Oil that exploded in Lac-Mégantic was mislabelled
The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) has confirmed that the tank cars carrying crude oil on the train that derailed and exploded in Lac-Mégantic on July 7, killing 47 people, had been improperly labeled.
Product testing by the TSB proved that the liquid being transported in the tank cars should have been labelled Group 2, which is the category that identifies very volatile and explosive liquids, like gasoline.
But they were labelled as Group 3, which is used to identify low hazard, less flammable liquids.
"The lower flash point of the crude oil explains in part why the oil ignited so quickly,” said Donald Ross the lead investigator for the Lac-Mégantic case. “The packing group is one of the consideration in selecting a container, which also calls into question the adequacy of these tank cars for transporting large quantities of high flammable liquids. “
U.S. rail officials also say highly explosive oil should be transported in smaller quantities.
The TSB is calling on regulators to review the labelling processes for companies transporting or importing dangerous goods to make sure they are properly documented and labelled for safe transportation.
Ross says mislabelling is also dangerous for the people handling the liquids and for first responders to an accident scene.
The Lac-Mégantic investigation is ongoing. They are currently testing product samples and tank car components.