To provide vital information on hazmats to the public in light of an expected increase in the transport of hazmats -- currently at 800,000 shipments per day -- and with the increased threat of terrorism, ASSE developed the "Hazardous Materials Safety Information Guide."
Topics in the brochure include:
- What hazmats are and what hazmat placards mean;
- Training guidelines;
- How to find your local emergency planning committee;
- Hazmat laws;
- How occupational safety, health and environmental professionals address this issue;
- Hazmat emergency response information.
Of the more than 3.1 billion tons of hazmats transported throughout the U.S. in 2000, there were 17,514 hazmat incidents resulting in 13 fatalities and 246 injuries and causing $72.7 million in damages. Ohio had the most incidents, with Texas second and California third. According to a recent U.S. Department of Transportation Commodity Flow Survey, Texas has the highest amount of hazardous material shipments in the U.S. flowing annually through the state either by truck, rail, water, pipeline or air. Louisiana ranks second in flow, followed by California, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Ohio, Florida, New Jersey and Michigan.
Should an emergency occur, federal officials say the general public should first call 911 and, if they can identify the size and color of the placards on the transport vehicle without endangering their own safety, they should provide that information to the authorities.
As for safety planning, there are State Emergency Response Commissions (SERC) that designate Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPC) in most communities across the U.S. LEPCs are made up of local emergency service personnel, occupational safety and health professionals and local officials who work to prevent and plan responses to accidental or deliberate chemical incidents. They are operated through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). One can locate their LEPC by checking the EPA web site at http://www.epa.gov/ceppo/lepclist.htm.
For around-the-clock reporting of an incident, the U.S. National Response Center is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is where all chemical, radiological and etiological discharges into the environment are reported by calling (800) 424-8802.
For a copy of the ASSE brochure, contact ASSE customer service at (847) 699-2929 or e-mail [email protected] and ask for item G017. The brochure can be downloaded for free from ASSE's web site at http://www.asse.org/newsroom.