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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-87-047
Details
Synopsis: AT 4:25 P.M. E.D.T., ON JULY 8, 1986, 15 CARS OF A SOUTH BOUND BALTIMORE AND OHIO RAILROAD COMPANY FREIGHT TRAIN CONSISTING OF 44 CARS AND A LOCOMOTIVE, DERAILED WHILE TRAVELING AT 45 MPH NEAR MIAMISBURG, OHIO. THREE OF THE 15 DERAILED CARS WERE TANK CARS CONTAINING YELLOW PHOS PHORUS, MOLTEN SULFUR, AND TALLOW. WHILE DERAILING ON A BRIDGE, THESE TANK CARS WERE EXTENSIVELY DAMAGED, LOST PRODUCT, AND WERE INVOLVED IN THE RESULTING FIRE. APPROX IMATELY 7,000 RESIDENTS FROM A SECTION OF MIAMISBURG WERE INITIALLY EVACUATED AS A SAFETY PRECAUTION. ON THE FOL LOWING DAY AS A WRECKAGE-CLEARING CREW CONTRACTED BY THE RAILROAD WAS PREPARING TO REMOVE THE SMOLDERING PHOSPHORUS TANK CAR, A CONCRETE STRUCTURE SUPPORTING THE TANK CAR COL LAPSED AND SEVERAL HUNDRED GALLONS OF MOLTEN PHOSPHORUS IN SIDE THE TANK CAR ESCAPED AND IGNITED, RESULTING IN AN EX TENSIVE CLOUD OF PHOSPHORUS COMBUSTION EFFLUENTS. DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS, A 3-SQUARE-MILE AREA OF MONTGOMERY COUN TY, OHIO, WAS EVACUATED, FORCING AN ESTIMATED 30,000 PEOPLE TO LEAVE THEIR HOMES AND BUSINESSES; 569 PERSON WERE TREATED FOR VARIOUS COMPLAINTS DURING THE INCIDENT. TOTAL PROPERTY DAMAGE WAS APPROXIMATELY $3,540,000, INCLUDING THE COST OF HAZARDOUS MATERIALS CLEANUP.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION: DEFINE EXPLICITLY THOSE AUTHORITIES CONCERNING TANK CAR SAFETY DELEGATED TO THE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN RAILROADS AND ESTABLISH PROCEDURES GOVERNING THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THESE DELEGATED AUTHORITIES.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Railroad
Location: Miamisburg, OH, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA86HZ003
Accident Reports: Derailment of CSX Transportation Extra 7614​​Hazardous Materials Release Following the Derailment of Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company Train No. SLFR
Report #: HZM-87-01
Accident Date: 7/8/1986
Issue Date: 10/16/1987
Date Closed: 12/5/1994
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FRA (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s): Hazmat

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 12/5/1994
Response: THE BOARD CONCURS THAT THE AUTHORITIES DELEGATED TO THE AAR ARE SUFFICIENTLY DEFINED & DESCRIBED IN 49 CFR 179.3, IN SECTION 1.4 OF THE AAR'S MANUAL OF STANDARDS & PRACTICES--SPECIFICATIONS FOR TANK CARS, & IN THE FRA'S 1990 REPORT ON FEDERAL OVERSIGHT OF THE DESIGN, CONSTRUCTION, & REPAIR OF TANK CARS. FURTHER, THE BOARD NOTES THAT THE FRA'S ACTIVE PARTICIPATION IN THE AAR'S TANK CAR COMMITTEE MEETINGS HAS PROVIDED POSITIVE OVERSIGHT OF SAFETY ISSUES & ACTIVITIES ADDRESSED BY THE COMMITTEE. THEREFORE, R-87-47 IS CLASSIFIED "CLOSED--ACCEPTABLE ACTION."

From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 9/8/1994
Response: THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION HAS DESIGNATED THE AAR AS THE APPROVAL AGENCY FOR ISSUSING APPROVAL CERTIFICATES OF TANK CARS THAT ARE DESIGNED, MANUFACTURED, TESTED, & MAINTAINED IN ACCORDANCE WITH ALL FEDERAL REQUIREMENTS. IN FACT, THE AAR MUST GRANT APPROVAL OF AN APPLICATION, WHEN IN THE OPINION OF THE AAR TANK COMMITTEE, THE DESIGN OF A TANK & EQUIPMENT ARE IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE EFFECTIVE REGULATIONS (49 CFR 173.3). THE AAR MAY NOT ISSUE AN APPROVAL CERTIFICATE FOR ANY DESIGN OR REPAIR THAT IS NOT IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE REGULATIONS. THE BOARD'S RECOMMENDATION SUGGESTS THAT THE FRA EXPLICITLY DEFINE THE PROCEDURES FOR THE AAR IN CARRYING OUT ITS DESIGNATED APPROVAL RESPONSIBILITY. THE FRA BELIEVES THAT THESE PROCEDURES ARE CURRENTLY WELL DEFINED IN 49 CFR SECTION 179.3, IN FRA'S REPORT ON TANK CARS [REPORT ON TANK CARS; FEDERAL OVERSIGHT OF DESIGN, CONSTRUCTION, & REPAIR, SEPTEMBER 1990, (FRA/RSPA ASSESSMENT TASK FORCE)] (ISSUED SHORTLY AFTER THE BOARD'S RECOMMENDATION), & IN SECTION 1.4 OF THE AAR'S MANUAL OF STANDARDS & RECOMMENDED PRACTICES - SPECIFICATIONS FOR TANK CARS. IN FRA'S REPORT ON TANK CARS, FRA LISTED EACH REGULATION REFERENCING THE NEED FOR AAR APPROVAL & FURTHER EXPLAINED THE APPLICATION OF THE AAR'S APPROVAL RESPONSIBILITY. IN THE AAR'S MANUAL OF STANDARDS & RECOMMENDED PRACTICES - SPECIFICATION FOR TANK CARS, SECTION 1.4 HAS OVER 25 PAGES OF PROCEDAURES, INSTRUCTIONS, 7 FORMS FOR SECURING APPROVAL OF TANK DESIGNS & EQUIPMENT. THE FRA BELIEVES THAT THE DEPARTMENT'S REGULATIONS, THE FRA REPORT ON TANK CARS, & THE AAR MANUAL EXPLICITLY EXPLAIN THE AAR REQUIREMENTS FOR ISSUING APPROVAL CERTIFICATES.

From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 5/15/1992
Response: THE SAFETY BOARD NOTES THAT THE FRA AND THE AAR HAVE IMPROVED COMMUNICATIONS AND COOPERATION, THAT THE FRA HAS THE NEEDED ACCESSIBILITY TO AAR RECORDS, REPORTS, AND FILES, AND THAT THE FRA'S "REPORT ON TANK CARS" PROVIDES A THOROUGH REVIEW OF THE DOT'S OVERSIGHT OF TANK CAR CONSTRUCTION. THESE ACTIONS CONTRIBUTE TO AND ARE NECESSARY FOR THE EFFECTIVE DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY. HOWEVER, THE SAFETY BOARD DOES NOT BELIEVE THAT THESE ACTIONS ALONE EXPLICITLY DEFINE THE AUTHORITIES DELEGATED TO THE AAR. ALTHOUGH, AS YOU HAVE STATED, A FORMAL AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE FRA AND THE AAR MAY NOT BE NECESSARY, THE SAFETY BOARD NEVERTHELESS BELIEVES THAT THE DELEGATED AUTHORITIES NEED TO BE LISTED AND DESCRIBED IN WRITTEN FORM.

From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 11/26/1991
Response: ON JANUARY 8, 1991, THE SAFETY BOARD PLACED THIS RECOMMENDATION IN "OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE" STATUS PENDING COMPLETION OF A FORMAL DOCUMENT. THE FRA'S "REPORT ON TANK CARS" LISTED EACH DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY FOUND THROUGHOUT THE HAZARDOUS MATERIALS REGULATIONS. THOSE DELEGATIONS FORM THE BASIS FOR AAR ACTIONS THAT ARE CONTINUALLY UNDER REVIEW BY THE FRA. MOREOVER, THE FRA AND AAR HAVE REFORMED THE LINES OF COMMUNICATION AND COOPERATION THAT PREVIOUSLY STIFLED THE FUNCTIONING OF A PROPER DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY. LIKEWISE, THE FRA'S ACCESSIBILITY TO AAR RECORDS, REPORTS, AND FILES IS OF NO CONCERN. BASED ON THESE IMPROVEMENT, THE FRA SEES NO PRESENT NEED FOR A FORMAL AGREEMENT. THE FRA REQUESTS THAT THE BOARD PLACE THIS RECOMMENDATION IN "CLOSED--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE" STATUS.

From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 1/8/1991
Response:

From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 7/3/1990
Response: FRA responded on May 21, 1990, submitting responses on each recommendation based on the findings from our tank car assessment. The "Report On Tank Cars' addresses all of these recommendations. The staff group agreed that the material discussed should lead to closing these recommendations based on acceptable action.

From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 5/21/1990
Response: THE DEPARTMENT, LIKE THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION BEFORE IT, HAS DELEGATED AUTHORITY TO THE TCC TO REVIEW APPLICATIONS FOR CONSTRUCTION OR MODIFICATION, AND APPROVE OR DENY THEM BASES ON THEIR CONSISTENCY WITH DOT REGULATIONS. THE TCC WAS ALSO DELEGATED AUTHORITY, IN MORE THAN ONE HUNDRED INDIVIDUAL SUBSECTIONS OF THE REGULATIONS, TO APPROVE FITTINGS, ATTACHMENTS, MATERIALS AND PROCEDURES; THE SPECIFIC SUBSECTIONS ARE LISTED IN APPENDIX C OF THE REPORT. THE TCC HAS BOARD AUTHORITY TO IMPLEMENT DOT REGULATIONS ON REPAIR AND RETROFIT; IN ADDITION, IT CERTIFIES THOSE FACILITIES WHICH ARE QUALIFIED TO PERFORM CONSTRUCTION/ REPAIR SERVICES. THE "AUTHORITIES CONCERNING TANK CAR SAFETY" ARE NOT DELEGATED TO THE AAR. FINAL POLICY JUDE MENTS IN ALL INSTANCES LIE WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPOR TATION, ACTING THROUGH FRA AND RSPA. THE SEEMINGLY CON FLICTING ROLES PLAYED BY THE TANK CAR COMMITTEE, THAT OF TECHNICALLY EXPERT COUNSELOR ON ONE HAND AND MINISTERIAL IMPLEMENTOR ON THE OTHER, WERE EXAMINED BY THE TASK FORCE AND FOUND TO BE COMPATIBLE. WHAT WAS LACKING WAS THE KIND OF PRECISE DOCUMENTATION NECESSARY IN A RELATIONSHIP OF RESPONSIVE ACCOUNTABILITY. THE DEPARTMENT FOUND, AS THE TASK FORCE CARRIED OUT ITS FIELD WORK AND AS THE REPORT WAS IN THE DRAFTING AND AGENCY CLEARANCE PROCESS, THAT THE AAR HAD ALREADY ACTED TO INITIATE CHANGES AIMED AT RESOLVING FRA/RSPA CONCERNS ABOUT PRACTICES DISCOVERED DURING THE ASSESSMENT. TCC RECORDS ARE BECOMING MORE COMPLETE NOW AND THE CONTROVERSY ABOUT ACCESSIBILITY TO MEETINGS AND RECORDS DEALING WITH DELEGATED FUNCTIONS IS RESOLVED. THESE IMPROVEMENTS LED THE ASSESSMENT TEAM NOT TO MAKE RECOMMEN DATION ABOUT ESTABLISHING INDEPENDENT, THIRD-PARTY, INSPEC TORS TO EXAMINE EITHER REPAIR PROCESSES OR COMPLETED CARS. THIS IMPROVED RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN DOT AND TCC, CHARACTER IZED BY ACTIVE OVERSIGHT BY FRA/RSPA AND VASTLY INCREASED OPENNESS FROM THE TANK CAR COMMITTEE, HAS NOT YET BEEN REDUCED TO WRITING, A DELIBERATE DECISION BY DOT TO ENCOURGE CONTINUED IMPROVEMENTS. NEITHER THE DEPARTMENT (NOR AAR) WANT TO MEMORIALIZE LESS THAN THE BEST, MOST PRODUCTIVE RELATIONSHIP POSSIBLE.