Feds move to increase rail safeguards

The federal government is looking to increase safety in the transportation of dangerous goods.

The federal government is looking to increase safety in the transportation of dangerous goods as more oil and other hazardous materials are transported by rail.

MP David Wilks further explained the move.

“Some of the regulations that will be proposed by the government will tighten up the requirements for the railways to ensure that dangerous goods are handled in a responsible manner,” he said adding that the stiffer regulations and penalties would put a lot more onus on the rail companies to ensure proper mechanisms are in place to prevent an incident like the one that occurred in Lac-Mégantic in early July.

“We want to ensure that those things never happen again,” Wilks said.

He said things like braking systems and leaving engines on while unattended will be be brought up to a higher standard than today’s standard.

Transport Canada said there are over 30 million shipments of dangerous goods making that make their way across Canada every year, with 99.9 per cent making it to their destination without incident.

Minister of Transport Lisa Raitt issued a directive that requires any person who imports or transports crude oil to conduct classification tests on crude oil. This, it is hoped, will further enhance safety in the transportation of dangerous goods.

“Our government remains committed to taking action to protect public safety, and we will take targeted action to increase the safety of the transportation of dangerous goods,” Minister Raitt said last week. “We are continuing to do that today with the issuance of this protective direction.”

The new direction, which takes effect immediately deals with any person who imports or transports crude oil. To meet the guidelines they must:

• Conduct classification testing of any crude oil being classified as UN 1267 or UN 1993, which has not undergone classification testing since July 7, 2013;

• Make those tests results available to Transport Canada upon request;

• Update their Safety Data Sheets and immediately provide them to Transport Canada’s Canadian Transport Emergency Centre;

• Until such testing is completed, ship all such crude oil as Class 3 Flammable Liquid Packing Group I, when shipping by rail.

Transport Canada is working with the Transportation Safety Board as it continues its investigation into the Lac-Mégantic disaster. Transport Canada is building upon the safety advisories received from the Transportation Safety Board and is further enhancing the safety of railway operations and dangerous goods transportation in Canada.

The Transport Canada investigation following the accident in Lac-Mégantic is still ongoing.