The Next Century of Hazmat Transportation: Workshop Looks Ahead

How will hazardous materials be transported a century from now? Maglev freighters? High-speed rail? Impregnable pipelines? The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, part of DOT, will host a July 31 workshop in Washington, D.C., to discuss the future direction of the federal hazmat transportation safety program, with a focus on three broad themes: safety, risk reduction, and integrity management. PHMSA's notice mentioned the program is a century old this year, having begun on May 30, 1908, with enactment of the Transportation of Explosives and Other Dangerous Articles Act. That law directed the Interstate Commerce Commission to draft regulations "in accord with the best known practicable means for securing safety in transit, covering the packing, marking, loading, handling while in transit, and the precautions necessary to determine whether the material when offered is in proper condition to transport." The act specifically required every package containing explosives "or other dangerous articles" to be marked.

The workshop will start at 8:30 a.m. July 31 at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Conference Facility, 451 7th St. SW in Washington. For information on the facilities or to request special accommodations, contact Maria Howard of the PHMSA Office of Hazardous Materials Safety at 202-266-0225 or Maria.Howard.dot.gov.

The agency's notice said more than 3 billion tons of regulated hazmats -- including explosive, poisonous, corrosive, flammable, and radioactive materials -- are transported in the United Stats per year, with more than 800,000 daily shipments by plane, train, truck, or vessel taking place. How to make use of wireless and electronic data systems and tools is one area for discussion at the workshop, according to the notice, which was signed by Theodore L. Willke, associate administrator for Hazardous Materials Safety.

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