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Sabotage Suspected in Oil Train Derailment

Posted on 6/22/2021 by Roger Marks

A representative of a rail workers union told investigators that sabotage was the cause of the derailment of seven rail cars carrying crude oil in Washington State last year.

A union safety team representative reportedly said: “We know from the FBI investigation, from how trains operate, how trains work, how the couplers work, how the pin lifters work, that this incident was caused without a doubt by sabotage.” AP News has more on this story.

While an investigation into the derailment is ongoing, the incident is a reminder to shippers and carriers to remain vigilant about ensuring the security of hazardous materials in transportation.

Hazardous Materials Security Awareness

Hazardous materials shipments are tempting targets for criminals and terrorists. Releases of hazardous materials can endanger lives, cause immense property damage, disrupt supply chains, and jam up transportation for vast numbers of people.

To help ensure hazmat security, US DOT requires all “hazmat employees” to complete security awareness training as part of the initial and recurrent hazmat training. US DOT requires all hazmat employees to complete hazmat training, including hazmat security awareness training, within 90 days of hire date or transfer to a hazmat job role.

Recurrent training is required once every three years (49 CFR 172.704).

In-depth Security Planning for Hazardous Materials

Shippers that offer high-consequence hazardous materials are required to maintain an in-depth security plan. Hazmat employees must be trained understand their role under that plan and fulfill their responsibilities.

Who Needs a DOT Security Plan?

The regulations at 49 CFR 172.802 specify the requirements (e.g., triggers and content) for a cargo security plan. At a minimum, the plan must address personnel security, unauthorized access, and en route security. It must also include a plan for training hazmat employees per 49 CFR 172.704.

Certain rail carriers are subject to additional safety and security planning requirements, including analysis of rail transportation routes to identify safety and security risks along the route (see 49 CFR 172.820).

Trusted Hazmat Training to Ship by Highway, Air, Vessel, or Rail

Maintain your 49 CFR, IATA DGR, and IMDG Code hazmat certifications with Lion's other reliable, interactive 300-level online hazmat courses: 

Hazmat Ground Shipper Certification (DOT)
Hazmat Air Shipper Certification (IATA)
Hazmat Vessel Shipper Certification (IMDG)


The Shipping Hazmat by Ground–Additional Rail Requirements online course will expand on your 49 CFR highway shipping expertise and introduce the latest unique rules for rail shipments. The course provides critical function-specific training for hazmat employees who prepare or offer hazmat shipments by rail.

Tags: crude oil, DOT compliance, hazmat security, hazmat security awareness, hazmat shipping

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