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Hazardous Materials FAST Act Requirements- HM-263

Hazardous Materials FAST Act Requirements- HM-263

On February 3, 2023, more than a dozen rail cars derailed on the outskirts of East Palestine, OH, near the Pennsylvania border. Eleven of those carried hazardous materials, including UN1086 Vinyl chloride, a flammable gas that is also a carcinogen and reproductive hazard. Toxic fumes, including hydrogen chloride and phosgene, were released into the air, forcing the evacuation of homes in the area.

When emergency responders arrived on scene, they had no real-time information on the hazardous materials the train was carrying.

As a result of the safety recommendation of the National Transportation Safety Board the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has amended the 49CFR regulations (Parts 171, 174, and 180) to require railroads that carry hazardous materials to generate in electronic form, maintain, and provide to first responders, emergency response officials, and law enforcement personnel, certain information regarding hazardous materials in rail transportation to enhance emergency response and investigative efforts. This information must be given to authorized federal, state, and local first responders.

Additionally, immediately following an accident or suspected release of hazardous materials from a train, the railroad operating the train must make an emergency notification by telephone and provide the train consist information electronically to the primary Public Safety Answering Point. Railroads are also required to test their emergency notification system at least annually.

Experts believe that this proactive approach will ensure that emergency responders will have timely and accurate information, allowing them to respond to hazards they encounter. This preparedness will help reduce the risks to the responders, the community, and the environment.

HM-263 – “Hazardous Material FAST ACT Requirements for Real-Time Train Consist Information” was published in the Federal Register on June 24, 2024, and has a voluntary compliance date of June 24, 2024, effective date of July 24, 2024, except for Class I Railroads which has a delayed compliance date of June 24, 2025, and Class II and II railroads, June 24, 2026.

Although we cannot change the events of East Palestine or other major derailments of the past, these efforts by Congress, the NTSB, and PHMSA will enable Emergency Responders to make swift and informed decisions that will protect us all.

The Final rule can be found at

A train CONSIST is a document showing the number of loaded or empty cars, weight in tons, and length in feet of a specific train.

Do you have questions regarding hazardous materials transportation? We have answers! Our team of experts is just a call away for our customers at 855.734.5469 or send us an email, we’re happy to help.

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Karrie Ishmael, CDGP

Karrie Ishmael has been with ICC since 1988. She has contributed to ICC's growth in various capacities, including customer service, sales, and marketing. In her current role as ICC's Senior Regulatory Expert and SDS author, Karrie conducts hazardous materials training classes in 49 CFR, IATA, IMDG, TDG along with OSHA and WHMIS hazard communication courses. When not training, she writes safety data sheets for customers to comply with North American and European requirements. She actively participates in many associations, including DGAC, COSTHA and is the former chair of SCHC’s OSHA Alliance Committee.

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