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TTD Welcomes Final Train Consist Rule to Improve Hazmat Communications for First Responders

By Admin

WASHINGTON – Greg Regan, President of the Transportation Trades Department (TTD) of the AFL-CIO, issued the following statement after the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a final rule that requires railroads to provide first responders with electronic real-time train consist information about the transportation of hazardous materials in their communities:

“As the nation’s largest transportation labor federation, representing unionized railroaders, firefighters, and first responders, we applaud PHMSA for this effort to provide emergency personnel with timely, accurate, and actionable information about the transportation of hazardous materials by rail.

“Prior to this rule, emergency personnel have only been able to rely on physical documentation about hazardous materials. All too often, this leads to delays when responding to a rail accident or safety incident. For example, first responders did not get access to the train consist information until nearly one hour after the hazardous train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio last year.

“Because response strategies hinge on the type of hazardous material involved in an accident or incident, such delays can be deadly and inherently endanger train crews, responding fire fighters and other emergency personnel, in addition to the surrounding community. Therefore, accurate and readily available train consist information is vital to enable emergency personnel to appropriately respond to train derailments and other incidents, particularly when hazardous materials are involved. We are pleased that PHMSA is taking an important step forward to address this safety concern.

“Safety for railroad employees, first responders, and communities must always be the highest priority. We look forward to our continued collaboration with the Biden Administration to improve rail transportation safety for all.”