Government of Canada takes meaningful action in response to the Transportation Safety Board's Lac-Mégantic Report
OTTAWA, Oct. 29, 2014 /CNW/ - The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, today announced decisive measures to address the Transportation Safety Board of Canada's (TSB) recommendations stemming from its final report on the Lac-Mégantic train derailment.
The TSB issued two recommendations and two safety advisories to the department. In response, Transport Canada is:
- Requiring railway companies to meet standardized requirements for hand brake application and put into effect additional physical defences to secure trains;
- Increasing oversight by recruiting additional staff to carry out more frequent audits and creating processes for increased information sharing with municipalities;
- Conducting further research on crude oil properties, behaviour and hazards and launching a targeted inspection campaign to verify the classification of rail shipments; and
- Requiring certain railways (including short lines) to submit training plans to Transport Canada for review, and conducting an audit blitz of short lines to determine specific training gaps.
The Government of Canada has responded to all TSB recommendations and advisories on Lac-Mégantic by taking immediate, meaningful action to further improve railway safety and the safe transportation of dangerous goods by rail, and continues to do so.
In April 2014, our Government responded to initial recommendations from the TSB by removing the least crash-resistant DOT-111 tanks cars from circulation, ensuring industry was conducting route planning and analysis, and ensuring all transportation of high-risk hydrocarbons (including petroleum products) have associated Emergency Response Assistance Plans. The measures announced today further strengthen Canada's regulation and oversight of railway safety.
The Government of Canada continues to work closely with stakeholders—railways, shippers, municipalities, first responders, Aboriginal communities, provincial and territorial governments, and U.S. officials— to protect the safety of Canadians and assess what additional actions can be taken to enhance safety.
- In July 2013, Transport Canada established a two-person minimum for locomotive crews on trains carrying dangerous goods, and imposed stricter requirements for securing unattended trains.
- In April 2014, Transport Canada ordered the removal of the least crash-resistant DOT-111 tank cars from dangerous goods service and required those that do not meet new safety standards to be phased out by May 1, 2017.
- In July 2014, Transport Canada proposed new Railway Safety Management System Regulationsthat will strengthen requirements and help railways better identify and manage safety risks.
"Our Government remains committed to strengthening the safety of our country's railways and the transportation of dangerous goods. The measures we are announcing today build on actions already taken and address the specific recommendations and advisories issued by the Transportation Safety Board."
The Honourable Lisa Raitt
Minister of Transport
- Backgrounder: Train Securement
- Emergency Directive
- Ministerial Order under section 19 of the Railway Safety Act
- Backgrounder: Safety Management Systems Audit and Follow-up
- Backgrounder: Verification of Dangerous Goods Classification
- Backgrounder: Short line Railway Employee Training
- Order under section 36 of the Railway Safety Act
- The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) investigation into the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway (MMA) train derailment in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec
- Visual: Transport Canada's actions to address TSB recommendations
Keeping trains in place
All locomotives and equipment must be secured if they are left unattended. Following the accident in Lac-Mégantic, Transport Canada imposed stricter rules for securing unattended trains.To further reduce the risk of runaway trains, Transport Canada issued an Emergency Directive, ensuring that additional physical defences are in place to prevent runaways.
Railway cars are equipped with hand brakes. Handbrakes are manually operated mechanical devices that set and release the brakes on individual rail cars. In order to ensure that the brake system is functioning as intended, locomotive engineers perform a brake test. The Emergency Directive sets a standardized minimum on the number of handbrakes that need to be applied, specifies hand brake effectiveness testing, and requires additional physical securement measures such as:
- Permanent derails used within their design specifications;
- Mechanical emergency devices;
- Mechanical lock parking brake once approved by the Association of American Railroads (AAR);
- Reset Safety Control (RSC) with roll-away protection where air pressure is maintained or auto start is provided;
- Moving the equipment to a track protected with derails or bowled terrain verified by survey or track profile; or
- Other appropriate physical securement device accepted by Transport Canada.
Transport Canada also issued a Ministerial Order to address the provisions of the Emergency Directive permanently.
The Department is committed to ensuring that railway companies adhere to these requirements through targeted inspections and is prepared to take prompt action for any instances of non-compliance, including Administrative Monetary Penalties, as required.
Transport Canada will continue its collaboration with industry and U.S. counterparts, and support research and development of new technologies and processes for braking systems, including expanded use of brake detectors and the use of automated train brake test technology.
Through these measures, Transport Canada will ensure there are multiple layers of defence for securement, aiming to further prevent runaway trains.
Why are handbrakes important?
Hand brakes are the first line of defense in preventing equipment from rolling away. Sufficient hand brakes will prevent equipment movement in all weather conditions and over virtually unlimited periods of time.
When the train was left on the track in Nantes, prior to its descent to Lac-Mégantic, an insufficient number of hand brakes were applied and air brakes were not applied to all rail cars. There were no additional physical securement measures in place.
With the Emergency Directive, a similar train would be required to use a standardized amount of hand brakes and a hand brake test would have to be performed. In addition, air brakes would have to be applied on all rail cars and locomotives with additional physical securement measures which would provide a second and third line of defense.
Safety Management System audits and follow-up
Increasing the frequency of audits and timely follow-up tied to enforceable penalties for non-compliance
A Safety Management System (SMS) provides railway companies with a focused approach to building safety throughout an organization and into every aspect of its day-to-day operations. An SMS is in addition to specific regulations, rules or standards. It is a system that helps companies better comply with federal legislation and is intended to ensure railways have in place processes to identify and address safety concerns before they become situations of non-compliance with safety rules.
Transport Canada monitors a railway company's SMS through audits. The department advises the railway company as to the scope of the audit, conducts the audit, and provides the company with both an informal debrief of findings and a copy of the audit report. Where specific situations of non-compliance exist, the department can take regulatory action.
Following regular Transport Canada inspections and as part of SMS audits, corrective action plans and actions are requested. Once the corrective action plan is received, it is reviewed to ensure that it conforms to regulations and properly addresses the safety concerns noted. If the corrective action plan is found to be insufficient, the company must resubmit a revised plan.
Follow-up and compliance
Transport Canada has revised its inspection and audit plans and follow-up procedures to allow for increased frequency. SMS audits will now be completed on a three-to-five year cycle, or more frequently if required. The department will recruit additional specialized auditors to provide guidance to inspectors on conducting SMS audits and on the elements of an effective SMS.
The department is always working to strengthen railway safety oversight. For example the recently published Railway Safety Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs) Regulations introduce new monetary penalties - fines of up to $250,000 – to strengthen our ability to quickly enforce safety requirements for railway companies that violate the Railway Safety Act. Non-compliance with SMS Regulations is also included in these AMPs Regulations.
Furthermore, the proposed Railway Operating Certificate (ROC) Regulations, will provide the department with the authority to suspend or cancel a ROC for non-compliance with SMS Regulations.
Amendments to the Railway Safety Management Systems Regulations
Transport Canada proposed amendments to the Railway Safety Management Systems Regulations were published for comment in Canada Gazette, Part I and closed on October 3, 2014. The proposed amendments will better hold railway companies accountable for the safety of their railway and include new or updated process to:
- Require railway companies to implement a non-punitive reporting system for contraventions to the Railway Safety Act;
- Analyze data and trends to identify safety concerns;
Manage organizational knowledge so that employees can perform their duties more safely;
- Improve work scheduling to prevent employee fatigue;
- Create annual safety targets and select appropriate initiatives to reach those targets.
Sharing information with municipalities
Transport Canada is committed to keeping municipalities aware of railway safety issues in their communities. For example, Transport Canada publishes online summaries of enforcement actions and measures to mitigate threats to railway safety.
In addition, Transport Canada plans to share copies of Notices, Notices and Orders and information on any other serious safety risks with municipalities involved and notify them once these railway safety actions are lifted.
Classification of dangerous goods
Verifying that dangerous goods being transported are properly tested and classified
Under the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, shippers are responsible for classifying dangerous goods, completing documentation, selecting the proper means of containment and displaying dangerous goods safety marks on the container.
Proper classification is crucial in ensuring safety as misclassified goods pose a risk of not being appropriately handled or transported in a safe manner. In October 2013, Transport Canada issued a Protective Direction requiring any person who imports or offers for transport to retest the classification of their crude oil if that testing has not been completed since July 7, 2013 and in the interim to ship it as Packing Group I – the highest level of risk.
Strengthening TDG classification
Transport Canada is conducting further research into crude oil properties, behavior and hazards through the collection and chemical testing of samples at different sources in the supply chain to ensure dangerous goods are properly classified, tested and verified.
Following the results of this research, the Department will conduct a targeted inspection campaign to verify the classification of rail car shipments and to further enhance its oversight of the transportation of dangerous goods.
Transport Canada will be recruiting engineering and scientific experts to support its oversight capacity in verifying the proper classification of dangerous goods and to provide technical advice to inspectors in the field.
Over the longer term, the Department will reassess the factors contributing to misclassification, and develop and implement a rigorous strategy to address these issues through inspection, regulatory amendments, and other courses of action.
Actions to date
In April of this year, Transport Canada issued Protective Direction 33 requiring shippers of specific hydrocarbons – including petroleum crude oil – to develop Emergency Response Assistance Plans (ERAPs). Targeted inspections have confirmed industry compliance with this Directive.
In July 2014, a regulatory amendment was approved that allows TDG inspectors to conduct a more thorough verification of classification of dangerous goods. This amendment now means that industry must prove the results of their testing and the validity of their testing methods.
By combining these actions with longer term measures to improve regulation and inspection, Transport Canada will ensure that dangerous goods transported in Canada are properly classified, tested and verified.
The Transportation of Dangerous Act
The Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, regulations, and standards require dangerous goods to be properly classified. This includes conducting tests as prescribed by the regulations to verify whether it should be classified, for example, as a gas or a flammable liquid. Following its classification, the dangerous good must be placed in the proper means of containment, be it one for the transport of a gas or one for the transport of a flammable liquid (such as crude oil) and its appropriate packing group.
Railway Employee Training
A short line workforce that is well-trained to do their jobs with a greater focus on safety
Under the Railway Safety Act, railways are responsible for ensuring their employees are properly trained and certified under various regulations. They design their training programs based on their individual operational needs. Transport Canada's role is to monitor compliance with these regulations through inspections and audits.
Proper training helps ensure that employees are not only familiar with safety rules and regulations, but that they also know how to apply them.
Ensuring employees are well-trained
Transport Canada remains committed to monitoring federal railways and has made training a focus for audits in the upcoming year. In the short term, the Minister issued an Order under section 36 of the Railway Safety Act, requiring certain railways (including short lines) to submit training plans to the department for review.
This winter, the department will conduct a gap analysis of short line railways with respect to qualification standards of operating crews to determine if specific gaps remain in industry training plans, along with any other issues.
Based on the findings, Transport Canada will develop new requirements for a strengthened training regime to cover such things as approved training plans, qualifications for railway trainers, and training frequency, where required.
Through these actions, Transport Canada is ensuring Canada has a railway workforce that is well-trained to perform their duties in a safe manner.
Regulations that include Employee Training
The following regulations and rules include provisions for employee training:
- Railway Employee Qualification Standards Regulations
- Railway Freight and Passenger Train Brake Inspection and Safety Rules
- Rules Respecting Track Safety
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SOURCE: Transport Canada
For further information: Jana Régimbal, Press Secretary, Office of the Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, Ottawa, 613-991-0700; Media Relations, Transport Canada, Ottawa, 613-993-0055