Safety Train Q&A with Plains Marketing

CSX’s “Safety Train: Energy Preparedness Program” recently completed its 2014 tour, training 2,022 first responders from more than 350 public safety organizations in 18 cities. Using a rolling classroom and rail cars, the program provided insights on how rail cars work and how to respond to rail-related incidents.

Several CSX customers participated in the trainings to better understand crude oil rail safety. Greg McDonald, Yorktown Rail Operations Supervisor for Plains Marketing, shares his experience of attending the Richmond, Virginia training.

What is the importance of safety and safety training at your facility?

Safety and safety training is of utmost importance at our facility.  Plains Marketing strives to make continuous improvements toward the goal of zero injuries and incidents as well as zero impact to the environment.  Continual training is a core element in the prevention of injuries or incidents.

How many people from your company attended the CSX Safety Train and what are their roles at the terminal?

We had eleven people attend the Safety Train event.  Six were Plains Marketing employees and five were Arrow Material Services employees.

We had a well-rounded mixture of managers, supervisors and operators attend the training over two days.  Some of us, such as the Arrow Material Services employees, are directly involved with crude oil by unit train offload. Others from Plains Marketing are involved with the offload of other commodities such at butane, ethanol and propane on a daily basis.

Why do you think this training is important for first responders and customers?

It is important for both first responders and we as customers to be knowledgeable on how to quickly identify the various hazardous commodities in railcars. This training allowed us to become familiar with the components of both the locomotives and railcars so that a derailment or any other emergency involving tank cars can be dealt with safely and expeditiously.

What did you find most beneficial about the Safety Train?  Did you find the hands-on experience valuable?

It allowed all of us from different careers and skillsets to interact and learn from each other.  I also found the handouts and training disc to be beneficial for use as training material for employees as well as quick reference aids in the field.

I thought the hands-on training was beneficial because, coupled with classroom training, one can receive a higher degree of learning by actually seeing and touching components and working with the various emergency stop leak devices.

Why is it important that Plains Marketing has relationships with first responders? How has the Safety Train impacted those relationships?

It’s crucial for Plains Marketing to have a sound working relationship with first responders.  We all have a vested interest in protecting the environment and ensuring the safe passage of trains through our communities.

How did the Safety Train help Plains Marketing in your preparedness efforts?

This training gave us a higher level of understanding of components of both pressurized and non-pressurized tank cars and actions to take in the event of an emergency. Overall, this helps us in achieving a higher level of readiness.

How do events like the Safety Train fit into your overall community outreach?

With the increased amount of crude oil traveling by rail now and the attention it has received, the community has concerns.  Training such as the CSX Safety Train for first responders and customers plays an integral part in alleviating those concerns.