On March 25, 2003, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) issued an emergency revision to the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) relating to security training and security planning for transporters and offerors (shippers) of hazardous materials (hazmat).
DOT recognised a need to address growing concerns over the significant threat that hazmat can pose when it is used for malicious or destructive reasons. The goal behind the revisions was to ensure a greater level of security in the movement of hazardous materials throughout the US.
While hazardous materials are transported safely by ground, sea, and air, they can cause significant harm in the wrong hands, so collaboration is essential to ensure their continued safe transport. Security risks are best managed by developing and implementing effective and comprehensive security plans and training hazmat employees to identify and properly address potential security risks.
Who’s in scope?
DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has issued guidance to help companies optimise their security plans. Firstly, it defines those companies that have a duty under HMR to develop and implement a security plan. These are those offering for transport or transporting the following types and quantities of hazardous materials:
- any quantity of a Division 1.1, 1.2 or 1.3 explosive material;
- a quantity of a Division 1.4, 1.5 or 1.6 explosive material that requires placarding in accordance with Subpart F of Part 172 of HMR;
- a large bulk quantity* of a Division 2.1 material;
- a large bulk quantity of a Division 2.2 material with a 5.1 subsidiary hazard;
- any quantity of a material poisonous by inhalation as devined in §171.8;
- a large bulk quantity of a Class 3 material meeting the criteria for Packing Group I or II;
- a quantity of a desensitised explosive meeting the definition of a Division 4.1 or Class 3 material requiring placarding in accordance with Subpart F of Part 172 of HMR;
- a large bulk quantity of a Division 4.2 material meeting the criteria for Packing Group I or II;
- a quantity of a Division 4.3 material requiring placarding in accordance with Subpart F of Part 172 of HMR;
- a large bulk quantity of a Division 5.1 material in Packing Groups I and II; perchlorates; or ammonium nitrate, ammonium nitrate fertilisers, or ammonium nitrate emulsions, suspensions or gels;
- any quantity of organic peroxide, Type B, liquid or solid, temperature-controlled;
- a large bulk quantity of Division 6.1 material;
- a select agent or toxin regulated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under 42 CFR Part 72 or the US Department of Agriculture under 9 CFR Part 121;
- a quantity of uranium hexafluoride requiring placarding under §172.505(b);
- International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Code of Conduct Category 1 and 2 materials, including Highway Route Controlled quantities as defined in
- 49 FR 173.403 or known radionuclides in forms listed as RAM-QC by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and
- a large bulk quantity of Class 8 material meeting the criteria for Packing Group I.
* ‘large bulk quantity’ is defined as a quantity greater than 3,000 kg (6,614 lb) for solids or 3,000 litres (792 gal) for liquids and gases, in a single packaging such as a cargo tank motor vehicle, portable tank, tank car or other bulk container.
Three planks of security
According to PHMSA, a security plan must include an assessment of possible transportation security risks for shipments of the hazardous materials covered by the plan and appropriate measures to address the assessed risks. At a minimum, a security plan must include the following elements:
(a) personnel security – measures to confirm information provided by job applicants hired for positions that involve access to and handling of the hazardous materials covered by the security plan;
(b) unauthorised access – measures to address the possibility that unauthorised persons may gain access to the hazardous materials covered by the security plan or to transport conveyances being prepared for transport of the hazardous materials covered by the security plan; and
(c) en route security – measures to address the security risks of shipments of hazardous materials covered by the security plan en route from origin to destination, including shipments stored incidental to movement.
PHMSA states that offerors are not required to determine that a carrier’s security plan conforms in all respects to the requirements in Subpart 1 of Part 172 of HMR. However, offerors should work with carriers to address en route security issues. In some cases the offeror and carrier may decide to develop a joint plan; in others, these may be separate. A shipper’s security plan should indicate the measures it has taken to address en route security, such as coordination with the carrier to determine that its own security plan covers en route security risks associated with the shipment.
However, if a shipper’s security plan states that it will only do business with carriers that have their own security plan, then it may be in violation of HMR if it uses a carrier that does not. Under §172.800(b), persons who offer for transportation in commerce and persons who transport in commerce are required to develop and adhere to a security plan that covers the materials listed in that paragraph; if the security plan includes provisions that have not been implemented then the company can be found to be in violation.
One of the best tools an organisation can use in the creation of a security plan is a security assessment. During the assessment process, all the materials that the company handles should be listed and those that pose a security threat should be identified. The goal is to identify risks in the organisation’s day-to-day operations. Once the risks have been identified, the organisation can begin to take steps to prevent them from occurring by prioritising the risks and developing appropriate preventative actions.
A security plan will summarise the strategies and actions the organisation will take to reduce its known security risks. Once the plan is implemented it is important to monitor its performance and determine if it is producing effective results. Employees must be trained on the requirements of the security plan and be made aware of their responsibilities in supporting security objectives. Finally, the security plan must be revisited regularly to ensure that it addresses operational changes and new information from both internal and external sources.