The Movement of Dangerous Goods
Despite heavy media coverage of derailments, Canada's rail system has a particularly good record for transporting the chemicals and petroleum products that are essential to our quality of life - from purifying the water we drink, to the fuels we use to heat our homes and operate our vehiclesdangerous goods. Millions of carloads of dangerous goods move by rail every year and over 99.9 per cent of them are delivered without incident.
The TSB collects data on spills, or “dangerous good (DG) leaker” incidents – occurrences involving the unintentional release of a hazardous material while in transit. This type of incident does not involve an accident and often concern small quantities of products. In reported DG leaker incidents totalled 51 in 2011, a 28 per cent decrease from the five-year average of 70. The great majority of these incidents occurred in rail yards, sidings and spurs and four of them were the indirect result of motor vehicles colliding with trains at road-rail crossings.
One of the primary functions of the RAC is to promote and continually improve the safe handling of dangerous goods. This means ensuring rail cars carrying dangerous goods meet strict standards, the consignments are properly packaged, labeled, placarded and documented, and that carriers handle the rail cars safely.
Trains carrying dangerous goods are rigorously inspected, not only at their departure point, but whenever they approach a densely populated area. Detailed documentation is carried on every train and recorded in central computer systems, so that the right measures for the products concerned can be taken in case of an emergency.
When dangerous goods accidents and incidents occur the RAC's own special response teams from railway companies, the chemical industry and local public security agencies work quickly to mitigate any damage.
Mr. Paul Goyette
Director, Communications and Public Affairs
Telephone: (613) 564-8097
Read more about RAC's Dangerous Goods Team offerings by downloading their informative brochure. Click here