At first glance, the world of transporting hazardous materials can appear intimidating. From ensuring workers are properly trained, to balancing compliance with regulatory agencies, and ensuring hazardous materials are both safely and efficiently transported. That all can come off as overwhelming to say the least. Whether you are an employee who is required to complete hazardous materials training, or an employer looking to ensure their “hazmat employees” are trained to perform their job functions, we have got you covered.
First, let’s start with the most important resource related to transporting hazmat in the United States:
You may have heard of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations Title 49, commonly referred to as “49 CFR”. The Hazardous Materials Regulations of the United States can be discovered in Title 49 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, Parts 100-185. These parts are collectively referred to as the Hazardous Materials Regulations, or HMR. The regulations found within 49 CFR are issued by PHMSA (Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration). PHMSA was created by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), and “is responsible for regulating and ensuring the secure movement of hazardous materials to industry and consumers by all modes of transportation”.
49 CFR is important to all businesses that deal with hazardous materials. The US Department of Transportation can sanction and enforce civil penalties for compliance violations. Key increases for violations or non-compliance with the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations for 2021 include but are not limited to:
- The maximum civil penalty for hazmat shipping violations has increased from $83,439 to $84,425 per day, per violation.
- For a violation that results in death, serious illness, severe injury, or substantial property damage, the maximum hazmat civil penalty has increased from $194,691 to $196,992 per day, per violation.
- The minimum penalty for failure to provide hazmat training for employees has risen from $502 to $508 per employee, per day.
49 CFR and Hazmat Training
49 CFR Subpart H, Section 172.704 (49 CFR 172.704) states that hazmat employees – whether rookies, or seasoned professionals who have changed job functions – must receive appropriate training to enable them to properly perform their specific job functions as they relate to the safe transportation of hazardous materials, and this training must be retaken at specified time periods.
What is a “Hazmat Employee”?
Defined at 49 CFR 171.8, “a hazmat employee is a person employed by a hazmat employer who, in the course of their employment, loads, unloads or handles hazardous materials; designs, manufacturers, fabricates, inspects, marks, maintains, reconditions, repairs, or tests a package, container or packaging component that is represented, marked certified or sold as qualified for use in transporting hazardous materials in commerce or directly affects hazardous materials transportation.”
Examples of Hazmat Employees
- Truck Driver
- Forklift Operator
- Waste Management / Sanitation Worker
- Construction Worker
- Automotive Technician
- Dock Worker
- Lab Technician
What is a “Hazmat Employer”?
Now that we covered hazmat employees, let’s talk about the employers. In the world of hazardous materials, employers are required to provide hazardous materials training to their employees. Defined at 49 CFR (171.8), a hazmat employer: “means a person who uses one or more of its employees in connection with: transporting hazardous materials in commerce; causing hazardous materials to be shipped in commerce; or repairing, or modifying containers, drums, or packages as qualifying for us in the transportation of hazardous materials”.
Examples of Hazmat Employers:
- Construction Site Mangers
- Auto Shop Managers
- Transportation / Trucking Managers
- Cosmetic Manufacturers
- Paint Manufacturers
- Shipping Managers
- E-bike Manufacturers
In addition, according to section 172.704 of 49 CFR, each hazmat employer is responsible for their employees to provide proper hazardous materials training, certification, and records of completion for its employees. In addition, they are responsible for the retraining of hazmat employees at least every three years.
Hazmat employee training must also include:
- Function-specific training covers regulations pertaining to specific job functions.
- General Awareness/ Familiarization which focuses on the handling, shipping and/ or transportation of hazardous materials
- Safety training discusses how the employee will be protected from hazards. The emergency response information in 49 CFR 600 must also be covered as part of safety training.
- Security awareness training provides an awareness of risks associated with transporting hazardous materials. This training is required within 90 days of employment or assignment and methods for recognizing and responding to possible security threats must also be discussed.
- In-depth security training teaches employees about company security objectives, specific security procedures, employee responsibilities, actions to take in the event of a security breach, and the organizational security structure.
Ensuring workers are safely trained to transport hazardous materials effectively is, by its nature, a serious business. Civil penalties, injuries, illnesses, and deaths are all outcomes we hope to avoid, not just professionally, but equally within our private lives. At Shipmate we are fully committed to ensuring safety, preserving life, promoting health, and protecting the environment. So much so that it is our mission statement.
We’ve got you covered.