On the morning of February 1, a Saturday, your newsletter editor
woke up early in order to put the finishing touches on our monthly
newsletter and send it off to our Webmaster. It would have been
one of the few times that I got a newsletter out by the first of
the month. I was almost finished when my daughter-in-law called
to ask if one our relatives (an astronaut) was on the Columbia Shuttle.
I answered with authority “no” and asked “why?”
She advised me that she was watching the news and they just announced
that NASA-Houston had lost contact with Columbia over Texas. I switched
on the TV as my other cousin was making the announcement from Houston
that the shuttle did not arrive at Cape Kennedy’s Space Center
and the spacecraft was presumed lost.
Like most people around the world the rest of that Saturday was
spent glued to the TV waiting for good news. None came. It just
The reason I mention my relatives is that we are a close-knit family.
We rejoice in each other’s joys. We are shattered by each
other’s sadness. I have seen first-hand how the entire NASA
Administration is one great extension of a single family. I know
how deeply this tragedy has affected them and will continue to do
so for a very long time. And I share their grief because I share
any grief that a member of my family feels.
Our hearts go out to the shuttle’s seven crewmembers’
families and to their own extended family at NASA.
The Original Newsletter -
I don’t know whatever happened to my original newsletter for
this February. It was swallowed up by that terrible dark day of
February 1st. What was a reasonably decent attempt at sharing experiences
with dangerous goods must be mined from the inner recesses of my
feeble brain to surface again, hopefully, next month.
But time does indeed march on and other issues have also risen
to the extent that one must wonder if the entire world has gone
On February 7th the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued
a “Code Orange” alert. This means that federal, state,
and local authorities have been placed on “High Alert”
that terrorists were planning another attack on the United States
and that government buildings, the infrastructure, and the public
were at high risk.
Ordinary freight shipments into the United States will experience
some delays. Dangerous Goods shipments will come under still more
scrutiny than ever before. Visitors to the U.S. will be screened
as never before. Travelers should be prepared for delays and interrogation.
Be patient. Don’t be sarcastic. Don’t make any jokes.
Enforcement personnel take this seriously. The public should be
just as serious about these threats.
If Americans and visitors to America feel inconvenienced and frustrated,
things could be worse. In fact, they are worse – in parts
of South America; in the middle east; on the Korean peninsula; in
parts of Africa; parts of Eastern Europe; and Asia. The declining
world economy, poverty, illness, civil unrest and terrorist activities
seem to be everywhere. We sure wish we had all the answers. Obviously
world leaders do not.
Classification – Class 4, Flammable
I do know that this was one of the topics to be discussed in detail
this month. A website visitor from South Africa had brought it to
our attention that this was one of the classes that was not previously
covered in other newsletters. It will now have to wait ‘till
Dangerous Goods Transportation: What's Next"
DGAC/Pira International 2003 Global Conference, March 12-14,
2003, Prague, Czech Republic.
This is a very informative
conference and particularly the European and Pacific Rim visitors
to this website should try to attend.
For further information
– a terrible month for Hazmats.
- Ammonia release in Louisiana – thousands evacuated.
- Resin explosion in Kentucky.
- Chemical explosion in Cranston, RI.
- Release of mace in a nightclub in Chicago caused panic –
people trampled to death during evacuation. Because of the security
alert the victims thought it was a terrorist chemical attack.
- Pyrotechnic fireworks caused a fire in West Warwick RI nightclub
fire - almost 100 dead.
- Huge gasoline explosion and fire in Staten Island, NY - 2 dead.
In our January 2002 Newsletter we noted the following:
“On Saturday, December 29, 2001, more than 300 people
were killed in a massive fireworks accident in Lima, Peru. The fire
started late Saturday and spread throughout four blocks of downtown
Lima until it was extinguished after midnight Sunday.
A box of fireworks that accidentally exploded caused the fire. It
is believed that a customer of a fireworks vendor set off a fairly
simple firecracker and that, in turn, set off the other nearby fireworks.
Pyrotechnic rockets flew through the air, hitting vehicles and nearby
shops that also sold fireworks. Emergency workers are still searching
for bodies as we attempt to finish this newsletter. Peru has just
made the manufacture, use, sale, or importation of fireworks illegal.
Those of us in transportation and safety-related jobs use the words
"hazardous" and "dangerous" to describe all
explosives, even the so-called recreational fireworks. We know the
potential dangers. If only the general public would follow that
Perhaps we should have added “show business entrepreneurs”
to that warning.
U.S. HAZMAT-SECURITY ISSUES –
Documentation covering Dangerous Goods shipments
to, from, and within, the United States must now be retained for
a minimum of 375 days after the shipments have been tendered to
the carrier. For hazardous waste shipments the retention period
will be 3 years. The documents must be available to federal, state,
and local enforcement personnel within a reasonable time after they
have been requested. This rule applies to shippers, warehouse and
transportation storage facilities, freight forwarders, and carriers
in all modes of transport. Electronic storage of these documents
is acceptable. This rule will surely create a challenge to those
companies that farm out the storage of documents to subcontractors
on a monthly or quarterly basis. The issue of “reasonable
time” may be a problem although RSPA/DOT feels otherwise.
Truck drivers are no longer are required to check
tires at 100 mile intervals. However, they are required to perform
this safety inspection at each rest stop and delivery and pickup
Drivers with CDL’s should be alert to new
security checks prior to renewing their licenses. File for your
renewal early since delays appear to be common.
Security Training – we are still waiting
for the U.S. D.O.T./RSPA final rule concerning RSPA-02-12064
(HM-232) TITLE: Hazardous Materials: Security Requirements for Offerors
and Transporters of Hazardous Materials.
This rule, when it is finally published, will likely have a severe
impact on everyone involved in the distribution chain. Check out
“Hot Links” section in this website. We will post the
final rule when it is issued. If your company has not already been
preparing for security training you are going to be in a bind since
it would appear that you will have only 90 days to implement training
for all of your employees.
FMCSA-02-11650 (HM-232A) TITLE: Security Requirements for
Motor Carriers Transporting Hazardous Materials; Advance
notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM); Published 7/16/2002, 67 FR
Security measures being considered include escorts, vehicle tracking
and monitoring systems, emergency warning systems, remote shut-offs,
direct short-range communications, and notification to state and
There is no quiz this month.