Some of the commonly asked questions when it comes to DOT Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) Training usually comes from the employees who are required to get certified. While the program is widely-known in various industries, the Department of Transportation still get a fair amount of queries from operators on whether they are bound by the US DOT Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR).
If you’re new to this regulation or in need of clarification, read on as we’re about to break down HAZMAT training right from the top.
What is DOT HAZMAT Training?
In the US, all HAZMAT shipments leaving a facility must comply with the US DOT Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR). In which case, training is mandatory for managers and employees who prepare hazardous materials for transport.
It’s worth noting that DOT HAZMAT rules are stringent, and non-compliance penalties can range up to $79,976 per day, per violation. Meanwhile, regular HAZMAT training violators can face up to $481 fine per day, per violation.
DOT HAZMAT Training focuses on OSHA’s regulations as well as the training requirements contained in 49 CFR of the Federal DOT regulation. The training program includes key modules on how to identify HAZMAT, how to handle and transport them, and how precautionary measures must implemented according to certain standards that are set per industry.
Who Needs DOT HAZMAT Training?
There could be a number of people involved, both directly and indirectly, in the processing of hazardous materials. As a general rule for operators, anyone in the workforce that is involved with the process and handling of hazardous materials must undergo DOT HAZMAT training. The list includes:
- Purchases the packaging and/or determines it’s the correct packaging for your materials;
- Prepares the package for sending (boxes, labels, determines which box to use, etc.);
- Fills out the paperwork, choosing labels or choosing placards
- Signs off on manifests or paperwork (including sending hazardous waste);
- Loads, unloads, and handles HAZMAT;
- Sells, tests, reconditions, repairs or modifies packaging for use in shipping HAZMAT;
- Screens baggage, cargo, or mail;
- Transports HAZMAT or operates a vehicle transporting HAZMAT;
- Is a freight forwarder who accepts/transfers/handles/unloads cargo; and,
- Anyone who supervises or trains any of the above personnel.
The employees must come out of the training with general awareness and familiarization of HAZMAT regulations so they can pass certification. After that, they will be required to recertify every three (3) years.
Why is DOT HAZMAT Training Important?
Processing, handling, and transporting of hazardous materials has the potential to put employees and those around them in danger when the job hasn’t been properly executed. The training focuses on all measures that can be done in order to prevent those life-threatening scenarios. Just like other OSHA regulations, DOT HAZMAT training aims to prevent workplace accidents and educate employees on how they can protect themselves in case one breaks out on their watch. Companies must also ensure that they are following HAZMAT guidelines for compliance and overall workplace safety.
Where to get DOT HAZMAT Training?
While there are still training centers that conduct HAZMAT training in person, this method has now become largely inefficient due to logistics and scheduling issues. The good news is that DOT HAZMAT courses are also available online with literally the same credits as traditional training.
When choosing the appropriate training, the HAZMAT employer determines the level and details of training based on an employee’s job functions. The three basic categories for required training are:
- General Awareness Training: At a minimum, all HAZMAT employees must be given a general understanding of the entire hazardous materials transportation program, so that they know how their jobs fit into the system.
- Safety Training: Persons handling or potentially exposed to hazardous materials during the cycle of transportation (e.g., drivers, loaders, loading dock workers, and warehousemen) must be trained in safe handling and emergency response procedures applicable to the hazards to which they may be exposed.
- Security Awareness Training: All HAZMAT employees must be trained to recognize and protect against potential terrorist threats involving hazardous material shipments.
These three categories are generally referred to as “HAZMAT employee” training and are available in both online and classroom-based courses.
The internet-based programs, however, boast the advantage of being more accessible and cost-efficient. With group enrollment, companies will also stand to save more in just a single transaction. Furthermore, learners will have the ability to revisit certain topics that initially came across as confusing to them.
Lastly, there are no exceptions for DOT HAZMAT Training, no matter how little your involvement is with hazardous materials transportation. If you ever ship any hazardous materials, all personnel involved in process must be trained accordingly under existing guidelines and regulations.