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About 2:15 p.m., central daylight time, on May 1, 2001, a northbound tractor, in combination with a semitrailer that had horizontally mounted cylinders filled with compressed hydrogen, which is a flammable gas, struck a northbound pickup truck that had veered in front of the tractor-semitrailer on U.S. Highway 75, 2 miles south of Ramona, Oklahoma. According to witnesses, the tractor-semitrailer then went out of control and overturned while continuing along the highway. It went off the road to the east and traveled 300 more feet before it stopped. During the process, some of the cylinders, valves, piping, and fittings at the rear of the semitrailer were damaged and released hydrogen. The hydrogen ignited and burned the rear of the semitrailer. In the meantime, the pickup truck had also run off road. The pickup truck's fuel line ruptured, resulting in the truck being destroyed by fire.
TO THE RESEARCH AND SPECIAL PROGRAMS ADMINISTRATION: Revise the information about hydrogen in the North American Emergency Response Guidebook so that it specifically identifies the unique chemical and flammability properties of hydrogen.
Original recommendation transmittal letter:
Closed - Acceptable Action
RAMONA, OK, United States
Release and Ignition of Hydrogen Following the Collision Between a Tractor/Semitrailer with Horizontally Mounted Cylinders and a Pickup Truck
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status:
RSPA (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Safety Recommendation History
In its 4/14/2006 report to Congress, "National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and DOT Office of Inspector General (OIG): Open Safety Recommendations on Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety," the DOT wrote:PHMSA. in cooperation with FMCSA and industry, incorporated expanded guidance material in the recently published 2004 Emergency Response Guide. Issued a letter to NTSB on December 28, 2004 requesting classification as "Closed, Acceptable Action." NTSB closed recommendation on April 1, 2005.
The Safety Board notes that on September 4, 2004, RSPA published and distributed the 2004 North American Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG) to all States for distribution to emergency responders. Because the 2004 ERG Guide 115 now contains information on the difficulty of detecting and extinguishing hydrogen-fueled fires, as recommended, Safety Recommendation H-02-25 is classified "Closed--Acceptable Action."
Letter Mail Controlled 1/5/2005 2:06:48 PM MC# 2040742 On September 4, 2004, RSPA published and distributed the 2004 Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG) to all states for distribution to emergency responders. The emergency response guidebook is published quadrennially in three languages (English, French and Spanish). The ERG is available on RSPA's website at http://hazmat.dot.gov. Specific information about the unique chemical and flammability properties of hydrogen has been incorporated. The information is on Guide 115, since Hydrogen, compressed (ID No. 1049) is assigned to Guide 115. The information appears in two sections of Guide 115, as follows: 1. Under POTENTIAL HAZARDS, in the section on FIRE OR EXPLOSION, the caution statement states: Vapors from liquefied gas are initially heavier than air and spread along ground. CAUTION: Hydrogen (UN1049), Deuterium (UN1957) and Methane (UN1971) are lighter than air and will rise. Hydrogen and Deuterium fires are difficult to detect since they burn with an invisible flame. Use an alternate method of detection (thermal camera, broom handle, etc.) 2. Under EMERGENCY RESPONSE, in the section on FIRE, the caution statement states: DO NOT EXTINGUISH A LEAKING GAS FIRE UNLESS LEAK CAN BE STOPPED. CAUTION: Hydrogen (UN1049) and Deuterium (UN1957) burn with an invisible flame. RSPA believes the addition of the hydrogen information and publication and distribution of the ERG satisfy safety recommendation H-02-25. Based upon this information, I request that you close this recommendation as "Closed--Acceptable Action."
The Safety Board notes that RSPA agrees with the intent of these recommendations. The Board also notes that RSPA met with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Compressed Gas Association (CGA) in an effort to consult and cooperate with these organizations in addressing the recommendations. The Board recognizes that as a result of these meetings, the CGA has established a special task force under their Docket 02-19, "Development of Performance Standards for Tube Trailers," and the FMCSA is considering an appropriate expansion of its enforcement program to include tube-trailer manufacturers and assemblers. RSPA indicates that it views the work required to address Safety Recommendations H-02-23 through -25 as a multi-year effort, culminating in rulemaking, and that it is committed to continuing its consultation and cooperation with the FMCSA and the CGA to fully satisfy these safety recommendations. The Safety Board commends RSPA for its dedication to improving the safety of horizontally mounted tube cylinders that transport hazardous materials. Pending notice that this task has been completed, Safety Recommendations H-02-23 through -25 are classified "Open--Acceptable Response."
Letter Mail Controlled 01/22/2003 5:18:20 PM MC# 2030054 RSPA agrees with the thrust of your recommendations. Prior to the issuance of your letter and final report we took proactive measures to contact both the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Compressed Gas Association (CGA) to discuss possible action plans and tasks to address the issues surrounding the incident. As a result of those discussions, CGA has established a special task force under their Docket 02- 19, Development of Performance Standards for Tube Trailers. Their work will be monitored and reviewed for possible incorporation in the Hazardous Materials Regulations. We also understand that FMCSA is considering appropriate expansion of its enforcement program to include tube trailer manufacturers and assemblers. The changes suggested to the North American Emergency Response Guidebook (NAERG) will be considered for inclusion in the 2004 Edition. We recognize that the work required to address the concerns of the NTSB will require a multi-year effort, culminating in rulemaking. We are committed to continuing our consultation and cooperation as we resolve the issues identified in these safety recommendations, and will keep your informed of our progress. We request that you classify recommendations H-02-23 through H-02-25 as "Open-Acceptable Action."
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