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2/25/2014 DOT Issues New Rules on Rail Shipments of Crude Oil

A poster depicting hazmat classifications in blue, red, yellow and white

Hazmat Classifications

Following a series of train derailments leading to evacuations and fires,  the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) [on Tuesday, February 25, 2014]  issued an Emergency Order requiring all shippers to test product from the Bakken region to ensure the proper classification of crude oil before it is transported by rail, while also prohibiting the transportation of crude oil in the lowest-strength packing group.

Shippers are required to use nine hazard classes as a guide to properly classify their hazardous materials. Proper classification will ensure that the material is placed in the proper package and that the risk is accurately communicated to emergency responders. Shipping crude oil – or any hazardous material – without proper testing and classification could result in material being shipped in containers that are not designed to safely store it, or could lead first responders to follow the wrong protocol when responding to a spill.

Bloomberg: The agency’s order follows a series of derailments and explosions involving trains carrying crude from the Bakken shale in North Dakota and Montana.

Hazmat Classifications: In CERT training, unlicensed and uncertified responders are told that if “you see any high numbers of any placards, run, don’t walk away from the overturned/disabled vehicle. For first responders, here is the Guidebook for First Responders During the Initial Phase of a Dangerous Goods/Hazardous Materials Transportation Incident.

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