American Chemistry Council calls for ‘comprehensive approach’ to safety for rail transport

Dec. 16, 2013

The American Chemistry Council has called on the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to implement a more effective strategy to ensure rail safety and prevent incidents with trains transporting chemical substances by rail.

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) has called on the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to implement a more effective strategy to ensure rail safety and prevent incidents with trains transporting chemical substances by rail.

The organization representing the chemical industry of the United States filed its comments to the regulator, pointing out that rail transport is still an important part of the industry and, as such, should become the focus of regulatory measures concerning various aspects of safety. For example, the ACC urges the PHMSA to improve tank car designs and their specifications in order to make them safer in case of an accident.

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Tom Schick, senior director of regulatory and technical affairs at ACC, stated in the comments that safety is a priority for members of the council and their transportation partners and the industry will continue to work towards more effective accident mitigation and emergency response strategies. Schick pointed out that the combined efforts of the industry and federal regulators have resulted in a drop in accident rates, as 99.99 percent of rail shipments of hazardous materials reach their intended destination safely.

However, there is still room for improvement and Schick called for the PHMSA and the Federal Railroad Administration to adopt a "comprehensive approach to safety" which also includes the root causes of accidents and identifying weaknesses to be eliminated.

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