DG Digest: OSHA’s New Reporting Requirement, More PHMSA Special Permits, and Amtrak #118 One Year Later

The Federal Railroad Administration marked the one anniversary of the fatal Amtrak derailment near Philadelphia by reiterating progress on PTC installation, especially in areas with heavy passenger service. Here Amtrak’s Coast Starlight train heads north towards Seattle along BNSF tracks in Sumner, Washington last week. © 5/2016 by Nikki Burgess; all rights reserved.

The Federal Railroad Administration marked the one anniversary of the fatal Amtrak derailment near Philadelphia by reiterating progress on PTC installation, especially in areas with heavy passenger service. Here Amtrak’s Coast Starlight train heads north towards Seattle along BNSF tracks in Sumner, Washington last week. © 5/2016 by Nikki Burgess; all rights reserved.

Happy Monday!  May has been a chilly month in much of the nation, but hopefully it finds you gearing up for a safe and productive summer.  Here’s the past week’s “latest and greatest” in reference to the world of DG transport and EH&S activity:

PHMSA:

U.S. EPA: 

  • The USEPA announced a second regional public meeting to discuss implementation of possible new rules in reference to “Protection of Visibility” which translates in non-government-speak as the control of particulate and ozone emissions from power plants.  EPA has been very active in this sector.  The new “western region” meeting is in Denver on June 4thclick for details
  • EPA is also proposing to remove the “near-road” NO2 monitoring requirements for urban areas with 500,000 to 1,000,000 person population levels.  The agency contends that levels of that pollutant in those areas have proven so consistently low that such direct monitoring—conducted at numerous roadside test stations—is no longer needed.  This could produce a savings of time and money for state and local agencies tasked with conducting such monitoring for the federal government.  See the proposal here

OSHA:

  • In perhaps the week’s biggest piece of news, and certainly the one with the widest impact, OSHA imposed a new reporting requirement for injuries and illnesses in the workplace.  Previous to this new rule, employers were required to display the results of the OSHA 300/300A/301 injury logs from February to April.  Now that data will have to be additionally reported via electronic means to the government.  It will be available in a public database.  Employers with more than 250 employees are subject, as well as employers with more than 20 employees in a wide ranging list of NAICS codes.  This marks the first time that the government has imposed a national injury reporting requirement like this on general industry.  See the rule here for further information

FRA:

  • On May 12th the FRA marked the one-year anniversary of the crash of Amtrak train #118 in Frankford Junction, Pennsylvania.  Eight people were killed in the accident, since attributed to an alleged operator failure to reduce speed in a restricted curve.  The FRA used the occasion to point out the need for continued rapid progress on the nationwide PTC (Positive Train Control) mandate—now extended to 2018.  The agency also noted that PTC has been successfully installed in most of the Northeast Corridor, the nation’s busiest rail passenger service lane.  See the news brief
  • In further FRA news, the agency released an extension to the comment period for a March 15th proposed rule which would impose formal minimum train crew staffing levels on the nation’s railroads.  There has been turbulence in the industry over personnel reductions, with some claims that reduced staffing levels—some small railroads operate with single person crews in certain services—play a role in accidents.  Other sources dispute those allegations, however in any case it appears that the FRA is coming down on the side of being the decision maker.  See the proposed extension right here

Maritime:

  • In maritime news, the Cargo Incident Notification System or CINS, an international maritime safety and reporting consortium, has published new guidelines for the carriage of Calcium Hypochlorite by sea.  The new rules are intended to reduce the incidents in which this volatile commodity is placed in to shipping containers undeclared.  Several shipboard fires have been attributed to such circumstances.  See more here

FMSCA:

  • FMCSA issued a May 11th formal Safety Advisory notice requiring immediate inspection and related necessary servicing of cargo tank motor vehicles constructed to DOT 407 requirements by the company Trailers Y Tanques De Aluminio (TYTAL), US DOT No. 2164338, CT-12407.  This affects tanks with capacities of 8,400, 8,717 and 10,500 gallons.  FMCSA declared the current certifications invalid and the tanks non-compliant pending recertification. This applies regardless of the last test and inspection date.  See the advisory here

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