FRA issues liquefied petroleum gas advisory for tank cars

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Washington – The Federal Railroad Administration on April 13 released a safety advisory (.pdf file) for hazardous materials rail shippers intended to ensure tank cars carrying liquefied petroleum gas maintain sufficient levels of odorization throughout the shipping cycle.

According to the advisory, end users may be unable to detect the presence of LPG in tank cars if its odorant levels diminish or disappear over time. Diminished or absent levels of LPG odorant have been linked to injuries and fatalities from LPG leaks at construction sites. The agency provides the following recommendations:

  • All loading, receiving and off-loading railroad facilities that handle LPG should use quantitative testing procedures to ensure proper odorant amounts.
  • Tank cars that do not consistently house LPG should be tested for odorant levels before reusing for LPG.
  • Personnel should inspect tank cars for damage or corrosion, which can contribute to odorant loss.
  • Loading facilities should increase the amount of odorant injected based on the length of a tank car shipping cycle.

Additionally, shippers and receivers are encouraged to review all applicable LPG odorant fade standards based on their type to guard against hazardous materials incidents.

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