On a dead-end street in St. Paul, Susan Juaire runs a home day care with a scenic overlook of boxcars, locomotives and railroad tracks. Though she doesn’t like it, Juaire has gotten used to the constant noise of shipping containers being loaded between trucks and trains.
She can’t say the same thing about the long lines of tank cars that roll by daily, without stopping.
Jodi Ross, town manager in Westford, Mass., did not expect she would be threatened with arrest after she and her fire chief went onto the railroad tracks to find out why a train carrying liquid petroleum gas derailed on a bridge in February.
But as they reached the accident site northwest of Boston, a manager for Pan Am Railways called the police, claiming she was trespassing on rail property. The cars were eventually put back on the tracks safely, but the incident underlined a reality for local officials dealing with railroads.
The Rail Workers Hazardous Materials Training Program announces three HazMat/Chemical Emergency Response Training Programs will be held this spring in Houston, Texas.
These programs address U.S. Department of Transportation and the Occupational Health and safety Administration required training in addition to procedures, levels of response and worker protection in a hazardous materials emergency or release, weapons of mass destruction awareness and the incident command system. The training also provides completion of the OSHA 10-Hour General Industry Outreach requirements.
The programs are delivered using interactive classroom instruction, small group activities, hands-on drills and a simulated hazmat response in full safety gear.
The Rail Workers Hazardous Materials Training Program is funded to provide this training by a federal grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).
These five-day hazmat training courses will provide rail workers the essential knowledge, skills, and response actions in the case of an unintentional release. These tools will allow rail workers to protect themselves, their co-workers and their communities.
The funding provides the following student expenses: air travel, lodging and meals. In addition, an incentive of $600 per week is available to all training participants of these programs, except those who are able to secure regular pay through their employer, or are paid union officers.
Training will be conducted at the Houston Fire Department’s Val Jahnke Training Facility, 8030 Braniff St. Houston, TX 77061. Programs begin Sunday evenings at 7 p.m. and conclude Fridays at 1 p.m.
Students may be asked to travel on Saturdays to meet program start times or where substantial reductions in airfare warrant.
Register now by completing the attached application form and emailing it to email@example.com, or send by U.S. mail to: Henry Jajuga, Director, RWHMTP, 17530 Bering Bridge Lane Humble, TX 77346, Please make sure to select one of the following dates: April 27-May 2, 2014, June 1-6, 2014, or June 8-13, 2014.
For additional information, please contact Henry Jajuga via email. For telephone inquiries, please call (281) 812-6436, Monday through Friday, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. central standard time.
The Federal Railroad Administration and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) will host a public meeting Aug. 27-28 in Washington, D.C., about the transportation of hazardous materials by rail. The two DOT agencies want to hear from stakeholders because they have begun a review of operational factors that affect the safe transportation of hazmats by rail, no doubt spurred by the recent Canadian disaster involving a derailed train carrying crude oil to a refinery.
The meeting is scheduled to last from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. both days in the Oklahoma Room in the DOT Conference Center, 1200 New Jersey Ave. S.E., Washington, DC 20590.
Anyone who wants to present an oral statement should notify Kurt Eichenlaub, Railroad Safety specialist in the Hazardous Materials Division’s Office of Safety Assurance and Compliance at FRA, at least four business days prior to the meeting at (20) 493-6050 or Kurt.Eichenlaub@dot.gov.
Comments also may be submitted electronically at www.regulations.gov (Docket No. FRA-2013-0067).
This article originally appeared at www.ohsonline.com.
OTTAWA — Transport Canada July 23 announced an emergency directive pursuant to section 33 of the Railway Safety Act to increase rail safety, banning one-man crews on trains hauling one or more cars loaded with hazardous materials.
Although the cause of the accident in Lac-Mégantic remains unknown at this time, Transport Canada is moving forward to build upon the safety advisories received last Friday from the Transportation Safety Board and further enhance existing safe railway operations and the security of railway transportation.
Effective immediately, the emergency directive requires all rail operators to:
Ensure that no locomotive attached to one or more loaded tank cars transporting dangerous goods is operated with fewer than two qualified persons on a main track or sidings;
Ensure that no locomotive attached to one or more loaded tank cars transporting dangerous goods is left unattended on a main track;
Ensure, within five days of the issuance of the directive, that all unattended controlling locomotives on a main track and sidings are protected from unauthorized entry into the cab;
Ensure the directional controls, commonly known as reversers, are removed from any unattended locomotives, preventing them from moving forward or backward, on a main track or sidings;
Ensure that their company’s special instructions on hand brakes are applied to any locomotive attached to one or more cars that is left unattended for more than one hour on a main track or sidings;
Ensure that, in addition to complying with their company’s special instructions on hand brakes referred to in the item immediately above, the automatic brake is set in full service position and the independent brake is fully applied for any locomotive attached to one or more cars that are left unattended for one hour or less on a main track or sidings.
The safety of Canadians is Transport Canada’s top priority. The department is committed to working with the rail industry to examining any other means of improving rail safety.
Transport Canada has been in contact with the railway industry, and in particular with CN, CP and the Railway Association of Canada (RAC), to work together to promote the continued safety of Canada’s rail system.
The majority of railways maintain a culture of safety and security, as shown by the notable decline in derailments and train accidents over the past few years.
Transport Canada inspectors will continue to work in cooperation with the Transportation Safety Board as it conducts its investigation.
Transport Canada inspectors are at Lac-Mégantic determining whether there has been non-compliance with regulatory requirements.
Railway safety regulations exist to ensure the safety and protection of the public. If these regulations were not followed, the department will not hesitate to take action.
Transport Canada is responsible for transportation policies and programs. It promotes safe, secure, efficient and environmentally-responsible transportation. Transport Canada reports to Parliament and Canadians through the minister of Transport. It works with its portfolio partners, other government departments and jurisdictions, and industry to ensure that all parts of Canada’s transportation system work well.
The complete release, along with Related Items, can be found here.
The Rail Workers Hazardous Materials Training Program prides itself on delivering the most valuable worker safety training available. Peer instructors are members of the railroad labor community and take pride in offering the latest and most up-to-date information, teaching techniques and peer support.
The goal of the rail program is to build a nationwide pool of skilled peer trainers to deliver awareness level hazardous material training.
The DOT-funded train-the-trainer courses provide regional peer trainers with the skills and knowledge necessary to deliver this training at their job-sites, union meetings and in their communities. There are no pre-requisites required to participate in the six-day train-the-trainer course.
Two DOT Train-the-Trainer courses will be held July 14-20, 2013, and Sept. 22-28, 2013, at 15101 Sweitzer Lane, Laurel MD, 20707.
Interested rail workers can register online at www.hazmatgmc.org by selecting the course desription tab, followed by the “Register Now” link for the Hazardous Materials Instructors Training.
For more information, call Freddie Thomas in the Hazmat office at (301) 431-5457, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The U.S. Department of Energy has shipped large amounts and varieties of radioactive material by rail for years and the number of rail shipments is expected to increase. With this rise in shipments comes the increased risk for rail incidents involving these materials.
The Rail Workers’ Hazmat Training Program has been awarded funding to provide safety training to rail workers to increase their knowledge of the transportation of radioactive materials. To meet this training need, the rail program at the National Labor College will conduct a two-day Radiological Transportation Train the Trainer course from April 25-27, 2013.
This federal grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) provides transportation, lodging and meals for training participants. No stipend or per diem is allowable under the conditions of this grant.
The National Labor College in Silver Spring, Md., has scheduled several hazardous materials train-the-trainer programs to help build a nationwide pool of peer instructors.
Funded by the Department of Transportation, the train-the-trainer courses provide regional peer trainers with the skills and knowledge necessary to deliver this awareness level hazmat training at their job-sites, union meetings and in their communities.
An advanced instructor training course will be held in St. Louis, June 18-22.
Basic courses will be held July 16-21 and July 22-27 at the National Labor College campus in Silver Spring, Md.
These three courses may require participants to have completed other courses.
For more information on the prerequisites, and to register, go to www.hazmatgmc.org and scroll to “2011-12 DOT HMIT Grant Hazardous Materials Instructors Training,” or send questions via email to email@example.com.
The National Labor College said additional courses may be scheduled between Jun 1 and Sept. 30.
WASHINGTON — A doubling in the number of damaged or leaking hazardous materials containers shipped by rail has prompted the UTU and six other rail labor organizations to petition the Federal Railroad Administration for enhanced safety standards to protect rail workers and the public.
Rail labor is concerned that the FRA routinely grants special permission for railroads to transport damaged hazardous materials containers on mainline tracks to repair facilities.
In fact, the number of such requests has more than doubled since 2007, subjecting rail workers and the public to an unacceptable risk of exposure, the labor organizations told the FRA.
“Railroads and shippers must do more to reduce the incidence of non-conformance,” the organizations told the FRA.
Among changes sought by rail labor is advance notification to rail workers and necessary protection when workers are in the vicinity of damaged containers transporting hazmat.
Current federal regulations provide no requirement that safety devices be provided to protect rail workers from exposure to hazmat.
The labor organizations told the FRA that operating crews should be provided emergency escape breathing apparatus when involved in the movement of hazmat containers.
Although there have been no injuries or known exposures, the risk of employee exposure will only increase if the current rate of movement approvals continues, the FRA was told.
“Railroads and shippers have a business interest in timely review and approval of movement requests,” the labor unions told the FRA.
“As soon as the backlog impacts their bottom line, railroads and shippers will pressure FRA to accelerate the approval process. Such acceleration will undoubtedly diminish the level of detail and due diligence now afforded each request, resulting in an increased probability of unintended consequences such as fire, explosion or chemical exposure,” rail labor said.
In addition to the UTU, rail labor organizations jointly providing the comments to the FRA include the American Train Dispatchers Association, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes, the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen, the Transport Workers Union, and the Transportation Communications Union.
Click here to read rail labor’s submission to the FRA.