MOVING hazardous materials through urban areas is becoming more complicated, said two speakers at the National Tank Truck Carriers Safety Council seminar April 19-20 in New Orleans.
Roy Acton, safety director at Mission Petroleum Carriers Inc, Houston, Texas, and Scott Turner, president of HMHTTC Response Organization Inc, Port Elizabeth, New Jersey, provided information about current situations that affect logistics and safety programs.
Acton briefed NTTC members on recent restrictions in Houston and San Antonio, Texas. Left-lane restrictions for trucks are being used in certain areas of Houston on a trial basis from 6 am until 8 pm Monday through Friday. "Other cities are looking at lane restrictions and others are considering hazmat routing," he said.
In San Antonio, a new city ordinance will limit transportation of hazardous materials in certain areas. Trucks will be able to pick up and deliver product, but through traffic will be restricted, he said. Turner pointed out that the way a hazardous material incident is handled can help relieve some community concern. Having a company spokesman respond to questionsfrom the media can prevent the incident from being reported inaccurately. "If you say no comment, reporters will talk to other people who have less information," he said. "That's the worst thing you can do in dealing with the media."
When the response is handled appropriately, the accident scene should be returned to normal within three to five hours, unless there are complications, he added. While handling the media is important, so is the diplomacy required for working with local law enforcement officers and fire and rescue teams who may not have the necessary training to handle the situation, but who usually have the authority at the scene.
"Don't get into a comfort factor just because they say there's a community hazmat team," he said.
He recommended that all tank trailers that have been involved in an accident be grounded and bonded before work begins on them, no matter what product is in the tank. "Even if the product is just water," he said.
He also said overturned trailers, particularly MC306-DOT406 trailers, should not be uprighted before the product is removed.