Hazmat Safety Advisory: Flammable Liquids by Rail

Posted on 3/31/2023 by Roger Marks

US DOT PHMSA, together with the Federal Rail Administration (FRA), issued a hazardous materials Safety Advisory related to DOT-111 specification rail tank cars in flammable liquid service recently.

The advisory follows the derailment and large hazardous materials release in East Palestine, OH on February 3, and several (less severe) incidents involving hazmat on the rails in the two months since.

The notice, issued on March 22, reminds the regulated community that concerns exist about the DOT-111 tank car's ability to survive an incident without a breach/hazmat release. Those concerns led PHMSA (and the FRA) to begin a phase-out and/or mandatory retro-fit schedule for DOT-111 tank cars years ago, which is still ongoing. 

The hazmat safety advisory urges tank car owners and/or shippers to: 

  • Voluntarily replace their DOT-111 tank cars with “the newest, and safest, available tank car design authorized for flammable liquid service—the DOT-117 specification tank car.” 

  • Follow the requirements for high-hazard flammable trains (HHFTs) for trains carrying flammable liquids in DOT-111 tank cars, even if the train has fewer cars than an HHFT.*  

See the Safety Advisory Notice in full here.

DOT-111 Tanks Cars in Ohio Hazmat Incident 

Thirty-eight rail tank cars left the tracks in East Palestine, OH on February 3, 2023. Of those thirty-eight, sixteen were DOT-111 tank cars—and of those, seven were breached. Three of the DOT-111 tank cars involved were carrying hazardous materials, and all three released hazmat from certain spots on the car.

“The preliminary incident data released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) highlights that the performance of DOT-111 specification tank cars involved in the derailment continues to be a significant concern.” 

Safety Advisory Notice for DOT-111 Tank Cars….
US Dept. of Transportation, 03/22/23

Hazmat Safety Advisory: Flammable Liquids by Rail

Industry stakeholders and regulators have long voiced concerns about the structural integrity of the DOT-111 tank car used in flammable liquid service during an incident (like a derailment). In 2015, PHMSA finalized new requirements for shipping flammable liquids by rail that included a schedule for upgrading DOT-111 tank cars used to transport Class 3 hazardous materials.

*What is a high hazard flammable train (HHFT)?

A term created in PHMSA's 2015 rulemaking to enhance the safety requirements for flammable liquids by rail,  a high-hazard flammable train or HHFT is, in a general sense, a train with a lot of cars on it carrying flammable liquids. 

An HHFT is a train with:

  • 20 or more cars carrying flammable liquids in a continuous block, or 
  • 36 or more cars carrying flammable liquids on an entire train. 
The rail shipping regulations added in 2015 include speed restrictions, enhanced-safety routing requirements, recordkeeping requirements, and more for high hazard flammable trains. 

See the Safety Advisory Notice in full here.

Nationwide DOT Hazmat Training  (In person)

Join Lion for engaging, lively in-person training and develop the expertise you need to classify and name hazardous materials, package hazmat, mark and label packages, fill out shipping papers, and comply with DOT security plan and security training requirements for hazmat employees.  

Hazmat Ground Shipper Certification (DOT) Workshop

Chicago, IL April 20–21
Cincinnati, OH       April 26–27
St. Louis, MO May 3–4
L.A./Ontario, CA May 10–11
San Diego, CA  May 17–18

The 2023 Training Schedule of hazmat shipper workshops and webinars is available now.

Tags: East Palestine, Ohio, hazardous materials, hazmat incident

Find a Post

Compliance Archives

Lion - Quotes

I tried other environmental training providers, but they were all sub-standard compared to Lion. I will not stray from Lion again!

Sara Sills

Environmental Specialist

The course was very well structured and covered the material in a clear, concise manner.

Ian Martinez

Hazmat Shipping Professional

Lion does a great job summarizing and communicating complicated EH&S-related regulations.

Michele Irmen

Sr. Environmental Engineer

The instructor took a rather drab set of topics and brought them to life with realistic real-life examples.

Tom Berndt

HSE Coordinator

The instructor does a great job at presenting material in an approachable way. I have been able to save my company about $30,000 in the last year with what I have learned from Lion!

Curtis Ahonen

EHS&S Manager

This course went above my expectations from the moment I walked in the door. The instructor led us through two days packed with useful compliance information.

Rachel Stewart

Environmental Manager

More thorough than a class I attended last year through another company.

Troy Yonkers

HSES Representative

I really enjoy your workshops. Thank you for such a great program and all the help Lion has provided me over the years!

George Chatman

Hazardous Material Pharmacy Technician

I have attended other training providers, but Lion is best. Lion is king of the hazmat jungle!!!

Henry Watkins

Hazardous Waste Technician

Best course instructor I've ever had. Funny, relatable, engaging; made it interesting and challenged us as the professionals we are.

Amanda Schwartz

Environmental Coordinator

Download Our Latest Whitepaper

Use this guide to spot which tanks and substances are regulated under EPA's Underground Storage Tank program, and which are excluded as of October 2018.

Latest Whitepaper

By submitting your phone number, you agree to receive recurring marketing and training text messages. Consent to receive text messages is not required for any purchases. Text STOP at any time to cancel. Message and data rates may apply. View our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.