WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) released a proposed rule that the department said will improve the safe transfer of hazardous materials to and from rail cargo and highway cargo trucks.
The proposed rule would require additional training for employees and new safety requirements for motor carriers and facilities that transfer hazardous materials to and from rail cargo and highway cargo trucks.
"Safety is our top priority, and this rule would help cut the safety risks to workers loading and unloading hazardous materials and to people living near those facilities," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
The notice proposes to add requirements including:
- Practice drills and classroom training of truck drivers and other workers who unload or load hazardous material
- Training on automatic valve shut-down to ensure the systems are in place and that employees know how to use the systems
- Development of inspection and maintenance programs to ensure the safety of hoses, valves and other equipment used in loading and unloading.
"Between October and December 2010, five of the six incidents involving death or major injury were related to the loading and unloading of hazardous materials. We believe these proposed changes will increase safety and ultimately reduce the likelihood of catastrophic hazardous material incidents during loading and unloading," said PHMSA Administrator Cynthia Quarterman.
The public comment period for this notice ends 60 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register. The proposed rule is available on the PHMSA Web site at www.phmsa.dot.gov.