Saturday, November 15, 2008

Rail Transportation Security – RSC Requirement

This is the first in a series of blogs that will look at the requirements of the recently released final rule on Rail Transportation Security. While the main focus of this regulation is directed at railroads, there are significant provisions (49 CFR part 1580, Subpart B) that will apply to a wide variety of chemical facilities that use railroad to ship or receive ‘specified quantities and types of hazardous materials’. 

Specified Hazardous Materials 

While the regulation includes certain explosives and radioactive materials among the specified ‘hazardous materials’, the materials that will affect chemical facilities (pages 8-9) generally are materials that are poisonous by inhalation (PIH) (49 CFR §171.8), including:
Anhydrous Ammonia Division 2.3 gasses Division 6.1 liquids in hazard zone A or B
Facilities that ship rail car quantities of these materials fall under these rules. Facilities located in a High Threat Urban Area (HTUA) (Appendix A, 49 CFR part 1580) that receive rail car quantities of these materials are also covered facilities. There are no exceptions for facilities that fall under CFATS, MTSA, nor are water treatment or waste water treatment facilities exempted. Rail cars containing ‘residual amounts’ of the specified materials are not covered under this regulation. So facilities shipping ‘empty’ railcars back to suppliers are not covered by this regulation unless they are located in an HTUA. 

Rail Security Coordinators Chemical facilities that are affected by this regulation will be required (49 CFR § 1580.101) to have a designated Rail Security Coordinator (RSC) and at least one alternate. This person will be the ‘corporate level’ point of contact for TSA. According to the final rule preamble (page 35) the RSC will “serve as the primary contact for intelligence information and security-related activities and communications with TSA, and coordinate security practices and procedures with law enforcement and emergency response agencies”. 

Contact information for the RSC and designated alternates will be provided to the TSA within seven days of their appointment or change in appointment or contact data. The contact data will include {§1580.101(d)} names, title, phone number(s) and email address(es). 

RSC Availability 

The RSC or alternate will be available to TSA on a 24-hours a day, 7 days a week basis. The use of a security center or industry call center (like CHEMTREC) will not be adequate to fulfill the contract requirements for the RSC unless the call center is “staffed 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, and must be able to immediately locate and communicate with the RSC” (page 38). Corporations that have multiple covered facilities may have a single RSC. The discussion in the preamble states that “A single RSC or alternate may have responsibility for multiple covered rail facilities that are owned and operated by one corporation, provided that the individual has the information necessary to perform the RSC’s duties” (page 41). 

RSC Training 

TSA has not provided any training requirements for the designated RSC. They have established a ‘performance standard’ (see below) for the RSC and would expect that any necessary training to perform to those standards would be provided by their employer. RSC Performance Standards (page 43)
“(A)vailable to TSA on a 24-hours a day basis, “(C)apable of serving as the primary point of contact with TSA on security matters, and “(A)ble to coordinate security practices and procedures with appropriate law enforcement and emergency response agencies.”

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