Rail Safety Races to the Foreground

After the 2023 Norfolk Southern derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued 31 new safety recommendations. A failed wheel bearing on a covered hopper caused the derailment, leading to a major hazardous materials release. Norfolk Southern and its contractors decided to vent and burn five tank cars carrying vinyl chloride, a move the NTSB criticized for poor risk assessment and weak communication.

The NTSB pointed out that the outdated DOT-111 tank cars still in use for hazardous materials transport greatly worsened the incident’s severity. The board is pushing for an earlier phase-out of these tank cars, well before the 2029 deadline, to reduce community risks. It also emphasized improving wheel bearing failure detection systems and upgrading training and resources for first responders.

These recommendations aim to correct the communication and emergency response issues exposed by the East Palestine incident. The NTSB’s report also calls for regulatory updates to bolster rail transport safety, particularly for flammable and hazardous materials. Changes should include new criteria for defining high-hazard flammable trains and making hazmat placards readable after derailments.

At TLC, safety transcends protocol—it’s our promise. We commit to efficient freight delivery and the highest care for every shipment. We see success in logistics as a balance of reliability and safety.

Call us today at (401) 560 – 0660 to learn how we prioritize safety with every load.

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