Canada Proposes Security Rules for Rail Safety

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By Peter Menyasz

Canada is proposing more stringent security regulations for rail transport of dangerous goods to better protect the public, railway workers and to align with U.S. rules.

The draft regulations would require railways to provide security awareness training for all workers, implement security plans to address potential risks, and provide security plan training for employees, the government said. They are projected to cost rail carriers about C$3.4 million ($2.6 million) and consignors about C$6.19 million ($4.8 million) over a 10-year period after final regulations are adopted and implemented.

The proposed regulations also address security risks from deliberate misuse or sabotage, Transport Canada said June 24 in a regulatory impact analysis accompanying the draft rules in the Canada Gazette, Part I.

“Though there have been no successful attacks in Canada, terrorist groups have committed numerous deadly attacks using dangerous goods in other parts of the world, which have highlighted the vulnerability of the system,” the department said.

Security is the focus of the proposed regulations, but the safety of transportation workers is of “utmost importance” and the regulations would make a positive contribution, Transport Canada spokeswoman Natasha Gauthier said June 29.

The Railway Association of Canada is reviewing the draft regulations and doesn’t yet have detailed comment, Alex Paterson, a spokesman for the railway industry group, said June 29. “Nothing is more important to Canada’s railways than safety. This includes the safety of our employees and the communities through which we operate,” Paterson told Bloomberg BNA.

The Teamsters Rail Conference, which represents about 16,000 rail sector workers, didn’t respond to a Bloomberg BNA request for comment on the impact of the proposed regulations.

All Aboard for Regular Training

Development of a baseline security regime for rail began after the July 2013 explosion in Lac-Megantic, Quebec—caused by derailment of a train carrying light crude oil—that killed 47 people, destroyed 40 buildings and caused major environmental damage, the department said.

The regulations would require rail carriers and consignors that import, handle, offer for transport, or transport dangerous goods to provide security awareness training and enhance rail safety.

Training would be required for workers in direct contact with dangerous goods before they are assigned such duties and repeated every three years.

“The goal of this proposed requirement is to increase the industry’s ability to prevent, detect, and effectively respond to and recover from security issues,” it said.

Carriers and consignors of “security-sensitive dangerous goods” would be required to conduct security risk assessments to address fuels, explosives, flammable chemicals, infectious substances, and nuclear substances.

The draft regulations are open for public comment through July 24.

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Menyasz in Ottawa at correspondents@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rachael Daigle at rdaigle@bna.com

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