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TC's proposed changes to regulations on the transportation of dangerous goods

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10 February 2013

Ms. Geneviève Sansoucy
Legislation and Regulations
Transport Dangerous Goods Directorate
Transport Canada
Place de Ville, Tower C
9th Floor
330 Sparks Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0N5

Dear Ms. Sansoucy:

Re: Proposed Regulatory Changes, Canada Gazette Part I, January 11, 2014

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) has reviewed the proposed regulatory changes amending the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations as published in the Canada Gazette Part I on January 11, 2014. We hereby submit our representations on the proposed regulatory changes.

First, the TSB fully supports the proposed Regulations pertaining to the documentation of proof of classification and of the sampling method of dangerous goods. The TSB also fully supports the new requirement for the consignor's certification on the shipping documents. We believe that the proposed Regulations address the safety concerns identified by the TSB in its safety advisory letter issued on September 11, 2013. We encourage Transport Canada to act quickly in finalizing and implementing these proposed Regulations.

With respect to the introduction of new standards for rail tank cars used for the transportation of petroleum crude oil and ethanol, the TSB is of the opinion that the proposed Regulations do not adequately address the proven safety deficiencies with DOT-111 tank cars. The TSB is concerned that the proposed standard TP14877 (or equivalent PHMSA Petition P-1577 in the U.S.) does not go far enough to mitigate the risks of tank cars being damaged and releasing their contents during an accident.

In the Lac-Mégantic investigation, the TSB found that 95% of the tank cars were breached, releasing about 5.98 million litres of crude oil, which ignited in a large pool fire that burned for days. The risks are documented in the TSB's recommendations issued on January 23, 2014 which provides a detailed analysis of the safety issues relating to DOT-111 tank cars.

The TSB questions whether the standard that is now being proposed is robust enough to ensure new tank cars will adequately mitigate the risks of carriage of large quantities of flammable liquids. The TSB believes that Transport Canada should reconsider the proposed standards with the aim of ensuring tank cars used to transport flammable liquids meet enhanced protection standards that will significantly reduce the risk of product loss when these cars are involved in an accident.

The TSB directs Transport Canada's attention to the Association of American Railroads and the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association expression of support for even more stringent standards for tank cars used to transport flammable liquids. The TSB believes that these more stringent standards should be seriously considered, as they would provide a higher level of risk mitigation. For example, a requirement for full height head shields rather than half height would further minimize the risk of head puncture in a derailment.

The TSB is also concerned that the proposed Regulations apply only to newly-manufactured tank cars and will not require the replacement or upgrade of all DOT-111 tank cars currently in use for the transportation of flammable liquids. The TSB strongly believes that all DOT-111 tank cars used to transport flammable liquids should meet enhanced protection standards and that the required changes should made as soon as possible in order to reduce the known risks. In essence, the TSB believes that regulators should establish a firm deadline for the replacement or upgrade of all DOT-111 tank cars used to transport flammable liquids.

Should you have any questions about the TSB representations on this matter, please do not hesitate to contact Mr. Kirby Jang, Director Rail/Pipeline Investigations, at 819-953-6470.

Yours sincerely,

Original signed by

Wendy A. Tadros

Louis Lévesque,
Deputy Minister,
Transport Canada