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Interpretation Response #04-0115 ([Sunoco, Inc. Neville Island Plant] [Mr. Michael D. Alston])

Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Sunoco, Inc. Neville Island Plant

Individual Name: Mr. Michael D. Alston

Location State: PA Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

Nov 4, 2004


Mr. Michael D. Alston                Reference No. 04-0115
Sunoco, Inc.
Neville Island Plant
200 Neville Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15225

Dear Mr. Alston:

This is in response to your April 19, 2004 letter requesting clarification of the attendance requirements for unloading tank cars containing hazardous materials under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180). Specifically you ask if the procedure described in your letter meets the attendance requirements of § 174.67 and your DOT exemption (DOT—E l2443).

The answer is yes. The arrangement described in your letter satisfies the requirements of § 174.67 and DOT—E 12443.

Section 174.67(I) of the HMR requires a tank car to be continuously attended throughout the entire period of unloading and while the tank car is connected to an unloading device. This requirement can be met by human attendance or by use of signaling systems, such as sensors, alarms, and electronic surveillance equipment. Human monitoring must be performed by the person responsible for the unloading operation. The attendant may monitor unloading from on-site or from a remote location within the plant. In either location, the attendant must be knowledgeable about the product, have the ability to identify conditions requiring action, and have the capability and authority to halt the flow of product immediately.

Under the provisions of DOT-E 12443, authorized tank cars containing hazardous materials may remain standing with unloading connections attached when no product is being transferred, provided:

(1)        The facility operator restricts access to the track.

(2)        An employee is designated to be responsible for on—site mo in the absence of the unloader.

(3)        When a signaling system is used it must meet the provisions under Paragraph 7(d) of the exemption.

(4)        In the absence of the unloader, shutoff valves must be closed, no product may be transferred, and the requirements for setting brakes and displaying warning signs under § 174.67 (a) (2) and (3) apply.
(5)        Written procedures for employees performing duties under the exemption must be created and maintained in accordance with Paragraph 8 of the exemption.

The term “attendance” is not specifically defined in the hazardous materials regulations. The purpose of the attendance requirement is to ensure that hazardous materials are unloaded safely. In the event of an emergency, the unloader’s attendance is required so that the unloading process can be rapidly halted. As indicated above, the continuous monitoring requirement may be satisfied by human monitoring or through the use of electronic equipment (e.g., a closed circuit television device) which enables the monitoring personnel to stop the unloading process immediately.

I hope this information is helpful. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact this office.



Hattie L. Mitchell
Chief, Regulatory Review and Reinvention
Office of Hazardous Materials Standards


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
174.67 Tank car unloading