August 7, 2013: (EO) FRA – Emergency Order #28 & Safety Advisory

FRA Issues Emergency Order #28 and a Safety Advisory to Prevent Unintended Hazardous Materials Train Movement in Response to the July 6th Lac-Megantic, Quebec Train Derailment.

In the Safety Advisory, FRA publishes for review the Directive Ordered by Transport Canada for Railroad Companies which dictates actions to be taken to prevent a similar incident in the future. While they advise that the cause is still unknown, Transport Canada believed the severity of the accident warranted immediate action.

Following the incident in Canada, FRA performed an internal review of defect and violation data regarding securement of railroad equipment. FRA’s inspection data since January 2010 shows significant non-compliance with FRA’s securement regulations, 49 CFR 232.103(n), with nearly 4,950 recorded defects in that time. Moreover, FRA has seen a number of serious accidents during rail transportation of flammable liquids since 2009, and there has been significant growth in these types of rail shipments since 2011. As a result of this analysis, FRA is ordering that each railroad take the following actions on mainline track or mainline siding outside of a yard or terminal to ensure the safe transportation by rail of hazardous material (the following information is abridged; for the complete version please review the Emergency Order as Published in the Federal Register):

1.    No train or vehicle transporting hazardous materials … shall be left unattended on a mainline track or mainline siding outside of a yard or terminal until the railroad develops, adopts, complies with, and makes available to FRA upon request, a plan that identifies specific locations and circumstances when such trains or vehicles may be left unattended.

2.    Develop processes for the securement of unattended trains or vehicles transporting hazardous materials … on mainline track or mainline siding outside of a yard.

3.    Review and verify, and adjust as necessary, existing procedures and processes related to the number of hand brakes to be set on all unattended trains and vehicles and ensure the means of verifying that number is appropriate.

4.    Implement operating rules and practices requiring the discussion of securement for any job that will impact or require the securement of any train or vehicle in the course of the work being performed.

5.    Develop procedures to ensure that a qualified railroad employee inspects all equipment that any emergency responder has been on, under, or between for proper securement before the train or vehicle is left unattended.

Author: Wendy Buckley

Wendy has been in the hazardous materials industry for over 17 years. She worked for both the Federal Railroad Administration and New Jersey State Department of Transportation as a Railroad Hazardous Materials Safety Inspector. Wendy was an Investigator with the Office of Inspector General at Amtrak, a Multi-Modal HazMat Instructor and Auditor with a premier training and consulting company, and managed the Regulatory Affairs department at a multi-billion dollar, multi-national laboratory supply company. Wendy started her career as a Hazardous Materials Technician and Firefighter and today she is the President & Founder of Specialty Transportation and Regulatory Services, a hazardous materials and hazardous waste management consulting firm. Wendy has multiple degrees from several private and public Universities.