[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 224 (Wednesday, November 20, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 69745-69746]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-27785]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

[Docket No. PHMSA-2013-0254; Notice No. 13-09]

Federal Railroad Administration

[Safety Advisory 2013-07]


Safety and Security Plans for Class 3 Hazardous Materials 
Transported by Rail

AGENCY: Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) 
and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Department of Transportation 
(DOT).

ACTION: Notice of Safety Advisory.

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SUMMARY: PHMSA and FRA are issuing this safety advisory as a follow-up 
to the agencies' joint safety advisory published on August 7, 2013 and 
FRA's Emergency Order No. 28 published that same day, both of which 
relate to the July 6, 2013, catastrophic accident in Lac-
M[eacute]gantic, Quebec. In this safety advisory, PHMSA and FRA are 
reinforcing the importance of proper characterization, classification, 
and selection of a packing group for Class 3 materials, and the 
corresponding requirements in the Federal hazardous materials 
regulations for safety and security planning. In addition, we are 
reinforcing that we expect offerors by rail and rail carriers to revise 
their safety and security plans required by the Federal hazardous 
materials regulations, including the required risk assessments, to 
address the safety and security issues identified in FRA's Emergency 
Order No. 28 and the August 7, 2013, joint Safety Advisory.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ben Supko, Standards and Rulemaking 
Division, PHMSA, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001, 
telephone (202) 366-8553; or Karl Alexy, Staff Director, FRA Hazardous 
Materials Division, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE., Washington, DC 20590-
0001, telephone (202) 493-6245.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On July 6, 2013, a catastrophic railroad 
accident occurred in Lac-M[eacute]gantic, Quebec, Canada when an 
unattended freight train containing hazardous materials rolled down a 
descending grade and subsequently derailed. The derailment resulted in 
multiple explosions and subsequent fires, which caused the confirmed 
death of forty-two people and presumed death of five more, extensive 
damage to the town center, clean-up costs, and the evacuation of 
approximately 2,000 people from the surrounding area. While the 
Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) is still investigating the 
cause of the Lac-M[eacute]gantic accident, the catastrophic 
consequences of the accident and the known increase over the last 
several years in the rail transportation of Class 3 hazardous materials 
has made clear the need to review existing regulations and industry 
practices related to such transportation. PHMSA and FRA have worked 
closely to take a number of actions intended to prevent similar 
incidents from occurring in the United States and the agencies will 
continue to do so.
    This Safety Advisory is intended to follow-up on PHMSA and FRA's 
actions to date to address the safety and security of the rail 
transportation of Class 3 hazardous materials, including FRA's 
Emergency Order No. 28 (78 FR 48218 (EO 28)); the agencies' Joint 
Safety Advisory published on August 7, 2013 (78 FR 48224) (First Joint 
Advisory); the initiation of a comprehensive review of operational 
factors that affect the transportation of hazardous materials by rail 
(78 FR 42998); the referral of safety issues related to EO 28 and the 
First Joint Advisory to FRA's Railroad Safety Advisory Committee (78 FR 
48931); and the publication of an advance notice of proposed rulemaking 
responding to eight petitions for rulemaking related to the 
transportation of hazardous materials by rail (78 FR 54849). In this 
Safety Advisory, PHMSA and FRA are once again reinforcing the 
importance of proper characterization, classification, and selection of 
a hazardous materials packing group as required by the Federal 
hazardous materials law (49 U.S.C. 5101-5128) and Hazardous Materials 
Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR parts 171-180). The agencies are also 
emphasizing that offerors of hazardous materials by rail and rail 
carriers should have reviewed and revised, as appropriate, their safety 
and security plans required under Subpart I of Part 172 of the HMR, 
including the required risk assessments, to address the safety and 
security issues identified in EO 28 and the First Joint Advisory.

I. Safety and Security Plans as They Pertain to Class 3 Materials

    Each person who offers for transportation in commerce or transports 
in commerce certain hazardous materials, including Class 3, packing 
group (PG) I or II materials that are offered for transportation or 
transported in a large bulk quantity, must develop and adhere to a 
transportation safety and security plan that conforms to the 
requirements of the HMR. See 49 CFR part 172, subpart I. A large bulk 
quantity, is defined in Sec.  172.800(b), for a Class 3, PG I or II 
material as a quantity of 792 gallons (3,000 liters) or more in a 
single bulk packaging (e.g., cargo tank motor vehicle, portable tank, 
tank car, or other bulk container).
    A safety and security plan must include components addressing 
personnel security, unauthorized access, and en route security. See 49 
CFR 172.802. The HMR set forth general requirements for a safety and 
security plan's components rather than a prescriptive list of specific 
items that must be included. The HMR establish a performance standard 
providing offerors and rail carriers with the flexibility necessary to 
develop safety and security plans addressing their individual 
circumstances and operational environments. Accordingly, each safety 
and security plan may differ because it will be based on an offeror's 
or a carrier's individual assessment of the safety and security risks 
associated with the specific hazardous materials it ships or transports 
and its unique circumstances and operational environment.

II. Responsibilities of Offerors of Hazardous Materials and Rail 
Carriers

    As stated above, PHMSA and FRA expect that as a result of EO 28 and 
the First Joint Advisory, hazmat offerors by rail and railroad carriers 
have reviewed and revised, as appropriate, their safety and security 
plans, including the required underlying risk assessments, to address 
the safety and security issues identified in FRA's Emergency Order No. 
28 and the First Joint Advisory.

A. Offerors

    As applied to offerors of hazardous materials by rail, PHMSA and 
FRA expect that in light of EO 28 and the First Joint Advisory, 
offerors have reviewed their safety and security plans to ensure that 
all materials subject to the regulatory requirement are, in fact, 
properly classified, described, and packaged in accordance with the 
HMR. The HMR require offerors of hazardous

[[Page 69746]]

materials to properly classify and describe the hazardous material 
being offered for transportation. 49 CFR 173.22. As part of this 
process, proper characterization of a hazardous material (considering 
the material's underlying chemical properties, corrosivity, and other 
characteristics) is fundamental to ensuring the selection of proper 
packaging and that the hazards of the materials are properly described 
in the required shipping documentation. Proper characterization will 
identify properties that may not affect classification, but will affect 
the integrity of the packaging or present additional hazards, such as 
corrosivity, sulfur content and dissolved gas content. Ensuring the 
proper classification, characterization, and PG assignment of a 
hazardous material is a key building block of the HMR, and is 
especially important for assessing risks and developing a safety and 
security plan. To aid in this process, we are emphasizing key 
definitions and information from 49 CFR 173.120 and 173.121 regarding 
the proper classification and packing group assignment for petroleum 
crude oil, namely: The definitions of flash point, flammable liquid, 
combustible liquid and packing group. We are also emphasizing the 
following applicable shipping names and packing groups as they pertain 
to the transportation of petroleum products:
    i. Crude oil. Petroleum crude oil, UN 1267, is specifically listed 
in the Hazardous Materials Table (49 CFR 172.101) as a Class 3 
material, in Packing Groups I, II, or III.
    ii. Sour crude. Petroleum sour crude, oil, flammable, toxic, UN 
3494, is specifically listed in the Hazardous Materials Table (49 CFR 
172.101) as a Class 3 material, in Packing Groups I, II, or III.
    Offerors of hazardous materials for transportation by rail must 
ensure that their current practices and operations align with HMR 
requirements, especially in regard to existing safety and security 
planning requirements for Class 3 materials.

B. Carriers

    EO 28 prohibits railroads from leaving trains or vehicles 
transporting certain types and quantities of hazardous materials 
unattended on a mainline track or a mainline siding outside of a yard 
or terminal, until the railroad develops, adopts, and complies with a 
plan that identifies specific locations and circumstances where the 
railroad has determined that such trains or vehicles may be safely left 
unattended. Accordingly, EO 28 requires railroads to implement 
``securement plans'' to leave unattended any train or vehicle 
transporting the identified hazardous materials on a mainline track or 
siding outside of a yard or terminal. FRA and PHMSA would like to 
clarify that although these ``securement plans'' are separate and 
distinct from the safety and security plans required by the HMR, the 
agencies expect rail carriers that have developed and implemented 
``securement plans'' as provided for in EO 28 to evaluate the safety 
and security risks of leaving the equipment subject to the plan 
unattended and review and revise, as appropriate, their corresponding 
safety and security plans, including the required underlying risk 
assessment, required by the HMR to reflect the increased risk of 
leaving the equipment unattended.

III. PHMSA's and FRA's Enforcement Efforts

    PHMSA and FRA are assessing regulated entities' compliance with the 
expectations outlined in the First Joint Advisory and this safety 
advisory to ensure the safe transportation of hazardous materials by 
rail. Recently, PHMSA initiated ``Operation Classification.'' This 
compliance investigation initiative involves unannounced inspections 
and testing by PHMSA and FRA to verify the material classification and 
packing group assignments selected and certified by offerors of 
petroleum crude oil. In addition, PHMSA is accompanying FRA on audits 
to evaluate safety and security plans and to determine whether the 
plans address vulnerabilities highlighted in EO 28 and the First Joint 
Advisory. FRA is also conducting additional inspections to determine 
compliance with EO 28.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on November 14, 2013.
Magdy El-Sibaie,
Associate Administrator for Hazardous Materials Safety, Pipeline and 
Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
Robert C. Lauby,
Associate Administrator for Railroad Safety/Chief Safety Officer, 
Federal Railroad Adminstration.
[FR Doc. 2013-27785 Filed 11-19-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-60-P