Thursday, April 4, 2024

Review - Another Look at PHMSA Transportation Incident Database – 4-2-24

Since January 13th, I have been trying to report on chemical transportation incident as reported to PHMSA on their Form 5800.1. I have not been able to access the PHMSA database every weekend due to PHMSA’s work on the site during the weekend, so I have tried accessing it on Friday or Monday. After publishing my last week’s post, I noticed that my weeks’ worth of data only contained data for three days. When I did yesterday’s post, I paid more attention to the dates in the database and selected a range that contained seven days’ worth of data.

While this provided a near term fix, I decided to take a more detailed look at the PHMSA database so that I could better determine what would be an appropriate ‘week’ to use for my periodic reporting on the incidents in the data base. So, I started by downloading all incidents from March 1st, 2024, through April 2nd. An analysis of that data showed that there were significant differences between the incident data that I reported in two of the last three blog posts I did on chemical transportation incidents.

Because of regulatory incident reporting requirements for PHMSA’s F 5800.1 form and PHMSA’s internal processing of that data before it gets into their database their may be significant delays before chemical transportation incidents are recorded in that database. I have not yet collected sufficient data to succinctly describe the length of that delay.

Since the purpose of these transportation incident blog posts is to provide a snapshot of chemical transportation safety, it is clear to me that I need to provide more time for the PHMSA data processing to take place before I report on the data. While I do not have a complete picture of how long it takes PHMSA to populate the database, it is clear that I am going to have to accommodate the 30-day reporting period into my selection criteria. So, starting with this weekend’s blog post I will be using a reporting week five-weeks in the past, so that blog post will cover incidents for the week starting March 2nd, 2024.


For a more detailed look at the data I analyzed, see my article at CFSN Detailed Analysis - - subscription required. 

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