If you’ve ever applied for an interpretation from the U.S. Department of Transportation, or even looked one up online, chances are you’ve found a solution to your problem in a letter signed by Edward Mazzullo, longtime Director of the Office of Hazardous Materials Standards of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Mr. Mazzullo’s commitment to clarifying the complexities of the Hazardous Materials Regulations, as well as his career devoted to developing and improving regulatory standards, has resulted in him being awarded the George L. Wilson Award by the Dangerous Goods Advisory Council (DGAC) at its 40th Annual Summit and Exposition in Arlington, VA.
Each year, DGAC, a major organization for the education of the private and public sectors on transport of dangerous goods issues, presents the George L. Wilson Award to an individual, organization or company that has demonstrated outstanding achievement in the field of hazardous materials transportation safety. Previous winners include former members of the DOT, but also representatives of industry, and international representatives such as Linda Hume-Sastre, who labored for many years on the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations for Transport Canada. Even CHEMTREC, the well-known emergency information service, has received the award.
DGAC presented the award to Mr. Mazzullo at a lunch attended by many hazardous materials professionals who have benefitted from his guidance through the years. We applaud his long service, and dedication to Continue Reading…
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) published a Notice of Proposed Rule Making on September 9 to further enhance rail transportation safety and security following the recent incidents involving derailments of rail cars carrying hazardous petroleum products. The NPRM expands upon Emergency Order 28 and updates 2001 provisions regarding securement of unattended equipment. The FRA notes that there has been an increase in rail incidents involving flammable liquids since 2009 including (but not ending with) the 2013 Lac Mégantic, QC disaster with the tragic loss of life that resulted.
The proposed rule would require formal planning, job briefing, and verification measures to ensure that trains carrying specified hazardous materials/dangerous goods are secure when left unattended on main lines or sidings when specified materials [e.g. PIH, Class 1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 3 or specific items listed in 49CFR173.31(f)(2)] are present in specified configurations.
Locomotives in particular will require an exterior locking mechanism by March 2017. Provisions are also proposed requiring attendants when equipment cannot be secured according to the regulations.
Additionally procedures will be required to verify continued securement following incidents where non-railroad emergency personnel have been involved in a response that could have affected the integrity of the securement.
Although railways will not require prior FRA approval of securement plans, the FRA must be notified of amendments to existing plans and details must be provided upon request.
In the wake of a number of serious incidents involving rail transport of crude oil, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has issued an emergency order regarding these shipments. In order to improve public safety, the DOT will require that crude oil shipments be tested to ensure accurate classification, and that rail shipments of crude oil shipments be classified as Packing Group I or II, until further notice. This order was published on February 25, 2014.
The emergency order is issued under Docket No. DOT-OST-2014-0025, and can be viewed here. It establishes two main requirements for rail shipments of petroleum crude oil:
Persons identified by the order must, prior to offering for transport, ensure that petroleum crude oil is properly tested and classified, as given in the Hazardous Materials Regulations of 49 CFR, Parts 172 and 173.
Petroleum crude oil, UN1267, must be classified, handled and transported as Packing Group I or II; Packing Group III is forbidden during the timeframe of this order.
The order applies to all persons who offer for transportation or transport petroleum crude oil by rail in commerce within the United States. It covers organizations as well as officers and directors of organizations, employees, subcontractors and agents.
In a recent Final Rule, The Federal Railway Administration (FRA) has increased or modified its penalties for hazardous materials violations involving rail shipments.
The Final Rule, RIN 2130–ZA11, reflects Title III of Division C of MAP–21(Pub. L. 112–141), the Hazardous Materials Transportation Safety Improvement Act of 2012. This Act revised the maximum and minimum civil penalties for violations of Federal laws regarding hazardous materials transportation. FRA has therefore updated its references to the maximum and minimum civil penalties for hazardous materials violations in its own guidelines.
In Part 209 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (49 CFR), the FRA has made the following changes:
The maximum civil penalty has been increased to $75,000 from $50,000 for “knowing violations” of any requirement of a Federal hazardous materials transportation law. This also applies to violations regarding orders, special permits or approvals issued by the DOT.
The maximum fine has been increased from $100,000 to $175,000 if the violation results in death, serious illness or severe injury to any person, or substantial destruction of property.
The minimum civil penalty of $250 was eliminated. However, a minimum civil penalty of $450 was retained for violations regarding training.
The amendments under the Hazardous Materials Transportation Safety Improvement Act of 2012 became effective on October 1, 2012. FRA will use the new set of fines for violations that have occurred from that date onwards.