Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

November 16, 2006

Report analyzes hazmat training for rail workers

Filed under: Ground Transport Security — by Christian Beckner on November 16, 2006

The group Citizens for Rail Safety released a report yesterday entitled “Training in Hazmat and Rail Security: Current status and Future Needs of Rail Workers and Community Members.” The report examines an issue that I haven’t seen much discussion on in the past few years: the training of rail workers on hazmat-related security issues. This matter is especially critical given the fact that hazmat-carrying railcars that are often stored in non-secured locations for days and weeks, as the report notes in numerous examples. Such railcars prevent a vulnerable target, and when they are located in urban areas (as is often the case), present a dangerous risk. The paper argues for better training of rail workers on hazmat-related issues as a response to this reality, a step that seems a sensible response to this reality.

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1 Comment »

Comment by William R. Cumming

November 16, 2006 @ 6:29 pm

It would be of interest perhaps for readers of the blog to know that efforts to consolidate hazmat training for first responders were attempted in the Presidency of William Jefferson Clinton. This followed up a detailed report sent to Congress in December 1993 on problems in hazmat response. The report was principally authored by EPA but had been assigned to the President for completion. One of the failures of that report was the failure to document those recommendations requiring legislation and those that could be accomplished administratively. Like many Clinton efforts those problems that could have been resolved administratively were passed on to Congress. Those issues that should have been resolved by Congress are still unresolved. This is an issue and review that desperately should be given a priorty by the new Congress by assigning GAO to review that report a decade and more later and determine what needs to be done by Congress and what by the Executive Branch. The issues in the report directly impact the response to any incident/event involving terrorism and hazmats. By the way HAZMAT training issues in DOT are primarily the responsibility of the Research and Special Projects Administration. A largely overworked and understaffed federal component.

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