DOT Order Limits Speed of Crude Oil Trains

Two safety advisories list the types of information carriers and shippers must make available immediately to emergency responders and to investigators at an accident scene.

The U.S. Department of Transportation and two of its agencies, the Federal Railroad Administration and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, took action April 17 to increase the safety of crude oil trains as they travel through High Threat Urban Areas. An new Emergency Order sets a 40 mph maximum authorized operating speed limit for trains transporting large amounts of Class 3 flammable liquid through certain highly populated areas; the order applies to any train that contains: 1) 20 or more loaded tank cars in a continuous block, or 35 or more loaded tank cars, of Class 3 flammable liquid; and, 2) at least one DOT-111 tank car (including those built in accordance with Association of American Railroads Casualty Prevention Circular 1232 loaded with a Class 3 flammable liquid.

"These are important, common-sense steps that will protect railroad employees and residents of communities along rail lines. Taking the opportunity to review safety steps and to refresh information before moving forward is a standard safety practice in many industries, and we expect the shipping and carrier industries to do the same," said Acting FRA Administrator Sarah Feinberg.

DOT's announcement said the volume of crude oil being shipped by rail increased exponentially in recent years, and the number of significant accidents involving trains carrying ethanol or crude oil is unprecedented. "The boom in crude oil production, and transportation of that crude, poses a serious threat to public safety," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "The measures we are announcing today are a result of lessons learned from recent accidents and are steps we are able to take today to improve safety. Our efforts in partnership with agencies throughout this administration show that this is more than a transportation issue, and we are not done yet."

In addition, DOT said recent accidents showed that certain critical information about the train and its cargo needs to be immediately available for use by emergency responders or federal investigators who arrive on scene shortly after an incident, so PHMSA is issuing a safety advisory reminding carriers and shippers of the specific types of information they must make available immediately to emergency responders, and FRA and PHMSA issued a joint safety advisory requesting that specific information be made readily available to investigators.

Information required by PHMSA's advisory is:

  • Basic description and technical name of the hazardous material that is immediate hazardous to health
  • Risks of fire or explosion
  • Immediate precautions to be taken in the event of an accident
  • Immediate methods for handling fires
  • Initial methods for handling spills or leaks in the absence of fire
  • Preliminary first aid measures
  • A 24-hour telephone number for immediate access to product information

All of the documents are available here.

Download Center

  • OSHA Recordkeeping Guide

    In case you missed it, OSHA recently initiated an enforcement program to identify employers who fail to electronically submit Form 300A recordkeeping data to the agency. When it comes to OSHA recordkeeping, there are always questions regarding the requirements and ins and outs. This guide is here to help! We’ll explain reporting, recording, and online reporting requirements in detail.

  • Incident Investigations Guide

    If your organization has experienced an incident resulting in a fatality, injury, illness, environmental exposure, property damage, or even a quality issue, it’s important to perform an incident investigation to determine how this happened and learn what you can do to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps of performing an incident investigation.

  • Lone Worker Guide

    Lone workers exist in every industry and include individuals such as contractors, self-employed people, and those who work off-site or outside normal hours. These employees are at increased risk for unaddressed workplace accidents or emergencies, inadequate rest and breaks, physical violence, and more. To learn more about lone worker risks and solutions, download this informative guide.

  • Job Hazard Analysis Guide

    This guide includes details on how to conduct a thorough Job Hazard Analysis, and it's based directly on an OSHA publication for conducting JHAs. Download the guide to learn how to identify potential hazards associated with each task of a job and set controls to mitigate hazard risks.

  • The Basics of Incident Investigations Webinar

    Without a proper incident investigation, it becomes difficult to take preventative measures and implement corrective actions. Watch this on-demand webinar for a step-by-step process of a basic incident investigation, how to document your incident investigation findings and analyze incident data, and more. 

  • Vector Solutions

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - November December 2022

    November December 2022

    Featuring:

    • IH: GAS DETECTION
      The Evolution of Gas Detection
    • OSHA TOP 10
      OSHA's Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards for FY 2022
    • FALL PROTECTION
      Enhance Your Fall Protection Program with Technology
    • 90TH ANNIVERSARY
      The Future: How Safety WIll Continue to Evolve
    View This Issue