Posts Tagged ‘transportation safety’

NS Honors 55 Chemical Shippers for Safety

April 12, 2017

Fifty-five companies have received the 2016 Thoroughbred Chemical Safety Award from Norfolk Southern in recognition of their safe handling of hazardous materials products.

NS said the companies safely shipped 208,503 carloads of chemical products in 2016.

In a news release, the railroad said chemical manufacturers and plants are recognized if they ship at least 1,000 carloads of hazardous products over the NS network without a single incident during the year.

NS is a participant in the American Chemistry Council’s Responsible Care Partner Program, which sets standards to identify, reduce, and manage process risks from the environmental, health, safety, and security perspectives.

Shippers earning the 2016 Thoroughbred Chemical Safety Award included:

Altivia Petrochemicals; Apex Terminal; ArcelorMittal USA; Archer Daniels Midland, Decatur, Illinois., plant; Ascend Performance Materials LLC; BP Products North America Inc.; Buckeye Partners L.P.; Cargill Inc.; Chemtrade Logistics Inc.; CHS Inc.; Covestro LLC; Crestwood Equity Partners LP; Delaware City Refining LLC, Reybold, Delaware, plant; Elbow River Marketing Ltd.; ERCO Worldwide; ExxonMobil Chemical Company; Flint Hill Resources LP; Formosa Plastics Corporation U.S.A.; Green Plains Inc.; Horsehead Corporation; Hunt Refining Co. Inc.; INVISTA S.à r.l; Imperial Oil Limited; Irving Oil;

Kemira Chemicals Inc.; Kemira Water Solutions Inc.; Lima Refining Company (Husky); Linde LLC; Marathon Petroleum Co. LP; Marquis Energy LLC; Midwest Terminals of Toledo; NGL Energy Partners LP; Norfalco Sales, Glencore Canada Corporation; NOVA Chemicals Corporation; Nucor Corp.; Olin Corporation; One Earth Energy LLC; Pacific Ethanol Pekin; Paulsboro Refining Company, Paulsboro, N.J., plant; Phillips 66; Plains Midstream Canada ULC; Plains Marketing Van Hook Crude Terminal; Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan; Reagent Chemical & Research Inc.;

Shintech Inc.; Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy LLC; Sunbelt Chlor Alkali Partnership; Sunoco Partners Marketing & Terminals; The Chemours Company FC LLC; The Dow Chemical Company; The International Group Inc.; TransMontaigne Product Services Inc.; United Refining Company; Valero Energy Corporation; and Vopak Terminal Savannah.

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NTSB Acting Chairman Named

March 20, 2017

Bella Dinh-Zarr has been named as acting chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board after the term of incumbent Chairman Christopher Hart expired last week.

Hart remains a member of the five-member board and had served as chairman since March 2015.

He had served as acting chairman for nearly a year before being nominated by the Obama administration to be the permanent chairman.

Dinh-Zarr has served as vice chairman since March 2015. Before joining the NTSB, she served as director of the U.S. Office of the FIA Foundation, an international philanthropy organization that promotes safe and sustainable transportation.
NTSB members are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate for five-year terms. By law, a board member is designated by the president to be the chairman while another is designated to be the vice chairman for two-year terms.

‘Accident’ or ‘Crash?’ Both Might Be Accurate Terms But Don’t Quite Mean the Same Thing

April 20, 2016

As a professional writer, I pay close attention to the words I use to convey information and express thoughts.

Hence, I took an interest in a recent discussion on a railfan chat list in the wake of an incident in which an Amtrak train struck a backhoe 15 miles south of Philadelphia.

Two Amtrak maintenance-of-way workers were killed and 30 passengers aboard the train suffered minor injuries.

The online discussion focused, in part, on the use of the word “accident” to describe what happened.

On TransportationA poster in the thread asserted that because events such as the one in which the train struck the backhoe are preventable many in the railroad and regulatory fields now call them collisions or crashes rather than accidents.

That’s because the word “accident” suggests that no one was at fault.

If the two construction workers had been killed after being struck by a meteor, that would be an accident because no rules were violated and, hence, no one was at fault. It would have been the proverbial act of God.

The poster was correct that the incident involving the backhoe was preventable. A piece of construction equipment doesn’t just happen to find its way onto a railroad track over which trains are operating at better than 100 miles per hour.

Someone made a mistake. A rule was violated and it is often said that every rule in every rule book of every railroad is written in blood.

But does that meant that if a rules violation leads to injury or death that it is not an accident, but a collision, a crash, or even an incident?

I would describe it as an accident because the event was unintentional.

The operator of the backhoe did not go to work intending to be struck and killed by a train.

The engineer of the train did not go to work intending to strike a piece of construction equipment and kill someone.

The passengers didn’t board the train intending to suffer personal injury.

It will be several months before the National Transportation Safety Board issues a final report that will specify which rule or rules were violated by whom and how.

Once the NTSB report is released, there may be some discussion about the adequacy of the rules and/or how they are practiced. Some might call for a revision of the rules in the name of safer practices.

In the meantime, the Federal Railroad Administration has ordered Amtrak to review its safety practices and retrain its workers.

All of this is oriented toward creating and maintaining an environment in which there are zero injuries and fatalities.

That is unlikely to occur so long as that environment involves humans because people are subject to such things as forgetfulness, lack of knowledge of the rules and procedures, lack of skill in following the rules and procedures, and engaging in poor judgment.

The business of assessing fault has consequences that transcend what caused the incident and what rule(s) were violated by whom.

Jobs might be lost, careers destroyed and thousands, if not millions, of dollars must be paid to repair damaged equipment and property, not to mention paying the medical costs for making the injured whole again.

Someone has to pay for those costs and the determination of who is fault goes a long way toward identifying who those people and companies will be.

In that context, whether the event is framed as an “accident” or a “crash” could be important in how that determination is ultimately made.

Such frames guide how people, including judges and juries in a court of law, think about what occurred and make decisions as to who owes what and how much to whom.

On the surface, the words used to describe an event might seem to be a trivial matter.

Arguably, “accident,” “crash” and “collision” all accurately describe the same thing.

Yet there can be subtle differences in how the meanings of those words are perceived and that might make a significant difference in sorting out the aftermath.