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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Hazardous Materials

HazMat Tanks on a Railroad Track

FRA administers a safety program that oversees the movement of hazardous materials throughout the Nation’s rail transportation system, including international shipments transported to and from the United States. The terms “hazardous materials” and “dangerous goods” include energy products, chemicals, hazardous wastes, and radioactive materials. FRA also oversees the movement of packages marked to indicate compliance with a Federal or international hazardous materials standard, even if the packages do not contain a hazardous material. 

FRA’s safety program includes the following activities: 

  • Providing direction and guidance regarding hazardous materials safety and security enforcement, including inspections and audits.  
  • Coordinating efforts with industry to eliminate non-accident releases of hazardous materials in rail transportation.
  • Coordinating hazardous materials safety and security programs with other DOT operating administrations, state and local organizations, and industry stakeholder groups.
  • Participating with industry and professional organizations to establish voluntary standards related to the reliability, safety, and serviceability of bulk packages used for the transportation of hazardous materials by rail.