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Hazardous Materials Safety Information

The American Society of Safety Engineers' (ASSE) free brochure titled ‘Hazardous Materials Safety Information Guide' provides key information aimed at educating the public on hazardous materials (hazmats) – what they are, who to call in an emergency, how local emergency planning committees work, how they are transported and much more, all aimed at increasing safety.

Of the more than 3.1 billion tons of hazmats transported throughout the U.S. in 2000, there were 17,514 hazmat incidents resulting in 13 fatalities, 246 injuries and causing $72,727,595 in damages. Ohio had the most incidents, with Texas second and California third. To provide vital information on hazmats to the public in light of an expected increase in the transport of hazmats, currently at 800,000 shipments per day, and with the increased threat of terrorism, ASSE developed the ‘Hazardous Materials Safety Information Guide.'

According to a recent U.S. Department of Transportation Commodity Flow Survey, Texas has the highest amount of hazardous material shipments in the U.S. flowing annually through the state either by truck, rail, water, pipeline or air. Louisiana ranks second in flow followed by California, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Ohio, Florida, New Jersey and Michigan.

Should an emergency occur, federal officials say the general public should first call 911 and, if one can identify the size and color of the placards on the transport vehicle without endangering their own safety, to provide that information to the authorities.

As for safety planning, there are State Emergency Response Commissions (SERC) who designate Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPC) in most communities across the U.S. LEPCs are made up of local emergency service personnel, occupational safety and health professionals, and local officials who work to prevent and plan responses to accidental or deliberate chemical incidents. They are operated through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). One can locate their LEPC by checking the EPA web site at

For a copy of the ASSE brochure contact ASSE customer service at 847-699-2929 or e-mail and ask for item number G017. Founded in 1911, the Des Plaines, IL-based American Society of Safety Engineers is the oldest safety society and is committed to protecting people, property and the environment. Its more than 32,000 members are occupational safety, health and environmental professionals. For more information contact ASSE at