[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 134 (Friday, July 12, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 41853-41856]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-16672]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

49 CFR Chapter I

[Notice No. 13-6]


Safety Advisory Guidance: Heating Rail Tank Cars To Prepare 
Hazardous Material for Unloading or Transloading

AGENCY: Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), 
DOT.

ACTION: Safety advisory guidance.

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SUMMARY: This guidance provides safety precautions and recommended 
guidance for persons responsible for unloading or transloading \1\ 
hazardous materials from rail tank cars, specifically those persons 
heating a rail tank car to prepare its hazardous material contents for 
unloading or transloading. Further, this guidance reminds such persons 
of current regulatory requirements addressing this type of operation. 
PHMSA is issuing this guidance in coordination with the Occupational 
Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental 
Protection Agency (EPA), and in consultation with the Federal Railroad 
Administration (FRA).
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    \1\ As defined in Sec.  171.8, Transloading means the transfer 
of a hazardous material by any person from one bulk packaging to 
another bulk packaging, from a bulk packaging to a non-bulk 
packaging, or from a non-bulk packaging to a bulk packaging for the 
purpose of continuing the movement of the hazardous material in 
commerce.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cheryl West Freeman, Division of 
Engineering and Research, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety 
Administration, 202-366-4545. For further information regarding OSHA 
regulations, contact OSHA, Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 and 
for further information regarding EPA's Risk Management Plan, go to: 
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www.epa.gov/emergencies/rmp.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Background
II. PHMSA's Coordinated Response With OSHA and EPA
III. Federal Regulations
    A. Applicable PHMSA Regulations
    B. Applicable OSHA Regulations or Standards
    C. Applicable EPA Regulations
IV. Guidance for Heating of Rail Tank Cars for Unloading or 
Transloading

I. Background

    PHMSA's mission is to protect people and the environment from the 
risks of hazardous materials transportation, including those loading 
and unloading operations covered under PHMSA regulations. Our efforts 
to enhance the safety of hazardous materials loading and unloading 
operations include development of standards for bulk loading and 
unloading of hazardous materials as part of our current strategic plan. 
Towards this end, on May 24, 1999, the Research and Special Programs 
Administration (PHMSA's predecessor agency) published a final rule 
[Docket No. RSPA-97-2718 (HM-225A), Hazardous Materials: Revision to 
Regulations Governing Transportation and Unloading of Liquefied 
Compressed Gases] that revised regulations applicable to the 
transportation and unloading of liquefied compressed gases. The 
revisions included new inspection, maintenance, and testing 
requirements for cargo tank discharge systems, including delivery hose 
assemblies, and revised attendance requirements applicable to liquefied 
petroleum gas and anhydrous ammonia. Also, more recently, on March 11, 
2011, PHMSA published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking [Docket Number 
PHMSA-2007-28119 (HM-247), Hazardous Materials: Cargo Tank Motor 
Vehicle Loading and Unloading] that proposes to amend our regulations 
to require each person (i.e., carrier or facility) who engages in cargo 
tank loading or unloading operations to perform a risk assessment of 
the loading and unloading operation and develop and implement safe 
operating procedures based upon the results of the risk assessment. We 
received comments on the proposals in this NPRM and are currently 
evaluating the best course of action to address them.
    As part of our continuing efforts to enhance the safety of 
hazardous materials loading and unloading operations, our combined 
effort with other Federal agencies to protect the public, and in 
response to the findings from an NTSB investigation, PHMSA is issuing 
this safety advisory guidance to all entities responsible for unloading 
or transloading of heated hazardous material from a rail tank car. In 
1999 and again in 2002, accidents occurred as a result of the process 
of heating rail tank cars for unloading hazardous materials. On 
February 18, 1999, a rail tank car, which was on the unloading rack at 
the Essroc Cement Corporation

[[Page 41854]]

(Essroc) Logansport cement plant near Clymers, Indiana, sustained a 
sudden and catastrophic rupture that propelled the tank of the rail 
tank car an estimated 750 feet and over multistory storage tanks. The 
20,000-gallon rail tank car initially contained about 161,700 pounds 
(14,185 gallons) of a toxic and flammable hazardous waste that was used 
as a fuel for the plant's kilns. There were no injuries or fatalities. 
Total damages, including property damage and costs from lost 
production, were estimated at nearly $8.2 million. The National 
Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined that the probable cause 
of the accident was the failure of Essroc to develop and implement safe 
procedures for heating rail tank cars for unloading hazardous waste 
(i.e., toluene diisocyanate matter wastes). This lack of procedures 
resulted in the over-pressurization of the rail tank car due to 
chemical self-reaction and expansion of the toluene diisocyanate matter 
wastes.
    On September 13, 2002, a 24,000-gallon-capacity rail tank car 
containing about 6,500 gallons of hazardous waste catastrophically 
ruptured at a transfer station at the BASF Corporation chemical 
facility in Freeport, Texas. The rail tank car had been steam-heated to 
permit the transfer of the waste to a cargo tank motor vehicle for 
subsequent disposal. The waste was a combination of cyclohexanone 
oxime, cyclohexanone, and water. As a result of the accident, 28 people 
received minor injuries. Residents living within one mile of the 
accident site had to shelter in place for five and one-half hours. The 
rail tank car, cargo tank, and transfer station were destroyed. The 
force of the explosion propelled a 300-pound rail tank car dome housing 
about \1/3\ mile away from the rail tank car. Two storage tanks near 
the transfer station were damaged; that resulted in the released about 
660 gallons of the hazardous material oleum.\2\
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    \2\ The Federal Railroad Administration has identified three 
other incidents involving heating of rail tank cars that did not 
result in death or injury.
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    The NTSB investigated the Freeport, Texas accident and determined 
that the probable cause of the rupture of the rail tank car was over-
pressurization resulting from a runaway exothermic decomposition 
reaction initiated by excessive heating of the hazardous waste 
material. The NTSB determined that BASF's failure to monitor the 
temperature and pressure inside the rail tank car while the hazardous 
waste was heated in preparation for unloading contributed to the 
accident. As a result of its investigation of the Freeport, Texas 
accident, the NTSB recommended that PHMSA, in cooperation with the OSHA 
and the EPA, develop regulations that require safe operating procedures 
to be established before hazardous materials are heated in a rail tank 
car for unloading; at a minimum, the NTSB recommended that the 
procedures should include the monitoring of internal tank pressure and 
cargo temperature (NTSB Recommendation R-04-10; December 15, 2004).\3\
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    \3\ See http://www.ntsb.gov/doclib/recletters/2004/R04_10.pdf.
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II. PHMSA's Coordinated Response With OSHA and EPA

    PHMSA believes the current regulations provide important 
requirements for the safe unloading of heated hazardous material from a 
rail tank car. However, we believe it is always beneficial to remind 
regulated entities of their duties in affecting safe transportation and 
to offer guidance in furtherance of performing these duties, and 
therefore, PHMSA, in coordination with OSHA and EPA, and in 
consultation with FRA, is issuing this safety advisory guidance. This 
safety advisory guidance is supplemental to the regulations and is 
provided as information for all entities responsible for unloading or 
transloading heated hazardous materials from a rail tank car, including 
employees responsible for overseeing the operation, inspecting and 
maintaining equipment, establishing emergency shutdown procedures, and 
developing safe operating procedures.
    Specifically, this safety advisory guidance provides additional 
guidance on the recommended safety precautions affected entities should 
use when heating a rail tank car to prepare its hazardous material 
contents for unloading or transloading. Employing the recommended 
guidance summarized in this guidance will enhance safety and diminish 
the occurrence of incidents resulting from the over-pressurization and 
runaway exothermic decomposition reactions initiated by heating of 
hazardous material. We note, however, that there is no binding 
regulatory impact of the guidance offered in this guidance.

III. Federal Regulations

A. Applicable PHMSA Regulations

    PHMSA's Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) 
specify requirements for the safe transportation of hazardous materials 
in commerce by rail car, aircraft, vessel, and motor vehicle. 
Requirements in the HMR apply to each person who offers a hazardous 
material for transportation in commerce, causes a hazardous material to 
be transported in commerce, or transports a hazardous material in 
commerce (see 49 CFR 171.1(b) and (c)). Transportation includes the 
movement of property and loading, unloading, or storage incidental to 
that movement (see 49 CFR 171.8).
    In 49 CFR 172.700, PHMSA sets forth training requirements to ensure 
a hazmat employee has familiarity with the general provisions of the 
HMR, is able to recognize and identify hazardous materials, has 
knowledge of specific requirements of the HMR applicable to functions 
performed by the employee, and has knowledge of emergency response 
information, self-protection measures and accident prevention methods 
and procedures. Any hazmat employee (as defined in 49 CFR 171.8), 
including the designated employee, must be trained at least once every 
three years in accordance with the existing ``function specific'' 
training requirements in 49 CFR 172.704.
    Unloading incidental to movement includes rail tank car 
transloading operations, such as the one that resulted in the Freeport, 
Texas accident described above (see 49 CFR 171.8). Rail tank car 
unloading operations conducted by consignee personnel after the rail 
tank car has been delivered to the consignee facility generally are not 
regulated under the HMR (see 49 CFR 171.1(d)(2)).
    The HMR requirements applicable to rail tank car transloading 
operations are in 49 CFR 174.67. The operator of a facility at which 
transloading operations are performed must maintain written safety 
procedures governing transloading operations and must make the safety 
procedures immediately available to the employee responsible for rail 
tank car unloading. In addition, persons conducting transloading 
operations must take measures to prevent movement of the rail tank car 
and secure access to the track where the transloading operation takes 
place. During the transloading operation, the rail tank car must be 
attended or monitored at all times.

B. Applicable OSHA Regulations or Standards

    OSHA's Process Safety Management (PSM) standard (see 29 CFR 
1910.119) contains requirements for processes that use, store, 
manufacture, handle, or transport highly hazardous chemicals

[[Page 41855]]

on-site.\4\ Bulk \5\ loading and unloading operations involving PSM-
covered chemicals or other processes with PSM-covered chemicals are 
subject to the requirements of the PSM standard.\6\ The PSM standard 
requires employers to compile process safety information (PSI) to 
enable employers and employees to identify and understand the hazards 
of the process. The PSI must include: (1) Physical and reactivity data 
of the highly hazardous chemicals in the process; (2) safe upper and 
lower limits of the process such as temperatures, pressures, flows and 
compositions; and (3) an evaluation of the consequences of deviation. 
Using the PSI, employers must perform a process hazard analysis to 
systematically identify, evaluate, and control the hazards of the 
process. After an employer completes a process hazard analysis, the 
employer must develop and implement written operating procedures 
providing clear, written instructions for safe operations of a process, 
such as loading and unloading operations to or from bulk containers 
(see 29 CFR 1910.119(f)). After the procedures are developed, each 
employee, including a contract employee, who is involved in loading and 
unloading operations must be trained in the required processes and the 
procedures, in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.119(g).
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    \4\ 29 CFR 1910.119(b), defines a highly hazardous chemical as a 
substance possessing toxic, reactive, flammable, or explosive 
properties and specified by paragraph (a)(1) of Sec.  1910.119.
    \5\ The use of this term with respect to the PSM standard is not 
the same as defined in the PHMSA HMR.
    \6\ Both of these processes may be covered by OSHA's PSM 
depending on the flash point of the waste material and the other 
chemicals present in the process. For operations with hazardous 
materials, OSHA recommends implementation of management systems such 
as those required by the PSM standard, regardless of coverage.
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    The OSHA standards also include requirements for the handling and 
storage of specific hazardous materials, including hazardous waste. 
Specifically, 29 CFR 1910.106(f) contains provisions for loading and 
unloading facilities. Additionally, the OSHA standard at 29 CFR 
1910.120, pertaining to hazardous waste operations and emergency 
response, establishes requirements for emergency response operations. 
When there is a release of hazardous materials, or a substantial threat 
of a release, then emergency response operations must comply with 29 
CFR 1910.120(q).
    In situations where an operation or a material is not covered by 
the PSM standard or the other OSHA standards, employers are obligated 
under Section 5(a)(1)--``the General Duty Clause''--of the OSH Act of 
1970 to protect employees from serious ``recognized'' hazards.
    Under OSHA's Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response 
(HAZWOPER) standards in 29 CFR 1910.120, an employer must train workers 
exposed to hazardous substances, health hazards, or safety hazards 
before performing hazardous waste operations and emergency response. 
Specifically, 29 CFR 1910.120(e)(3) and (e)(4) detail the level of 
training required of workers, who perform cleanup operations or on-site 
management and supervisors of workers, and 29 CFR 1910.120(q)(6) 
details the level of training required of workers who perform emergency 
response.
    Section 29 CFR 1910.120(e)(3)(i) specifies the training 
requirements for general site workers engaged in activities which 
expose or potentially expose those workers to hazardous substances and 
health hazards. These workers are required to receive a minimum of 40 
hours of instruction off the site, and a minimum of three days actual 
field experience under the direct supervision of a trained, experienced 
supervisor.
    Section 29 CFR 1910.120(e)(3)(ii) specifies the training 
requirements for workers on site only occasionally for a specific 
limited task, who are unlikely to be exposed to hazardous substances 
and health hazards over defined permissible limits. These workers are 
required to receive a minimum of 24 hours of instruction off the site, 
and a minimum of one day actual field experience under the direct 
supervision of a trained, experienced supervisor.
    Section 29 CFR 1910.120(e)(3)(iii) specifies training requirements 
for workers who are regularly onsite in areas that have been monitored 
and fully characterized indicating that exposures are under permissible 
exposure limits and published exposure limits where respirators are not 
necessary, and the characterization indicates that there are no health 
hazards or the possibility of an emergency developing. These workers 
are required to receive a minimum of 24 hours of instruction off the 
site, and a minimum of one day actual field experience under the direct 
supervision of a trained, experienced supervisor. In accordance with 29 
CFR 1910.120(e)(3), on-site management and supervisors directly 
responsible for, or who supervise employees engaged in the activities 
described above must receive 40 hours initial training, and three days 
of supervised field experience and at least eight additional hours of 
specialized training at the time of job assignment.
    For all the levels of workers and their on-site management and 
supervisors, the OSHA training requirements described in 29 CFR 
1910.120(e) and (q) would need to include training in all aspects of 
the heating process if that employee is responsible for performing any 
such functions, including refresher training every three years.

C. Applicable EPA Regulations

    EPA regulations establish a general duty for facility owners or 
operators of facilities that produce, handle, process, distribute, or 
store certain chemicals to identify hazards associated with the 
accidental releases of extremely hazardous substances, design and 
maintain a safe facility as needed to prevent such releases, and 
minimize the consequences of releases. In addition, stationary sources 
with more than a threshold quantity of a regulated substance in a 
process are subject to EPA's accident prevention regulations, including 
the requirement to develop a Risk Management Plan (RMP) and submit the 
RMP to EPA (see 40 CFR Part 68). EPA's RMP requirements contain 
accident prevention measures that are virtually identical to those 
within the OSHA PSM standard.
    In addition to the accident prevention requirements common to PSM, 
under 40 CFR Part 68, regulated facilities must perform a hazard 
assessment consisting of worst case and alternative release scenarios 
and a five-year accident history, implement an emergency response 
program, implement a management system, and develop and submit an RMP 
to EPA. Further, 40 CFR Part 112 establishes performance-based training 
requirements that would apply to any facility and covered operation, 
including facility transfers that handle certain chemicals in the 
specific quantities listed in 40 CFR 68.130.

IV. Guidance for Heating of Rail Tank Cars for Unloading or 
Transloading

    Several Federal agencies share responsibility for the safety 
regulations of rail tank car unloading or transloading operations 
involving hazardous material--DOT (PHMSA and FRA), OSHA, and EPA. 
PHMSA, in coordination with OSHA and EPA, and in consultation with FRA, 
is issuing this safety advisory guidance to offer guidance on heating 
of a rail tank car to prepare solidified or viscous hazardous material 
products contained in the rail tank car for unloading or transloading. 
Based on existing regulatory requirements, we have assembled and 
coordinated the following guidance to

[[Page 41856]]

raise awareness of those requirements and the risks associated with 
heating rail tank cars. This guidance does not include all of the 
aspects applicable to the safe heating of rail tanks cars; rather, it 
focuses on the issues raised in the NTSB recommendations as a result of 
its investigations into the two incidents cited above.
    Procedures. The shipper or facility operator, if not the same, 
should develop written safe operating procedures to be used when 
hazardous materials are heated in a rail tank car for unloading or 
transloading. The procedures should, at a minimum, establish hazard 
controls necessary to protect workers, the public, and the environment 
from adverse consequences, and include:
     Detailed information regarding the chemical 
characteristics of the material such as, melting temperature, flash 
point, the degree to which the hazardous material expands as a result 
of heating, and additional risk if the hazardous material reacts with 
air or water.;
     The pressure created by heating the rail tank car at which 
the material may safely be unloaded or transloaded from the rail tank 
car;
     Active monitoring and recordkeeping requirements of the 
internal tank pressure and material temperature during the heating 
process. The heating process should be monitored with time intervals 
(such as hourly) that are dependent upon the nature and history of 
materials being heated;
     Potential consequences of deviations from standard 
operating procedures and how to identify, control and respond to those 
consequences; and
     Training of all entities involved in the unloading or 
transloading process.
    These procedures should be maintained in a location where they are 
immediately available to employees responsible for the heating, 
unloading or transloading operation. These procedures should clearly 
define employees' roles and responsibilities for the heating of a rail 
tank car, as well as the roles and responsibilities of contractor 
personnel that are employed at a facility to conduct the operations for 
heating of a rail tank car.
    Monitoring. The facility operator should be knowledgeable of the 
chemical properties of all of the materials involved in the heating 
process, including the reactivity of those materials, and ensure that 
the heating process (i.e., pressure, temperature, and heating rate) 
applied to the rail tank car, and the pressure and temperature inside 
the rail tank car should be monitored to ensure that it does not result 
in over-pressurization of the rail tank car.
    Monitoring should be conducted at the necessary frequency as 
heating continues until the material reaches its recommended parameters 
(e.g., viscosity and temperature) for safe unloading or transloading. 
Certain chemicals, such as a material that can undergo rapid exothermic 
decomposition, may require more frequent or even continuous monitoring 
during heating. Monitoring of the tank pressure and the temperature of 
the hazardous material includes measures to ensure that the heating 
rate does not result in over pressurization of the rail tank car.
    As an additional aspect of monitoring, the facility operator may, 
when practical and safe, and the physical state of the material allows, 
sample the material that is in the rail tank car to verify the material 
and its chemical and physical properties. The rail tank car contents 
should be monitored at multiple times as heating continues until the 
material is determined to be at its recommended parameters (e.g., 
viscosity and temperature) for safe unloading or transloading.
    Designated Employee. The facility operator should designate an 
employee responsible for monitoring the heating process. Prior to the 
onset of operation, the designated employee should be made thoroughly 
knowledgeable of the nature and properties of the material contained in 
the rail tank car and procedures to be followed in the event of an 
emergency. In the event of an emergency, the designated employee should 
have the ability and authority to take responsive action.
    Training. Hazardous materials employees involved in heating rail 
tank cars for unloading or transloading operations should be trained in 
all aspects of the heating process that each employee is responsible 
for performing. Further, the level of training for each employee should 
correlate with that employee's level of exposure to hazardous materials 
at the facility where rail tank cars are heated for unloading or 
transloading. Please refer to the Section III for a discussion of 
specific training obligations under applicable Federal regulations.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on July 8, 2013, under authority 
delegated in 49 CFR Part 106.
Magdy El-Sibaie,
Associate Administrator for Hazardous Materials Safety.
[FR Doc. 2013-16672 Filed 7-11-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-60-P