Keeping dangerous goods safety on track

Dangerous goods officers hit the rail and inspect and audit rail sites across regional WA.
Date: Monday, 15 August 2016

Rail operators transporting dangerous goods in Western Australia are the focus of an inspection program by Dangerous Goods officers from the Department of Mines and Petroleum.

The program was launched to coincide with Rail Safety Week, a national event highlighting rail safety issues.

Dangerous Goods Team Leader Erin James said the inspection program was an opportunity to provide important safety information regarding dangerous goods transport and handling.

"This is an opportunity to remind operators about having the correct fire protection, safety equipment and current documents and reference materials - such as emergency procedure guides," Ms James said.

"The other important focus is around documenting training and maintenance records."

Ms James said an incident late last year where a freight train carrying sulphuric acid derailed near Julia Creek in Queensland provided an important reminder for rail operators.

"In that particular case, some of the tanks ruptured and none of the work crew on the train had access to necessary safety equipment including respiratory protection masks," Ms James said.

"Fortunately they were able to make their way to safety, unaffected by the sulphuric acid.

"However, the incident does provide an important reminder to rail operators to prioritise dangerous goods safety and ensure chemicals are transported safely, and be aware of how you would respond in the event of an emergency."