Security for hazmat rail shipments urged
Oct 7, 2005 12:10 PM
Railroads, manufacturers, refiners, and businesses that ship or receive hazardous materials by rail should immediately improve procedures for tracking the movement of time-sensitive shipments, according to a Safety Advisory distributed by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).
The advisory requests that all railroads conform to a recently updated railroad industry standard that identifies a list of 20-day and 30-day time-sensitive hazardous materials, and requires specific actions to speed up movement of such cars if they are delayed in transit.
The advisory also emphasizes that all railroad employees who handle such shipments be aware of, and clearly understand, the procedures.
In addition, hazardous materials shippers and end users should closely monitor the products they order and/or transport by increasing communication between one another and the railroad as shipments are in-transit to ensure all parties are aware of their location and expected delivery date, the FRA said.
The action is a direct result of an incident that occurred in Cincinnati OH this August, FRA said. A tank car carrying the time-sensitive chemical styrene was not delivered to its final destination, and instead apparently sat idle on the same railroad for seven months. As a result, the stabilizing agent in the styrene expired causing a reaction that ultimately led to an unintended release of the product and a precautionary evacuation of the surrounding area.
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