North American Rail Safety Progresses

By September 17, 2014 49 CFR, Regulation Updates

FRA Solicits Comments on Securement NPRM

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.

The FRA does not anticipate needing Public Hearings but will schedule them if specific requests are received by October 9, 2014.

Comments on the NPRM are being accepted until November 10, 2014.

Read the NPRM

Details of the proposal which includes a review of the Transport Canada-RAC actions and comparisons with E.O. 28 and existing regulations are available.

Click here to view on the Federal Register website »

Clifton J. Brown

Clifton J. Brown

Clifton Brown has over 35 years of practical experience in the Canadian chemical and manufacturing industries. He has worked in research, quality, environment, health and safety in a range of industries including explosives, pesticides, manufacturing/contract packaging, pharmaceuticals, and specialty chemicals. This experience has provided a basis for dealing with a variety of regulatory approaches that have been useful in implementing and evaluating/auditing compliance. This experience has also been useful in effectively helping others to understand and apply the regulations in a North American context. Clifton represents ICC on the RDC regulatory and safe operations committees, participates in Transport Canada consultations and attends WSPS, CSSE and related activities.