This report addresses the adequacy of the Federal Railroad Administration's (FRA's) hazardous materials inspection program, and the progress made by the Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA) to (1) improve the accuracy and completeness of its Hazardous Materials Information System and (2) register shippers of hazardous materials. Results of this study are in brief as follows: FRA's hazardous materials inspection program has not been effectively implemented. Because of this, FRA cannot ensure that shippers and railroads are adhering to RSPA's hazardous materials regulations. FRA has experienced implementation problems because: (1) of inadequate headquarters guidance on procedures for inspecting shippers and railroads, including how shippers and railroads should be selected for inspection and what authority inspectors have to cite shippers for noncompliance with safety regulations; (2) it did not use a systematic approach to target high-risk shippers and railroads for inspections; (3) inspectors were concentrating on inspecting individual tank cars rather than evaluating the effectiveness of shippers' and railroads' safety procedures; and (4) it did not have a sufficient number of inspectors to ensure that shippers and railroads were complying with hazardous materials regulations. Past General Accounting Office and Office of Technology Assessment studies criticized RSPA for not maintaining an accurate and complete hazardous materials information system. RSPA has made some improvements, but more needs to be done.

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Tables;
  • Pagination: 39 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00491945
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: GAO/RCED-90-43
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 31 1990 12:00AM