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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation P-97-005
Details
Synopsis: ABOUT 8:30 A.M. ON 11/21/96, AN EXPLOSION OCCURRED IN THE HUMBERTO VIDAL SHOE STORE & OFFICE BUILDING AT 100 JOSE DE DIEGO CALLE IN RIO PIEDRAS, PUERTO RICO. LOCAL EMERGENCY AGENCIES RESPONDED & INITIATED SEARCH & RESCUE OPERATIONS, BY 12/5/96 30 FATALITIES HAD BEEN CONFIRMED, & 5 PEOPLE, BELIEVED TO STILL BE IN THE BUILDING RUINS, WERE MISSING. LOCAL AUTHORITIES HAVE SUSPENDED SEARCH EFFORTS UNTIL THE BUILDING CAN BE MADE SAFE FOR RESCUE WORKERS.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE DOT: IMPROVE THE DOT'S PIPELINE SAFETY EVALUATION PROGRAM BY DEVELOPING WRITTEN GUIDANCE & EVALUATION CRITERIA TO ASSIST THE RSPA/OFFICE OF PIPELINE SAFETY PERSONNEL IN OBJECTIVELY EVALUATING STATE PROGRAMS & IN REQUIRING STATES TO PROMPTLY CORRECT IDENTIFIED PROGRAM DEFICIENCIES.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Pipeline
Location: San Juan, PR, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA97MP004
Accident Reports:
San Juan Gas Company, Inc./Enron Corp. Propane Gas Explosion
Report #: PAR-97-01
Accident Date: 11/21/1996
Issue Date: 1/6/1997
Date Closed: 4/5/2001
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: DOT (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: DOT
Date: 4/5/2001
Response: Accordingly, because RSPA has taken the requested action, Safety Recommendation P?97?5 is classified “Closed--Acceptable Action.”

From: DOT
To: NTSB
Date: 2/6/2001
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 02/14/2001 3:02:07 PM MC# 2010111 : In support of the NTSB’s recommendation, RSPA reviewed its written guidance and evaluation criteria. As a result, RSPA added new questions to the State Liaison annual evaluation forms that should provide further clarification and information on compliance actions initiated by the States. The attached Pipeline Safety Programs Evaluation forms are being used by OPS to evaluate state programs during the year 2000. The gas and hazardous liquid program forms address pipeline safety program activities during CY 1999. The forms have been modified to collect and clarify information concerning the following: - written procedures for operator notification when a noncompliance is identified; - conformance with the manual “Guidelines for States Participating in the Pipeline Safety Program;” - mechanisms for routinely reviewing the progress of compliance actions; - use of formal actions, such as “Show Cause Hearing” to correct pipeline safety violations: - adherence to written procedures and adequate documentation on the resolution of probable violations; and - adequate and timely communications to operators about probable violations. We hope that by revising the questions on the annual form, RSPA will be able to better identity any program deficiencies. These forms are reviewed annually and revised as needed to obtain the best available information. If we can be of further assistance, please contact me or Patricia Klinger, Director of External Communications, at (202) 366-4831.

From: NTSB
To: DOT
Date: 7/13/2000
Response: ON 5/25/99, BASED ON INFORMATION IN YOUR LETTER OF 4/21/99, P-97-5 WAS CLASSIFIED "OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE," PENDING FURTHER RESPONSE FROM DOT. THE SAFETY BOARD WOULD APPRECIATE LEARNING OF ANY ACTION TAKEN OR PLANNED TO COMPLY WITH THIS RECOMMENDATION.

From: NTSB
To: DOT
Date: 5/25/1999
Response: THE SAFETY BOARD IS PLEASED THAT RSPA WILL REVIEW THE WRITTEN STATE PROGRAM EVALUATION CRITERIA AND CONSULT WITH SAFETY BOARD STAFF ABOUT IMPROVING THE DOT GUIDANCE MATERIALS. WE UNDERSTAND THAT RSPA MAINTAINS TWO SETS OF GUIDANCE MATERIALS, ONE FOR THE OPS STATE LIAISON REPRESENTATIVES WHO OVERSEE THE PERFORMANCE OF STATE PIPELINE SAFETY PROGRAMS AND ONE FOR STATES THAT PARTICIPATE IN THE OPS PIPELINE SAFETY PROGRAM. THE BOARD ALSO UNDERSTANDS THAT THE GUIDELINES AN PROGRAM EVALUATION FORMS FOR RSPA'S STATE LIAISON REPRESENTATIVES WERE REVISED EXTENSIVELY IN 1997 AND THAT RSPA WANTS TO SHARE THIS INFORMATION WITH THE SAFETY BOARD, ALONG WITH ANY REVISIONS THAT RSPA MAY CONSIDER IN THE 1999 STATE PROGRAM CERTIFICATION PROCESS. IN ADDITION, RSPA WILL PROVIDE THE BOARD WITH COPIES OF THE REVISED CRITERIA AND GUIDANCE MATERIALS AND MEET WITH SAFETY BOARD STAFF TO DISCUSS THESE ISSUES. THE BOARD STAFF CONTACT FOR THIS ISSUE IS MR. BOB CHIPKEVICH, DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF PIPELINE AND HAZARDOUS MATERIALS SAFETY. PENDING A REPLY FROM RSPA, P-97-5 HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED "OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE."

From: DOT
To: NTSB
Date: 4/21/1999
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 4/26/99 4:23:54 PM MC# 990454 TO RESPOND TO YOUR RECOMMENDATION RSPA WILL REVIEW THE WRITTEN STATE PROGRAM EVALUATION CRITERIA AND CONSULT WITH YOUR STAFF TO LISTEN TO ANY SUGGESTIONS THAT NTSB HAS TO IMPROVE OUR GUIDANCE MATERIALS. RSPA MAINTAINS TWO SETS OF GUIDANCE MATERIALS. ONE SET OF GUIDELINES AND ACCOMPANYING EVALUATION FORMS IS FOR OUR OFFICE OF PIPELINE SAFETY (OPS) STATE LIAISON REPRESENTATIVES WHO OVERSEE THE PERFORMANCE OF STATE PIPELINE SAFETY PROGRAMS. EACH STATE PIPELINE SAFETY PROGRAM IS EVALUATED ANNUALLY BY A STATE LIAISON REPRESENTATIVE TO ENSURE ADEQUATE PROGRAM PERFORMANCE. THE PIPELINE SAFETY PROGRAM EVALUATION FORM IS USED TO ASSIGN POINTS TO EACH STATE PROGRAM FOR GENERAL PERFORMANCE, INSPECTION PROCEDURES, AND INCIDENT INVESTIGATIONS. THIS EVALUATION, TOGETHER WITH STATE-SPECIFIC CRITERIA INCLUDED IN THE ANNUAL CERTIFICATION/AGREEMENT PROVIDES THE BASIS FOR DETERMINING EACH STATE'S PIPELINE SAFETY GRANT ALLOCATION AND REQUIRED PROGRAMS IMPROVEMENTS. STATE PROGRAMS RECEIVE ANNUAL CERTIFICATIONS IF THEY MEET SELECT REQUIREMENTS, WHICH INCLUDE PROMPT ADOPTION OF RSPA PIPELINE REGULATIONS, EFFECTIVE ENFORCEMENT, ADEQUATE STAFFING, AND INSPECTOR TRAINING. RSPA'S OTHER SET OF GUIDELINES IS FOR STATES THAT PARTICIPATE IN THE OPS PIPELINE SAFETY PROGRAM. THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF THE GUIDELINES IS TO SPECIFY PROCEDURES FOR STATE PIPELINE SAFETY PROGRAM MANAGERS AND TO PROVIDE CURRENT INFORMATION ON THE REGULATIONS, PROGRAM STANDARDS, AND PROGRAM EVALUATION PROCEDURES REQUIRED BY RSPA. THE GUIDELINES COMMUNICATE TO EACH STATE THE PIPELINE SAFETY PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM AND PARTICIPATION REQUIREMENTS, REGULATORY RESPONSIBILITIES, STAFFING REQUIREMENTS, PROCEDURES FOR INSPECTIONS AND COMPLIANCE, FAILURE INVESTIGATION TECHNIQUES, RECOGNITION OF SAFETY-RELATED CONDITIONS, ONE-CALL PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS, AND STATE AGENCY PROGRAM PERFORMANCE AND RECORD KEEPING REQUIREMENTS. THE GUIDELINES FOR RSPA'S STATE LIAISON REPRESENTATIVES AND THE PROGRAM EVALUATION FORMS WERE REVISED EXTENSIVELY IN 1997. WE WANT TO SHARE THIS INFORMATION WITH THE NTSB ALONG WITH ANY REVISIONS THAT WE MAY CONSIDER IN THE 1999 STATE PROGRAM CERTIFICATION PROCESS. RSPA WILL PROVIDE YOU WITH A COPY OF THE REVISED CRITERIA AND GUIDANCE MATERIALS AND SET UP A MEETING WITH YOUR STAFF TO DISCUSS THESE MATTERS. I BELIEVE THESE ACTIONS WILL START THE PROCESS TO FULLY ADDRESS P-97-5. THEREFORE, I REQUEST THAT YOU CLASSIFY THIS RECOMMENDATION AS "OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE."