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

Lion was very extensive. There was a lot of things that were covered that were actually pertaining to what I do and work with. Great Job. I will be coming back in three years!

Tony Petrik

Hazmat Shipping Professional

Convenient; I can train when I want, where I want.

Barry Cook

Hazmat Shipping Professional

I chose Lion's online webinar because it is simple, effective, and easily accessible.

Jeremy Bost

Environmental Health & Safety Technician

I can't say enough how pleased I was with this course! Everything finally makes sense.

Kim Graham

Lab Manager

Very good. I have always appreciated the way Lion Tech develops, presents and provides training and materials.

John Troy

Environmental Specialist

This is the best RCRA training I've experienced! I will be visiting Lion training again.

Cynthia L. Logsdon

Principal Environmental Engineer

Convenient; I can train when I want, where I want.

Barry Cook

Hazmat Shipping Professional

The instructor created a great learning environment.

Avinash Thummadi

CAD & Environmental Manager

Lion is easily and consistently the best option for compliance training. I've learned new information from every instructor I've had.

Rachel Mathis

EHS Specialist

These are the best classes I attend each year. I always take something away and implement improvements at my sites.

Kim Racine

EH&S Manager

Download Our Latest Whitepaper

Look beyond the annual "Top 10 List" to see specifics about the most cited OSHA health & safety Standards and the individual regulations that tripped up employers the most last year. 

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.