LIKE almost everywhere in the United States after the September 11 attacks, the Hazardous Materials Advisory Council conference November 7-9, 2001, was dominated by discussions about terrorism and its prevention. Until the New York City and Washington DC tragedies, few people thought trucks hauling hazardous materials would ever be used as weapons in the United States.
“The industry now feels vulnerable to attacks,” said Tim Phillips, hazardous materials specialist, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
He discussed the trucking company reviews the Department of Transportation (DOT) and other federal agencies are conducting in an effort to improve security. “They (the agencies) are not doing any compliance and enforcement activities right now,” Phillips added.
Although the reviews are limited to trucking companies, he suggested that they may be expanded to include storage and terminaling facilities, shippers, and driver training schools.
Federal agencies are warning hazmat carriers to be vigilant in hiring employees and in securing facilities.
“The days of a cursory employment application are over,” he said. “And security will have to be increased if the world situation worsens.”