Federal agencies Hazard communication Rail Transportation

Railroad rule requires real-time reporting of hazmat info

Photo: Douglas Sacha/gettyimages

Washington — A new rule requires railroads to “proactively provide” real-time electronic information about hazmat shipments to 911 call centers or emergency responder mobile apps as soon as they become aware of an incident.

Published by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the final rule is set to go into effect July 24.

Railroads will be required to generate – in hard-copy and electronic versions – real-time information that includes the quantity and position of the materials on the train, the train’s origin and destination, emergency response information, and a designated emergency point of contact at the railroad.

“In a hazmat incident, firefighters and first responders arriving on the scene need to know what kind of hazardous materials are present so they can protect themselves and their communities,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a press release.

Buttigieg’s statement echoes feedback from firefighters who responded to the February 2023 train derailment in East Palestine, OH.

According to the release, PHMSA has distributed its 2024 Emergency Response Guidebook to nearly 2 million first responders across the country.

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