FRA is seeking a hazardous materials railroad safety inspector to be based out of Baton Rouge, La.

The position requires that the candidate:

  • Plans and carries out periodic inspections at rail hazardous materials shipper/consignee locations including oil & gas refineries/fractionation plants, chemical and explosives manufacturers, rail intermodal terminals/van yards, freight forwarders, import/export agents and tank car manufacturing and repair facilities within their district and neighboring districts when called upon to conduct team inspections.
  • Inspects railroads for compliance with the hazardous materials regulations and assists in training railroad personnel to enhance compliance with federal regulations.
  • Conducts railroad accident investigations including train and/or railcar collisions, reportable derailments, Non-Accidental Releases (NAR) of hazardous materials, or other accidents/incidents resulting in serious injury to person(s) or to the property of a railroad occurring on the line of any common carrier engaged in interstate transportation.
  • Conducts in-depth Hazardous Materials Incident Investigations (HMII) to determine the root cause of an incident and the corrective and preventative actions that will prevent recurrence.

For more information, including job qualifications and other requirements, visit the job posting on the USAjobs.gov website.

Available jobs at FRA are listed here.

Applications for all FRA positions should be emailed to frajobs@dot.gov

The Rail Workers Hazardous Materials Training Program has opened registration for hazmat/chemical emergency response training programs in November, January, February and March. This training addresses OSHA- and DOT-required training in addition to procedures, different 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 and is delivered using interactive classroom instruction, small group activities, hands-on drills and a simulated hazmat response in full safety gear.
Training sessions are scheduled Nov. 11 to 16; Jan. 6 to 11, 2019; Feb. 3 to 8, 2019; and March 17 to 22, 2019, at the Houston Fire Department’s Val Jahnke Training Facility, 8030 Braniff St., Houston, TX 77061. Programs begin Sunday evenings at 5:30 p.m. and conclude Fridays at 1 p.m.
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). The funding provides the following student expenses: air travel, lodging and meals. In addition, an incentive of $175 per day 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. Students may be asked to travel on Saturdays to meet program start times or where substantial reductions in airfare warrant. When registering, please select dates in order of preference.
A flier about the sessions is available to post at your worksite.
Follow this link to register online.
For more information, call 202-624-6963 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Monday through Friday.

According to the National Review. com, a jury in Madison county, Wisconsin ruled against Union Pacific Railroad by awarding $7.5 million in damages to a former railroad worker for contracting severe illnesses that were deemed directly linked to his longterm exposure to creosote and other toxic materials during his 31-year career as a railroad worker.  Read the complete article here.

Rail Hazmat The SMART TD Minnesota State Legislative Board, Local 1000 at Minneapolis, and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) have partnered together to offer Minnesota railroaders HAZMAT training.
The class is being held Friday, June 3, 2016, from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the SMART TD Minnesota State Legislative Board office, United Labor Centre, 312 Central Avenue SE, Room 217, Minneapolis, MN 55414. There is a $175.00 stipend for attendees. Lunch will be provided by the legislative board.
The class is limited to the first 30 railroad workers. Click here to register.

safety_sign A push for stiffer hazardous chemical rail transportation standards was made Wednesday, Sept. 2 near the site of a train accident that caused the largest evacuation in Ohio history.

Local officials — recalling the 1986 Miamisburg train derailment — joined Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, as he stressed the need to pass a bill that would require higher national safety standards for rail movement of hazardous materials.

“We’re better prepared than we used to be. (But) there’s still some things we need to do,” Brown said.

Read more from Dayton Daily News.

oil-train-rail A chorus of lawmakers expressed frustration Tuesday with the delays in approving and implementing various regulations related to the movement of hazardous materials by rail and pipeline.

The acting chiefs of two U.S. Department of Transportation agencies heard Republicans and Democrats in the House Transportation Committee complain that rules on railroad tank cars and oil and gas pipelines had been on the table for as long as four years.

Read the complete story at the Fresno Bee.

washington_state OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington state rail safety regulators March 19 recommended BNSF Railway Company be penalized for failing to timely report multiple hazardous material spills along state railways.

The Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) issued the formal complaint following a staff investigation into BNSF’s failure to report 14 releases of various hazardous materials, including crude oil, to the state within the required time period.

State rail safety rules require railroads to make a telephone report of the release of a hazardous material within 30 minutes of learning of the incident to the Washington State Emergency Operations Center’s (EOC) 24-hour duty officer.

The commission staff investigation found that between Nov. 1, 2014, and Feb. 24, 2015, BNSF committed 700 violations of this reporting requirement. Under state law, each day the company fails to report an incident constitutes a separate and distinct violation. The commission has the authority to impose penalties of up to $1,000 per violation, per day of state law or rule.

When a company fails to notify the EOC that a hazardous material incident has occurred, critical response resources may not be deployed, causing potential harm to the public and the environment. There could also be a delay in response and containment resources necessary to clean up hazardous material spills.

The violations were recorded as a result of the following incidents:

  • Nov. 5, 2014, Blaine – BP Cherry Point facility – crude oil spillage on tank
  • Nov. 17, 2014, Pasco – Pasco grain yard – 18-inch streak of diesel fuel on tank car
  • Dec. 7, 2014, Wenatchee – BNSF Wenatchee/Apple yard – hazardous solid waste dripping in rail yard
  • Dec. 8, 2014, Spokane Valley – BNSF Trentwood Station – tank car dripping gas/oil from bottom valve
  • Dec. 9, 2014, Seattle – Balmer Railyard/Interbay – shipment of hazardous solid waste reported leaking liquid identified as primary sludge
  • Dec. 9, 2014, Everett – BNSF Everett/Delta yard – two instances of shipments of hazardous solid waste reported leaking liquid
  • Dec. 9, 2014, Vancouver, BNSF Vancouver yard – shipment of hazardous solid waste reported leaking liquid identified as primary sludge
  • Dec. 10, 2014, Everett BNSF Everett/Delta yard – shipment of hazardous solid waste reported leaking liquid identified as primary sludge
  • Dec. 13, 2014, Quincy – Columbia subdivision – locomotive fire released 100 gallons of lube oil onto tracks
  • Jan. 12, 2015, Vancouver – BNSF Vancouver yard – seven tank cars found leaking crude oil
  • Jan. 13, 2015, Auburn – BNSF Auburn yard – six tank cars found leaking crude oil
  • Jan. 25, 2015, Seattle – BNSF Interbay yard – one BNSF locomotive mechanical problem spilled 100 gallons of lube oil
  • Feb. 12, 2015, Seattle – South Seattle storage facility – UTC inspector found crude oil leaking down the side of a tank car

In October 2014, commission staff sent BNSF a copy of the reporting requirements, and provided the company technical assistance to ensure that BNSF was providing proper notification to the commission regarding hazardous material incidents.

Staff also sent a letter to the regulated railroad industry on Feb. 4, 2015, emphasizing the requirement to provide reports and telephone the EOC within 30 minutes of learning of an event involving fatalities or injuries, the release of hazardous materials, or property damage greater than $50,000.

The companies were informed that failure to provide the required reports is a violation of commission rules and that staff may recommend enforcement action or monetary penalties for companies that fail to report incidents as required.

The company has an opportunity to request a hearing to respond to the allegations.

oil-train-rail At least 18 times in the past three years BNSF Railway freight trains rolled west out of Minneapolis pulling cars filled with hazardous chemicals that were not on the train’s official cargo list, according to train crew complaints.

That’s contrary to federal regulation because in case of an accident, local firefighters can be left in the dark, unable to take quick action to protect vulnerable residents.

Read the complete story at Minnesota Public Radio.

ST. PAUL, Minn. – A Minnesota legislator wants Congress to put teeth into requirements for railroads moving hazardous content tank cars. State Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-Minneapolis) is chair of the Transportation Committee in the Minnesota House of Representatives.

The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Railroad Administration issued a safety advisory earlier in May urging shippers and railroads to use newer, stronger tank cars to ship cargo like the highly flammable Bakken crude oil from North Dakota.

Read the complete story at Television Station KARE.

railyard, train yard; trainsOn 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.

Read the complete story at the StarTribune.