Canada has Weak Safety Culture re Transport

Transport Canada’s lax safety practices go beyond rail; Self-reporting rules for marine, rail and aviation contributing to ‘weak safety culture.’

The deadly Lac-Mégantic train crash — and this week’s safety board report into what happened — raises questions not only about government oversight of the rail industry but of other sectors like air, marine and food as well, engineers and transportation experts say.

On Tuesday, the Transportation Safety Board released its final report on the worst rail disaster in Canada’s history. In it, the watchdog agency criticized how the federal government ensures regulated companies follow safety rules.



New Rail Safety Rules in Canada and the U.S.

Recently, both countries have issued new rules. According to this Reuters article, the Canadian measures are more stringent. See: Canada’s rail safety measures: earlier and tougher than U.S.

Canada quietly issued new details on rail safety regulation last week that included specifications for the next generation of tank cars that are tougher than some of the options proposed by the U.S. Department of Transportation on Wednesday.

The safety proposals by Transport Canada for hauling dangerous goods, released online on Friday, builds on measures first announced in April that will require older DOT-111 rail cars used for carrying crude oil be phased out by May 2017.

The measures are a response to a massive surge in crude-by-rail shipments in recent years and a string of high-profile disasters involving older tank cars prone to punctures, including one that killed 47 people in Quebec, Canada.

A direct link to the proposed new  U.S. regulations is here.

Recovery Planning Guide for Transportation Disasters

A newly issued report from the Transportation Research Board (of the National Academy of Sciences) is a useful addition to the recovery literature. Its full title is A Pre-Event Recovery Planning Guide for Transportation; the full document is 207 pages, but the body of the text is 60 pages. A Power Point slide set is also available, which is handy for educators and trainers.

Although aimed at transportation disaster events, and focused on their impacts and effects on infrastructure, it is a useful document generally regarding the recovery process.

The prose is more readable than most FEMA documents, and the document offers a literature review and some case studies.  I would like to have seen both of those features enhanced, since both are relatively thin in my view. But, at least they make a contribution.

The document includes a chart on elements of the recovery process, done by the Diva ( p.6) in 1985.