The Vancouver Olympics – Putting dangerous goods security on the podium

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Courtesy of The Compliance Center (ICC)

How do you provide security for an event with approximately 5,000 competitors, 70,000 visitors, and multiple venues spread over a zone covering multiple communities, including a major North American port? That’s the question for Transport Canada, along with the RCMP, as they strive to make the Games as safe as possible. As in most metropolitan areas, dangerous goods currently are moved in significant quantities through the Vancouver/Whistler venue zones. Transport Canada has come up with a number of strategies to enhance security of these shipments during the time period of the games. These include:

• reviewing the current area needs, including conferring with stakeholders and doing plume modeling to estimate the effects of releases,
• establishing the power to request organizations with Emergency Response Assistance Plans (ERAPS) to invoke them in a dangerous goods event, even if the dangerous goods do not belong to the organization; and
• publishing an interim order that requires organizations to report any lost or stolen dangerous goods to the police immediately.

One of the biggest issues will be the creation of restricted zones near venues, where dangerous goods in significant quantities may be prohibited entirely, or restricted to certain time periods each day (normally, during late night or early morning hours only). Details of these provisions may be found on Transport Canada’s website at http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/tdg/olympics-controlledaccesszones-322.htm. Companies who need to transport in essential materials, such as fuel or medical supplies, may apply for a “business-critical” exemption, but the standards are high; they must persuade Transport Canada that delaying the shipment may result in risks to public safety.

Even the traditional Olympic Torch Run has come under Transport Canada’s scrutiny; they have established several permits (now called Equivalency Certificates) to allow people who are not trained dangerous goods workers to handle the propane and other supplies for the torch, and to allow these supplies to be transported more easily by air.

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