Daniels Training Services

Q&A: Are these HazMat Employees?

Q&A: Are these HazMat Employees?

A question from an employee of a utility district (01.20.17):

A municipal utility district uses chlorine cylinders to treat drinking water. The cylinders are leased and returned to the vendor for refill with a small amount of residual chlorine under pressure.

In your opinion would any of these activities define the municipal utility district employees as an offer/shipper under DOT rules requiring triannual training?

-Disconnecting cylinders from the treatment process
-Marking the cylinders as “empty”
-Affixing the correct cap to the cylinder
-Moving the cylinder to a desgnated location for pickup by the vendor
-Inspecting cylinders for damage prior to movement into the designated area

Thanks

Before I had a chance to reply he added this:

I wanted add one more employee activity to the scenario I emailed earlier.

-Employees inspecting cylinders for damaged hazmat labels and affixing a replacement label.

Thanks

My reply that same day:

OK, that’s a really good question(s) and one that may not have a clear-cut answer, but I will do my best.  Please see below:

  • Triennial training is required per PHMSA/USDOT regulations for HazMat Employees.
  • HazMat Employee is defined at 49 CFR 171.8 as someone who directly affects the safe transportation of hazardous materials.  This includes loading and unloading HazMat and preparing HazMat for transportation.  This PowerPoint presentation of mine may help:  Who is a HazMat Employee and What Training is Required?
  • My opinion of your activities related to HazMat Employee status (“N/A” = not applicable to HazMat Employee status):
    • Disconnecting cylinders from the treatment process.  N/A
    • Marking the cylinders as “empty”.  N/A
    • Affixing the correct cap to the cylinder.  N/A
    • Moving the cylinder to a designated location for pickup by the vendor. N/A unless it is considered to be preparation for transportation.
    • Inspecting cylinders for damage prior to movement into the designated area.  Possibly HazMat Employee if this is an inspection to ensure they are OK for transportation.  N/A if inspection is not related to preparation for transportation.
    • Employees inspecting cylinders for damaged hazmat labels and affixing a replacement label.  This is definitely an activity of a HazMat Employee.

You may also be interested in the Government Employee Exemption.Sign, reserved parking, government employee only

I hope this helps.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any other questions.
Me checking in a few days late (01.25.17):
I hope I answered your question completely.

Please let me know if I can be of any other assistance to you.

His reply with an interesting insight:
Thank you.  I believe a lot of utility districts do not understand how broad the scope of the DOT requirements actually are and mistakenly believe they are exempt.

Contact me with any questions you may have about the transportation of hazardous materials by air, highway, vessel, or rail

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Daniels Training Services, Inc.

815.821.1550

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http://www.danielstraining.com/

My comments:

How true!  I believe that only a small fraction of persons are aware of their responsibility as HazMat Employees to be trained and as HazMat Employer to provide initial and triennial training to their HazMat Employees.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about your responsibilities under the Hazardous Materials Regulations of the PHMSA/USDOT.