Thursday, December 11, 2008

Rail Transportation Security – Shipper Security Plan

This is another 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’ {§1580.100(b)}.

This blog looks at what a security plan might look like for a covered hazmat shipper. Earlier blogs in this series were:
Rail Transportation Security – RSC Requirement
Rail Transportation Security – Reporting Security Concerns
Rail Transportation Security – Rail Car Chain of Custody
Rail Transportation Security – Inspection Authority
Rail Transportation Security – Reporting Railcar Locations

On the 26th of December the requirements for this rule will be in effect for covered freight railroads, covered hazmat shippers, and covered hazmat receivers located in HTUA’s. While the rule does not specify that a security plan is required, in practice some document is going to be required at each covered facility describing how the rule will be implemented at that facility. For discussion purposes we will call this plan the Hazmat Rail Shipper Security Plan (HRSSP).

The HRSSP will only address the requirements of 49 CFR part 1580. Since the shipper facility will have rail car quantities of a PIH chemical on hand, the facility will have been declared a high-risk chemical facility and there will be a site security plan under 6 CFR part 27 (CFATS). The HRSSP will probably become an annex to the CFATS SSP. The two will have a number of requirements that will be in common, but there will be a number of requirements that will pertain only to the HRSSP and the portion of the facility that is used to load and ship railcar quantities of the PIH chemical produced at the site.

Description of the HRSSP Area

The HRSSP will only address a limited portion of the facility. That area will extend from the railroad gate through the facility perimeter, along the railroad tracks into the facility and the rail secure area where rail cars are loaded and held until picked up by the railroad. The HRSSP will probably describe this area in words and diagrams or annotations on a facility map.

The description of the rail secure area will provide a general description of the security devices and procedures that prevent access to the area by unauthorized personnel. Specific requirements for security are not outlined in the rule. Some sort of barrier fencing with locking gates for personnel and train access will probably be necessary along with some sort of intruder detection system. Video surveillance should probably suffice.

Assigning Responsibilities 

The next section of the HRSSP will probably be the section that assigns responsibility for various functions under the HRSSP. Some of the assignments will be made by job description (shift supervisor, security guard, etc) while others will be required to be identified by name. It is almost always a good idea to assign primary responsibility and at least one back-up for required action.

The first position discussed will be the Rail Security Coordinator (§ 1580.101). If the facility is part of a company with multiple covered facilities, the RSC will be appointed on a Corporate Rail Security Plan. The HRSSP will only have to identify who the corporate RSC and alternates are and provide contact information. If the facility preparing the HRSSP is the only covered facility in the organization the RSC will probably come from the facility. In that case the RSC and at least one alternate will have to be identified. The requirements for the RSC were covered in an earlier blog.

The HRSSP will define who has responsibility for reporting security incidents to the TSA Freedom Center (§ 1580.105). This will probably be assigned to a management position. The requirements for reporting security incidents was covered in an earlier blog.

The next position discussed will be the Railcar Location Point of Contact (§ 1580.103). This may be appointed to a duty position or even contracted to an outside party. The requirements for this position were discussed in an earlier blog.

Additionally, the HRSSP will define who will provide information updates on railcars to the RLPOC. The HRSSP will also identify who is responsible for inspecting railcars before they are loaded (§ 1580.107). This will probably be identified by job description.

The final position to be discussed will be the individual responsible for turning over control of the shipping railcars to railroad personnel. This will probably be identified by a job position like shift supervisor or security guard. The requirements for this position were discussed in an earlier blog.

Describing Security Procedures 

The first security procedure to be discussed would most likely be the access procedures for the HRSSP. Entrance procedures for the railroad gate will be given by reference to the general site security plan. The access procedures for the rail security area will be more detailed. Personnel with routine unaccompanied access will be identified, probably by job descriptions. Entry procedures for personnel and rail cars will be described.

Empty rail cars will be inspected for tampering and potential IED’s before entering the rail secure area. The procedure will specify who will notify the RLPOC what railcars have entered the rail secure area and when and the spot in which they were placed in the rail secure area. The procedure will specify that the RLPOC will be notified when the railcar filling begins, the amount in the railcar at any point where the filling is temporarily stopped, and the final weight of material placed into the railcar. The procedure will require that the RLPOC is notified when the full railcar is turned over to the railroad. The procedure will also detail how the RLPOC will record and maintain the data so that a request for railcar location information can be supplied within 30 minutes of it being requested.

Incident Reporting Procedures 

The HRSSP will also describe procedures to be used to deal with unusual items found during railcar inspections, intruders in and/or around the HRSSP area of the facility and any other potential security breaches described in § 1580.105(c). The procedures will include security response as well as reporting requirements. Procedures will include how to deal with personnel who claim to be TSA/DHS inspectors. The requirement to demand identification and how to verify that identification with the TSA Freedom Center will be addressed.

Plans Will Vary

Each facility will address the details of this plan in a number of different ways. The plan outlined above provides a listing of the areas that must be addressed according to the Rail Transportation Security Rule. Covered facilities will need to start work on this plan as soon as possible. The rule does go into effect on December 26th, but there is, as of yet, no indication when TSA will begin enforcing the rule.

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