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Minister proposes amendments to dangerous-goods regulations

Changes to improve reporting requirements and make data collection more complete


(Canadian OH&S News) — Transport Canada (TC) has announced yet another plan to make Canadian rail transportation safer, following the Lac-Mégantic disaster of July 2013: proposed amendments to the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations, changes that would enhance risk analysis and emergency response for trains carrying hazardous goods such as crude oil.

On June 5, federal Transport Minister Lisa Raitt announced that the amendments would improve reporting requirements and make data collection more complete and comprehensive, according to a TC press release. The new reporting requirements, if passed, would apply not only to railways carrying dangerous goods, but also to road vehicles, airplanes, aerodromes and air-cargo facilities.

“Transport Canada remains committed to having the most robust requirements in place to transport dangerous goods in order to keep Canadians safe,” Raitt said in a press statement following her announcement.

Among the advised changes to the current regulations:

  • Criteria and circumstances under which dangerous-goods-related transportation incidents are reported would be updated;
  • Initial phone reports following incidents to the Canadian Transport Emergency Centre would require more information;
  • The 30-day written reports for incidents would require improved information for risk analysis and emergency response;
  • There would be a new requirement for reporting lost, stolen or otherwise tampered-with dangerous goods, to be more consistent with the security requirements under the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act; and
  • Dangerous goods that are incorrectly declared or undeclared would fall under reporting requirements similar to those of the International Civil Aviation Organization.

This is the latest action that TC has taken this year in improving rail safety across Canada. During Rail Safety Week, which ran from April 27 to May 3, TC announced that it was collaborating with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada on a joint study about the effectiveness of voice and video recorders in locomotives. On May 1, Raitt announced that Canada was adopting a new tank-car standard for trains carrying dangerous goods, the TC-117, in harmony with a similar tank standard in the United States.

The new standards for data collection, if adopted, would enable TC to create more effective regulations for rail transport in the future, according to the release.

TC’s changes and proposed amendments in standards and regulations follow the Lac-Mégantic incident, which reportedly killed 47 people, and three CN derailments earlier this year in Northern Ontario.