Field officials with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will visit most of the nation's hazardous materials carriers in the coming months. Their mission is to increase the level of awareness of hazardous materials carriers to terrorist threats. These visits will not result in a compliance review or enforcement action. The information being provided by the field staff will be in the form of recommendations and suggestions except those regulatory requirements affecting the actual movement of hazardous materials.
Highlights of the issues to be covered are outlined below. These recommendations may not apply to all carriers, based on their size and scope of operation. Additionally, this list is not all-inclusive and will be changed based on future priorities to address terrorist threats.
GENERAL SECURITY INFORMATION
- Recommend to carrier that a security plan be developed and implemented. It should include:
- Personal Security
- Hazardous Materials and Package Control
- En Route Security
- Technical Innovations
- Management Prerogatives
- Readjustment Based Upon Current Conditions
- Recommend that management include all levels in security decisions.
- Ask officials to recognize that employees can be substantial security risks.
- Review a driver list with the official and, if possible, identify those drivers whose names can be linked to one the countries that have been identified that support terrorist activities.
- Ensure that detailed background checks have been performed on these individuals as required by the regulations. Recommend more detailed background checks for suspicious individuals. Look at the following for indicators:
- Gaps in employment
- Frequent job shifts
- All names used by the applicant
- Type of military discharge
- Present and prior residence information
- Personal references
- Criminal history
- Verify U.S. citizenship for all employees.
- For those employees who are not U.S. citizens, verify that all immigration papers are on file and properly documented.
- Make sure that interviews are conducted when hiring new drivers/employees. Obtain information that will help to appraise the personality, character, motivation, honesty, integrity, and reliability and to judge his appearance and personnel characteristics face to face.
- Any information or suspicious activity discovered during the review of these files should be reported immediately to your SD/DA for notification of the local FBI office.
HAZARDOUS MATERIALS AND PACKAGE CONTROLS
- Is there adequate lighting for the facility grounds?
- Are HM storage areas at the carrier's facility secured in fences or buildings?
- Consider requiring personnel identification cards/badges for access to areas with HM.
- Check the adequacy of locks and other protective measures.
- Require records for removal of HM from secure locations.
- Does the company protect HM using alarms and/or other security systems?
- Reinforce with drivers the importance to remain aware of their surroundings at all times
- Consider if a guard force is appropriate (DOD Shipments, PIH, RAM, other).
- Recommend standard procedures on control of packages
- Educate all personnel on package control measures * Provide notices to employees on package control procedures. Post procedures prominently at appropriate locations
- Conduct security spot checks of personnel and vehicles
- Do not accept any hazardous materials shipments from unfamiliar shippers.
- Perform credit checks and use other readily available services to determine the authenticity of the business (shippers).
- Be familiar with vendors that service your facility
EN ROUTE SECURITY
- Avoid high population centers, including downtown and/or metropolitan areas where possible.
- Use alternate routes that avoid high population areas.
- Ensure that all Hazardous Materials are delivered expeditiously.
- Instruct drivers to lock vehicles when stopped.
- Avoid tunnels and bridges where possible.
- Reinforce attendance and parking rules in 49 CFR Part 397.
- Consider if a guard is appropriate.
- Make yourself aware of technical innovations that could assist in security such as cell phones, satellite tracking, and surveillance systems.
- Look at state of the art locks and seals.
- Are access control systems appropriate?
- Consider tamper proof locking features for 5th Wheels (so that trailers can't be stolen).
- Consider use of blanket-type alarms that signal when blanket is moved (more appropriate for small carriers).
- Consider installing electronic engine controls that require a code, in addition to a key, to start a vehicle.
- Include fingerprinting and photographs of applicants in the employment process.
- Be aware of personal identify theft such as using stolen social security numbers, references, etc.
- Consider running criminal background checks on individuals with access to very sensitive materials (explosives, poison gases, biological agents)
- Consider implementing security training for employees that includes:
- Company Security Objectives
- Specific Security Procedures
- Employee Responsibility
- Organizational Security Structure
- Develop a communications network with others in the industry in an effort to share information to determine if there is a pattern of activities that, when taken alone are not significant, but when taken as a whole generate concern.
- Develop a means of communication within the physical plant and the vehicle (cell phones, satellite tracking, radios, etc.) Is the system capable of reaching all key personnel?
- Security messages should be presented to employees in various methods such as newsletters, bulletin boards, etc.
READJUSTMENT BASED UPON CURRENT CONDITIONS
- Emphasize that terrorist activities tend to happen in groups. Security should be heightened if new attacks begin.
- Increase security measures if U.S. begins military activity in foreign countries.
- Request that drivers watch for any suspicious activities in their vicinity. If drivers should witness any suspicious activities, they should immediately report it through 311 or 911.
OSHA ISSUES GUIDELINES TO PROTECT EMPLOYEES FROM ANTHRAX THREAT
U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao issued recommendations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that will reduce the risk of anthrax exposure when handling mail. The guidelines are part of an effort to ensure that the American people know that workplaces will remain safe.
"The risk of exposure to anthrax in most offices is minute, however a few common sense steps should always be taken," Chao said. "These will help companies and their employees reduce the risk of exposure. Now, more than ever, we must work together to protect the health of our employees."
Chao advised workers to exercise good judgment and caution when handling mail and take the following precautionary measures as outlined by OSHA:
- Be on the lookout for suspicious letters and packages, including packages or envelopes of unusual weight or size, packages or envelopes with a handwritten address and/or no return address and packages or envelopes with excessive postage.
- Open packages/envelopes with a minimum amount of movement and always use a letter opener or method that is least likely to disturb the contents.
- Do not blow into envelopes.
- Do not shake or pour out the contents.
- Keep hands away from nose and mouth when opening mail.
- Always wash hands after handling mail.
Chao added that if employers or employees choose to use protective equipment such as gloves, it is important they take necessary steps to make sure these items are handled and used properly.
ADDITIONAL $1.5 BILLION PROPOSED TO COMBAT BIOTERRORISM
President Bush's $20 billion emergency relief budget request includes $1.5 billion for HHS to further strengthen the nation's ability to respond to and treat potential bioterrorism attacks, HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson announced Wednesday.
The $1.5 billion emergency request is in addition to HHS' regular fiscal year 2002 budget request of $345 million for bioterrorism preparedness and would allow HHS to greatly accelerate its efforts to deal with any potential bioterrorism incident. The total request of $1.9 billion represents more than a six-fold increase above the $297 million Congress appropriated in fiscal year 2001 for HHS' bioterrorism preparedness efforts.
"President Bush wants to make sure America's ability to deal with bioterrorism is as strong as possible and he's aggressively pursuing the tools needed," Secretary Thompson said. "We're currently responding quickly and effectively to the biological events in our country, but this comprehensive package will substantially strengthen our capabilities. In particular, the package helps build the response capabilities of state and local government as well as bolster our pharmaceutical stockpile."
The $1.5 billion emergency budget request will support efforts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other HHS agencies, as well as state and local efforts. Key elements include:
- Expanding the National Pharmaceutical Stockpile. The proposal includes $643 million to expand this essential program that ensures speedy distribution of antibiotics and other supplies in the event of a major incident. It would ensure antibiotics are available to protect as many as 12 million people from potential anthrax exposure, as well as increasing other stockpiles of medical supplies at secure locations around the country. This funding also would support state and local stockpiles and train state and local experts in the use of stockpiled supplies if needed.
- Expanding smallpox vaccine supplies. The proposal includes $509 million to speed the development and acquisition of smallpox vaccine in order to reach any American potentially exposed to the virus in a potential bioterrorist attack. Currently, more than 15 million doses of smallpox vaccine are available. The additional funds will allow the department to stockpile as much vaccine as needed to protect the nation in the event of an outbreak of smallpox.
- Speeding the development of new bioterrorism tools. The proposal includes $34.6 million to expedite the work of the FDA on bioterrorism vaccines, drug therapies, diagnostic tests and consultations with other agencies and private industry.
- Increasing state and local readiness. The proposal includes $175 million for state and local efforts related to bioterrorism readiness. Specifically, $50 million will support increased capacity at the nation's hospitals and other health facilities in the event of any incident that could potentially lead to mass casualties. Another $50 million will bolster the Metropolitan Medical Response System, consisting of federally supported local preparedness efforts in 122 cities this fiscal year, to respond to bioterrorism, especially the public health aspects; $10 million will support other local planning efforts; $40 million will support early detection surveillance to identify potential bioterrorism agents; $15 million will support increased capacity in up to an additional 45 state and local laboratories (for a total of 78); and $10 million will increase the capacity for CDC and state and local laboratories to assess exposure to 150 hazardous chemical agents through blood and urine tests.
- Expanding HHS response capabilities. The proposal includes $88 million to expand HHS' capacity to respond to bioterrorism incidents, including $20 million for the CDC's Rapid Response and Advance Technology and specialty labs, which provide quick identification of suspected agents and technical assistance to state labs; and $20 million to support additional specialized expert epidemiology teams to send to states and cities to rapidly respond to public health risks, infectious diseases and other disaster-related needs, including Epidemic Intelligence Officers specifically assigned to all 50 states. Other resources will increase capacity in other HHS response programs; strengthen emergency communication for federal, state and local governments during crisis situations; and improve global surveillance of infectious diseases, focusing on potential terrorist agents.
- Improving food safety. The proposal includes $61 million to allow increased inspections of imported food products. The additional resources will allow the FDA to hire 410 more inspectors, lab specialists and other compliance experts, in addition to allowing the FDA to invest in new technology and scientific equipment to detect select agents.
In addition to the $1.5 billion emergency bioterrorism proposal, the administration has proposed an additional $84 million for other recovery and non-bioterrorism efforts. This includes $20 million to replenish public health resources in New York; $39 million to improve security at HHS laboratories (in addition to $4.75 million announced Sept. 21 as a result of Congress' earlier emergency appropriation); $15 million for emergency-response equipment; and another $10 million for social services activities (in addition to the $25 million released in the first round of emergency funding).
"In recent weeks, we demonstrated that we can respond quickly and effectively to contain a potential bioterrorism incident, but we also know that we must quickly build on our progress in order to better protect Americans in the future," Secretary Thompson said. "This emergency request would accelerate our efforts to expand response capabilities nationally and locally, and bolster our stockpiles of pharmaceuticals and other supplies that may be needed following a major attack."
In a bioterrorism event, HHS has special responsibilities, including detecting the disease, investigating the outbreak, and providing stockpiled drugs and emergency supplies in the large amounts needed. In July, Secretary Thompson named Scott Lillibridge, a physician who had coordinated the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's bioterrorism response efforts, as special advisor to lead the department's coordinated bioterrorism initiative.
NEW NSC WEBSITE AND HOTLINE PROVIDE EMERGENCY PLANNING RESOURCES
Wide-ranging information on emergency planning and disaster preparedness, including detailed checklists for businesses and homeowners and resources for emergency planners and journalists, is available from a new website and hotline offered by the National Safety Council (NSC). The new website is supplemented by a toll-free Emergency Planning Hotline (1-800-672-4692), where questions on preparing for emergencies can be directed to NSC experts.
"The tragedies of September 11 have left many Americans feeling vulnerable - but we certainly don't need to feel helpless," said NSC President Alan McMillan. "There are a number of steps we can all take to prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies, either man-made or natural.
"Every family, workplace and community should have an emergency preparedness and response plan," McMillan said. "Our new website includes a number of resources and products from the National Safety Council, as well as links to information from other sources, to help citizens and their organizations plan for emergencies in their homes, workplaces and communities."
Featured on the website are two downloadable documents made available by the Council's Educational Resources Division: "Basic Safety & Security Inspection Checkpoints for Public & Commercial Buildings," a primer on developing safety and security programs and procedures; and "10-point Checklist for Emergency Preparedness." The checklist was prepared by Dr. Susan M. Smith, Assistant Professor of Safety and Public Health at the University of Tennessee's Safety Center, with the help of graduate students participating in the university's Safety Workshop. The checklist can be used by business and building managers and emergency planners, as well as individual workers and residents, to determine if adequate emergency facilities and procedures, such as communication and evacuation systems, are in place and operating properly.
"The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon have added whole new dimensions to our concept of safety," McMillan said. "While more than 5,000 people perished, the fact that 25,000 lives were saved at the World Trade Center underscores the importance of proper preparation for emergencies and disasters - including well thought-out and well-drilled evacuation procedures, facility readiness, training, education and communication.
"Readiness must be an urgent priority for everyone charged with the responsibility for protecting the safety and health of workers and building occupants," he said. "Emergency planning can no longer be regarded as only theoretical: the threat of a disaster is real, and we must do everything we can to be prepared."
NACOSH PUBLIC MEETING SET FOR NOV. 28 IN WASHINGTON, DC
The National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH) will meet in Washington, D.C., on November 28, to discuss OSHA and NIOSH activities.
The public meeting will be held at the Hall of States located at 444 N Capital Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. The meeting is open to the public and will begin at 9:00 a.m. and last until approximately 4:00 p.m.
In addition to an overview of activities, other agenda items may include; a presentation on OSHA and NIOSH's responses to the terrorists attacks, ergonomics issues, recordkeeping and outreach initiatives.
NACOSH was established under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to advise the secretaries of labor and health and human services on occupational safety and health programs. Members of the 12-person advisory committee are chosen on the basis of their knowledge and experience in occupational safety and health.
Written data, views or comments for consideration by the committee may be submitted, preferably with 20 copies, to J. Catherine Sutter, OSHA, Room N-3641, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C., 20210. Twenty copies are requested. Submissions received prior to the meeting will be included in the record. For more information, Ms. Sutter can be reached at (202) 693-1933.
Individuals with disabilities wishing to attend the meeting and who require special accommodations should contact Veneta Chatmon by calling (202) 693-1999 one week before the meeting.
An official record of the meeting will be available for public inspection at the OSHA Technical Data Center, Room N2625. Contact the Docket Office at (202) 693-2350.