2012 Emergency Response Guidebook Input Sought

Preparing for the 2012 edition of the Emergency Response Guidebook, an important guide used by emergency responders nationwide, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is asking for comments by Sept. 21 that address 16 detailed questions. PHMSA said it particularly wants input from professionals who have experience using the 2008 guidebook.

The book helps emergency personnel during initial response to hazardous materials incidents. For example, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board on July 21 released its report about a May 29, 2009, explosion and fire involving a tetrahydrafuran solvent recovery process at the Veolia ES Technical Solutions L.L.C. facility in West Carrollton, Ohio, a waste recycling process company that CSB said had previously been cited by OSHA for process safety management violations.

ERG2012 will supersede ERG2008 and will be developed through a joint effort involving the transportation agencies of the United States, Canada, and Mexico. It will be published in English, French, and Spanish.

Submit comments identified by docket number PHMSA-2010-0196 (Notice No. 10-4) via www.regulations.gov or fax them to 202-493-2251. The PHMSA contact for information is Suzette Paes in the Office of Hazardous Materials Initiatives and Training, 202-366-4900 or [email protected]

The questions include:

  • How can the ERG be made more user-friendly for emergency responders? Please provide examples.
  • In what way(s) can the pictures, pictograms, and symbols shown in the ERG be used more effectively and efficiently?
  • What format(s) of the ERG are being used (hardcopy, electronic, online, etc.) and why?
  • How often is the ERG used in a hazmat emergency?
  • Is the most useful information emphasized effectively in the ERG2008 for its intended purpose?
  • How could the ERG be enhanced to better assist with go/no-go decision making while staying focused on its stated purpose? Please provide examples.
  • Have users experienced inconsistent guidance between utilizing the ERG and other sources of technical information? How could these inconsistencies be reconciled?
  • Are there ways the White Pages could be improved or enhanced?
  • How could Table 1, "Initial Isolation and Protective Action Distances," and Table 2, "Water Reactive Materials Which Produce Toxic Gases," or the Introduction and Description of each Table be modified or improved?
  • When calling any of the Emergency Response Telephone Numbers listed in the ERG2008, have there been any experiences with a busy telephone line, disconnection, or no response?
  • Are there emergency response providers not shown in the ERG2008 that have been used and found to be reliable that should be listed in the Emergency Response Telephone Numbers section? If so, who and why?

Posted by Jerry Laws on Jul 23, 2010