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Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (1 - 10 of 13 items)
Radioactive Sources: Opportunities Exist for Federal Agencies to Strengthen Transportation Security
GAO-17-58: Published: Feb 7, 2017. Publicly Released: Mar 9, 2017.
Since September 11, 2001, the three federal agencies responsible for securing risk-significant radioactive sources (those considered most dangerous) during ground transport have taken steps to strengthen the security of these sources. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) requires source licensees to ensure that motor carriers transporting these sources have security measures, such as 24-hour mo...
Hazardous Materials Rail Shipments: A Review of Emergency Response Information in Selected Train Documents
GAO-17-130: Published: Dec 2, 2016. Publicly Released: Dec 2, 2016.
To help emergency responders safely handle rail accidents involving hazardous materials, selected railroads transporting hazardous materials typically carry two sources of information: the Department of Transportation's (DOT) Emergency Response Guidebook ( ERG ) and information in the trains' documents. Federal Hazardous Material Regulations require railroads and other hazardous material transpo...
Hazardous Materials Rail Shipments: Emergency Responders Receive Support, but DOT Could Improve Oversight of Information Sharing
GAO-17-91: Published: Nov 17, 2016. Publicly Released: Nov 17, 2016.
Emergency planners from most of the 25 selected counties in 17 states that GAO surveyed reported that training for responders and information about rail shipments of hazardous materials affect preparedness. Emergency planners from almost all of the selected counties reported that a majority of the emergency response personnel, such as fire fighters, who arrive first at an accident receive basic tr...
Train Braking: DOT's Rulemaking on Electronically Controlled Pneumatic Brakes Could Benefit from Additional Data and Transparency
GAO-17-122: Published: Oct 12, 2016. Publicly Released: Oct 12, 2016.
DOT based estimates of the business benefits of electronically controlled pneumatic (ECP) brakes on limited data, in part, because railroads that have used ECP brakes to date have shared limited data on their use. ECP brakes provide an electronic brake signal instantaneously throughout the train, allowing train cars to brake faster than with conventional air brakes. In supporting the May 2015 rule...
Hazardous Materials Transportation: Better Guidance and Planning Could Enhance DOT's Explosives Classification Oversight
GAO-16-715: Published: Jul 28, 2016. Publicly Released: Jul 28, 2016.
The Department of Transportation's (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration's (PHMSA) oversight of the labs that issue classification recommendations for new explosives is limited by a lack of guidance, and stakeholders have mixed views on PHMSA's oversight. To receive a classification for a new explosive, manufacturers must have an approved test lab examine the explosive and s...
Pipeline Safety: Department of Transportation Needs to Complete Regulatory, Data, and Guidance Efforts
GAO-15-843T: Published: Sep 29, 2015. Publicly Released: Sep 29, 2015.
The Department of Transportation's (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has begun but not completed efforts to improve pipeline safety in response to GAO's prior recommendations:Gathering pipelines : In 2012, GAO found that while gathering pipelines that are not regulated by PHMSA were generally considered to present less safety risk than other pipelines, PHMSA did...
Cargo Tank Trucks: Improved Incident Data and Regulatory Analysis Would Better Inform Decisions about Safety Risks
GAO-13-721: Published: Sep 11, 2013. Publicly Released: Sep 11, 2013.
The Department of Transportation's (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration's (PHMSA) incident data cannot be used to reliably identify risks from incidents involving collisions with and spills from tank trucks' bottom lines ("wetlines") because the incidents are not specifically identified in PHMSA's database and the data contain inaccuracies. PHMSA requires carriers to report...
Gas Pipeline Safety: Guidance and More Information Needed before Using Risk-Based Reassessment Intervals
GAO-13-577: Published: Jun 27, 2013. Publicly Released: Jun 27, 2013.
Baseline assessment and reassessment data collected by the Department of Transportation's (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) since 2004 show that pipeline operators are making repairs in highly populated or frequented areas ("high consequence areas"). For example, from 2004 to 2009, operators made 1,080 immediate repairs. While operators can use assessment data to...
Pipeline Safety: Better Data and Guidance Could Improve Operators' Responses to Incidents
GAO-13-284T: Published: Jan 28, 2013. Publicly Released: Jan 28, 2013.
Numerous variables--some of which are under operators' control--influence the ability of transmission pipeline operators to respond to incidents. For example, the location of response personnel and the use of manual or automated valves can affect the amount of time it takes for operators to respond to incidents. However, because the advantages and disadvantages of installing an automated valve are...
Pipeline Safety: Better Data and Guidance Needed to Improve Pipeline Operator Incident Response
GAO-13-168: Published: Jan 23, 2013. Publicly Released: Jan 23, 2013.
The Department of Transportation's (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has an opportunity to improve the ability of pipeline operators to respond to incidents by developing a performance-based approach for incident response times. The ability of transmission pipeline operators to respond to incidents--such as leaks and ruptures--is affected by numerous variables, s...