3.1 Inspection of Rail Equipment and Shipper/Consignee Facilities
Four types of inspections are made by Commission inspectors: stationary railroad
equipment such as tank cars at a yard or plant, railroad equipment in transit in the
consist of a through or yard train known as a “roll-by” inspection; analysis of shipping
papers and related documentation; and inspection of facilities that either ship or receive
3.1.1 Railroad Equipment
Hazardous material equipment inspections are performed on a stationary
hazardous material rail car. Normally, this type of inspection occurs within a
railroad yard or at the loading or unloading terminal within a shipper’s facility.
The inspection assures that the cars are affixed with the required placards
identifying the hazardous commodities being transported. Attachment 1 provides
examples of the various placards and the information they provide, which is of
critical importance to emergency response personnel. Commission HM
inspectors verify that the rail car’s markings, stenciling, tank and valve test dates,
and mechanical safety features, are in compliance with federal regulations.
A roll-by inspection involves monitoring an entire train while in motion. The
location of loaded hazardous material cars, as well as those cars that have been
unloaded, but that still contain residue of the commodity transported, are
observed in relation to the locomotives, occupied cabooses, other hazardous
material cars, and certain other types of cargo cars. Specific types of hazardous
material cars are required to be spotted at particular locations within a train.
Should Commission inspectors determine that cars are not correctly located
within the train’s consist, the inspector may require the rail carrier to stop the train
and order the cars to be correctly placed.
Proper placement of hazardous material cars within a train’s consist is of great
importance to the train crew who could be severely injured if a derailment were to
occur. For example, hazardous material cars containing liquefied petroleum gas
(LPG), as well as other highly flammable commodities, may not be positioned
next to the locomotive.
Documentation inspections involve examining waybills and bills of lading to verify
that the documents were completed correctly. Such inspections normally occur
at the office of the shipper or consignee, or at the yard office of the rail carrier.
The bill of lading is a document providing a description of the type and quantity of
commodities being transported. Attachment 5 provides a sample bill of lading.
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