Tank Cars: Process and Occupational Safety
Recently there has been a spate of railroad accidents. Two of these accidents involved hazardous and flammable chemicals. The first accident in East Palestine, Ohio involved the release of vinyl chloride. Some of this chemical burned, thus creating many pollutants, some of which are very harmful to public health. The second event occurred in Minnesota. Tank cars containing ethanol overturned and caught fire.
The response to these events has been mostly to do with occupational safety issues. In particular, how do we prevent train-vehicle collisions? What we are not seeing much of is a process safety discussion.
New regulations to do with train safety are being developed. The situation provides an opportunity for process safety professionals to structure those regulations so as to manage the risks to do with spills of chemicals and flammable materials.
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