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Standard of Care and Hazmat Planning

Authored by: Robert A. Burke

Standard of Care and Hazmat Planning

Print publication date:  December  2020
Online publication date:  December  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138316768
eBook ISBN: 9780429455452
Adobe ISBN:

10.1201/9780429455452-1

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Abstract

Statistics and details for fixed site and rail transportation incidents involving chemicals go back to the mid-1800s. Hundreds of people died in rail accidents in the 1800s and early 1900s. None of them involved chemicals; they all died in derailments of passenger trains. Not until 1959 was the first recorded derailment involving the release of hazardous materials, where liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) (one of the common chemicals) escaped from its container and killed 23 civilians in Meldrim, GA. This incident is also known as the “Meldrim trestle disaster.” Since that time, the Interstate Commerce Commission and its predecessor, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), have reported just 44 train derailments where chemicals escaped their containers. Not much data is available outside of searching news clippings on fixed facility chemical releases. Newspaper research for Hazmatology: The Science of Hazardous Materials has revealed some interesting statistics. My first discovery of a chemical incident that involved an explosion occurred in 1841 in Syracuse, NY. Twenty-five kegs of black powder exploded, killing over 30 civilians and injuring over 50. Explosives were typical sources of deaths among civilians and firefighters through the 1800s well into the 1900s. Explosive incidents increased in times of war as ammunition plants geared up production to meet the war needs. These incidents were noticed around the Civil War, World War I and World War II.

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