NTSB Asks for Input on Rail Incident Investigations

Posted on 9/15/2023 by Nick Waldron

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is one of many agencies (i.e., PHMSA, FRA, CSB, etc.) that investigates transportation incidents involving hazardous materials. NTSB does not enact or enforce shipping or transportation regulationsbut make recommendations for safety and process improvements based on the findings of investigations. 

NTSB’s authority is not limited to hazmat incidents. Regarding rail incidents, 49 CFR 831 authorizes the agency to investigate “railroad accidents, collisions, crashes, derailments, explosions, incidents, and releases in which involve a fatality, substantial property damage, or a passenger train.”

The regulation does not define "substantial property damage," however.

Does NTSB Need a Definition for “Substantial Property Damage”?

NTSB wants to know if they should define this term and what factors should be considered. An example of an existing similar definition is the Federal Transit Administration’s definition of “substantial damage”:

"Damage to transit or non-transit property including vehicles, facilities, equipment, rolling stock, or infrastructure that disrupts the operations of the rail transit agency and adversely affects the structural strength, performance, or operating characteristics of the property, requiring rowing, rescue, on-site maintenance, or immediate removal prior to safe operation.”
NTSB Asks for Input on Rail Incident Investigations

A monetary threshold for substantial property damages is also in consideration. If a dollar amount is assigned, NTSB will consider raising that figure annually with inflation.

The Board believes the FRA’s threshold of $11,300 would be too low of a value. This makes sense—rail incidents investigated by NTSB over the last decade that did not involve a fatality or passenger train had an average estimated damage value over $4 million.

The lowest of these values is approximately $526,000 and one of the highest is a 2013 derailment and hazardous materials release that resulted in $13.5 million in damages—not including the cost of cargo and environmental remediation.

To Submit Comments: Email the Board

“You may send comments, identified by Docket Number (No.) NTSB–2023–0007[.]” – 88 FR 60164

In-person RCRA and Hazmat Training

Join a Lion instructor for expert-led, in-person training to manage hazardous waste and ship hazardous materials in compliance with Federal and international requirements.

RCRA Hazardous Waste Management
Hazmat Ground Shipper Certification (DOT)
Hazmat Air Shipper Certification (IATA)
Hazmat Vessel Shipper Certification (IMDG)

Find a Post

Compliance Archives

Lion - Quotes

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

Cynthia L. Logsdon

Principal Environmental Engineer

The instructor was probably the best I ever had! He made the class enjoyable, was humorous at times, and very knowledgeable.

Mary Sue Michon

Environmental Administrator

The workshop covered a lot of information without being too overwhelming. Lion is much better, more comprehensive than other training providers.

George Alva

Manufacturing Manager

No comparison. Lion has the best RCRA training ever!!

Matt Sabine

Environmental Specialist

Lion's course was superior to others I have taken in the past. Very clear in the presentation and the examples helped to explain the content presented.

George Bersik

Hazardous Waste Professional

Lion courses are the standard to which all other workshops should strive for!

Brody Saleen

Registered Environmental Health Specialist

Lion is my preferred trainer for hazmat and DOT.

Jim Jani

Environmental Coordinator

The instructor was very engaging and helped less experienced people understand the concepts.

Steve Gall

Safety Leader

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

Troy Yonkers

HSES Representative

The instructor was very very informative, helpful, understandable and pleasant. This course answered many questions I had, being new to this industry.

Frances Mona

Shipping Manager

Download Our Latest Whitepaper

In-flight hazmat incidents can be disastrous. This guide gives 5 tips for first-time air shippers to consider before offering dangerous goods for transportation on passenger or cargo aircraft.

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.