DG Digest: Confluence of circumstances led to Lac-Megantic not guilty verdicts

Three railroad workers were found not guilty by a Canadian court of criminal charges related to the 2013 oil train rail disaster in Lac Megantic, Quebec. Under stormy skies, an oil train approaches a grade crossing in suburban Seattle on Sunday, January 21st, 2018. Image © 1/2018 by Nikki Burgess; all rights reserved.

Believe it or not, we’re already past mid-January and heading towards the home stretch of what is typically the most troubling weather month of the year across the country.  Stay safe, stay warm, and keep your eyes on the calendar!  Spring will come sure enough.  Meanwhile, it was a fairly active week in the regulatory world.  Here’s the latest:


In the latest round of special permit applications, cylinders and batteries occupy the usual center stage.  Here are the three notices:


The nation’s safety agency published ICR extension requests for such collections regarding electrical energy hazards, hoisting slings, and respiratory protection standards.  OSHA routinely collects information from employers to determine the course of any necessary new action.  See the ICR’s here:


The agency published a revised “National Priorities List.”  This list addresses the sites and materials of concern in EPA’s Superfund program of environmental remediation of egregiously contaminated sites.  See the revised list here

U.S. Coast Guard

The nation’s premier service for safety and sea has issued its 2018 revision to rates of required drug and alcohol testing for workers in the marine industry.  See the revised rates here

Chemical Safety Board

The Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board has scheduled its quarterly general meeting.  The board investigates and makes recommendations to mitigate issues found after chemical accidents nationwide.  See the meeting notice here

Federal Protection of Human Subjects during Testing 

The federal government published a delay of the new 2018 standards for the protection of human subjects during testing procedures (medical and otherwise) across multiple agencies, including the DOL, DoD, DOT, and the EPA.  The rules are delayed until July, with further delay possible pending a review.  See the delay here

Lac-Megantic Case Ends in Not Guilty Verdicts

The criminal trial of three Montreal, Maine, and Atlantic Railroad operating employees in the deaths of forty seven citizens of the Canadian town of Lac-Megantic, Quebec in August 2013 following an oil train derailment and fire ended in not guilty verdicts.  The jury found that a confluence of circumstances fatally undermined risk management principles and allowed the accident to occur, but that no criminal intent could be proved.  The now-bankrupt US based railroad still faces ongoing civil litigation and the incident has driven significant revision to regulations governing the transport of the commodity by rail in both Canada and the United States.  See the BBC link here for further information

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