of derailments, to develop mitigating strategies and to amend the rules accordingly.”
She went on to say “The Transportation of flammable liquids by rail has been on the TSB Watchlist since 2014. While stronger tank cars are being built, the current ones will be in service for years to come. The risks will also remain until all of the factors leading to derailments and contributing to their severity are mitigated. This is the focus of the recommendation we issued today.”
TSB calls for strategies to reduce severity of dangerous goods derailments following investigation into February 2015 accident near Gogama, Ontario
The NTSB has completed its investigation into the December 30, 2013 derailment of 20 DOT 111 tank cars near Casselton, North Dakota and determined the cause of the accident to be a broken axle. The incident involved two trains. The train carrying grain was using an axle that had been used on a previous train car. When the axle broke it caused the train to derail. Another train on an adjacent track was carrying crude oil. That train was unable to stop in time and collided with the derailed grain cars.
NTSB issued an urgent safety recommendation to the American Association of Railroads that requires testing to be done on the use of any secondhand axles. In addition, NTSB studied the use of advanced brake systems and additional buffer cars. While the advanced brake system would not have prevented the accident in this case, it may have reduced the amount of damage caused. The crude oil train only had one buffer train between the locomotives and the hazardous cargo. The derailment caused 18 of those 20 cars to spill 476,000 gallons of crude oil. There were no fatalities but the accident and subsequent spill caused almost 1,500 people to be evacuated from their homes.
DOT 111 tank cars have been in the spotlight for several years due to the fact that they are not puncture resistant, there is no thermal protection, they lack top and bottom fittings protection, and are made of relatively thin steel.
The industry has already begun phasing these tank cars out in favor of the DOT 117 tank cars but the official deadline for the discontinued use is not until 2029. The NTSB Chairman, Christopher A. Hart, believes the “progress towards removing or retrofitting DOT 111s has been too slow”.
NTSB Issues Probable Cause for Casselton, ND Crude Oil Train Accident
The 2016 Edition of the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG) includes several important changes that have been made to the regulations regarding the classification, labeling, packing instructions, and shipping of dangerous goods.
Some of the significant changes include new criteria for determining viscosity in Class 3 flammable liquids, large packaging packing instructions for aerosols, new ISO standards that are being incorporated into the packing instructions for gases, and new Class 9 Miscellaneous Dangerous Goods label that will be used when shipping lithium metal and lithium ion cells and batteries.
These changes, while voluntary this year, will become mandatory as of January 1, 2018.
IMDG Code, 2016 Edition, Amendment 38-16
The 58th edition of the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations includes numerous amendments that were made by both the ICAO Dangerous Goods Panel and the IATA Dangerous Goods Board.
Some of the important changes include new shipping classifications, training and instruction requirements, changes regarding packing instructions and performance testing, and several changes to markings and labeling.
Complete List of Amendments
Tune in to Sirius XM channel 146 today, February 7th, from 3pm – 4pm EST. Wendy Buckley will be joining Mark Willis on Road Dog Trucking Radio to discuss trucking and rail regulations.
Call in during the show and talk to an industry expert to get your questions answered!
Wendy will be joining Road Dog Trucking Radio monthly. Stay tuned for future dates and times.
Canada has made some changes to the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) to align more closely with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).
While the changes won’t officially be mandatory until June 1, 2017, suppliers are able to begin following the new requirements for hazardous products that are sold, distributed, or imported into Canada now.
Some of the important changes being made to WHMIS include more comprehensive hazard classification criteria that will now include indications on the severity of the hazards, additional hazard classes, physical hazard criteria that will now be more consistent with TDG regulations, standardized language, and standardized SDS format. In addition, employers must have an education and training in place for their employees.