Tags: hazmat employee training
Posts Tagged hazmat employee training
Persons responsible for the safe transportation of hazardous materials within the U.S., known as HazMat Employees, must receive the training required by the US DOT at 49 CFR 172, Subpart H. If you only ship hazardous materials domestically, by highway or rail, then this is the only training necessary.
The transportation of HazMat in Canada – known there as dangerous goods – is subject to the regulations of Transport Canada: The Canadian Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations. Transport Canada has similar training requirements to those of the US DOT for all persons involved in the handling, offering for transport and/or transporting of dangerous goods. With a few exceptions for differences between the two country’s regulations (see below); both the US DOT @ 171.12 and Transport Canada generally accept compliance with the other’s regulations for transport by highway or rail between the two countries.
This acceptance extends to the allowance of training completed per the regulations of one country (either the US or Canada) to meet the training requirements of the other for the transportation of HazMat/dangerous goods by highway or rail. In other words, HazMat Employees trained and tested per the requirements of the US DOT may handle, offer for transport, or transport a HazMat/dangerous good into, from, and/or through Canada by highway or rail. Conversely, a person trained according to the requirements of Transport Canada’s regulations may handle, offer for transport, or transport a HazMat/dangerous good into, from, and/or through the US by highway or rail. This guidance document from Transport Canada explains their side of this agreement (RDIMS #5907129, June 2010).
Regardless of the understanding between the two countries (limited only to shipments by highway or rail), as the shipper of a hazardous material/dangerous good, it is your responsibility to ensure your compliance with the regulations of the respective national agency. Below are a few situations where compliance with one nation’s regulations will not suffice for the requirements of the other:
- A hazardous material/dangerous good forbidden by one country but not by the other.
- A hazardous material/dangerous good regulated by one country but not by the other.
- The hazardous material/dangerous good is transported under an exception to the regulations recognized by one country but not the other.
- Other differences in the regulations. Example: The Class 9 placard is required to be used in Canada if applicable, but is not required to be used in the US under any circumstances.
Also please note that an agreement of accepting compliance with another country’s regulations for transportation within another does not exist between the US and Mexico.
Determination of compliance with the regulations, both domestic and international, is your responsibility as the shipper of a hazardous material/dangerous good. As a HazMat Employer you must also ensure your HazMat Employees are properly trained. My training will not only meet the regulatory requirements, but it will give you the tools you need to ensure compliance with the regulations, no matter the destination of your hazardous materials.
If you train your HazMat Employees triennially as required by US DOT regulations at 49 CFR 172, Subpart H; you are no doubt aware that in addition to training, §172.702(d) requires you to test them on the training requirements found in §172.704(a), these are:
- General Awareness/Familiarization
- Function Specific
- Safety/Emergency Response
- Security General Awareness
- In-Depth Security (if applicable)
§172.704(d) indicates the records that must be retained to document the successfully completed training:
- The hazmat employee’s name;
- The most recent training completion date of the hazmat employee’s training;
- A description, copy, or the location of the training materials used to meet the requirements in paragraph (a) of this section;
- The name and address of the person providing the training; and
- Certification that the hazmat employee has been trained and tested, as required by this subpart.
Notice, there is no mention of the test itself; and indeed, it is not necessary to retain a copy of the test as a record of HazMat Employee training (10-0122).
But what could it hurt? Why not retain the test with the remainder of the training documentation? One word: LITIGATION. I’m no lawyer, but I’ve been told that if your training is the subject of a legal proceeding, the presence of even a single wrong answer on the test could be used to demonstrate your HazMat Employees were not properly trained. So, what to do?
- Train and test your HazMat Employees triennially.
- Retain the records required by §172.704(d) and no more. Be prepared to provide them if requested by the US DOT.
- Ensure that your HazMat Employees get the best training possible.
I can help with all of the above. Attend one of my training workshops or contact me to provide on-site training for all of your HazMat Employees. Either way you will receive high quality training at a good price. And you can decide for yourself what to do with the test.
When must you train your HazMat Employees: How soon after employment begins, and how frequently must you provide refresher training? Fortunately 49 CFR 172.704(c) provides answers to these questions.
First of all a new hire or one whose job function changes to become a HazMat Employee must receive HazMat Employee Training (see: The Five Types of HazMat Employee Training) within 90 days. And, they must be under the direct supervision of a properly trained and knowledgeable HazMat Employee until they receive training.
HazMat Employees must receive full recurrent training (not a refresher, but the full training) at least once every three years thereafter, ie. triennially. The sole exception to this 3-year cycle is for HazMat Employees who require In-Depth Security Training. Any time the Security Plan is revised, those HazMat Employees must be trained within 90 days of the implementation of the revised plan.
If your new employee received their HazMat Employee training with a former employer, their previous training will suffice as long as you obtain and maintain a current record of their training.
As the HazMat Employer you are responsible to ensure your HazMat Employees have been trained on the requirements of this part and tested by appropriate means. You are also responsible for all of the requirements of the Hazardous Material Regulations (HMR) regardless of whether the required training has been completed.
If it’s been more than three years since your last HazMat Employee Training, or you’ve hired new HazMat Employees since your last training, or you’ve just lost track of when training was last completed, you should call me for a free consultation on your training needs. While we’re talking we can discuss the training requirements of the EPA for your Hazardous Waste Personnel as well.
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) within the US DOT is tasked with enforcing the nations hazardous materials transportation regulations across all modes of transportation. The unannounced inspections of its agents of the regulated community, ie. shippers, receivers, and transporters of hazardous materials, just like you; has been found to turn up a relatively stable crop of violations. This article contains a descriptive list of the top six violations found by the PHMSA.
One thing these violations have in common (especially the first five) are their frequent applicability throughout the HazMat transportation industry. If you ship or receive any hazardous materials at all, including hazardous waste, then you have a good chance of being subject to the first five of these potential violations. The sixth one depends on the quantity and type of hazardous material you offer for shipment.
The source of the information for this list is a PHMSA Workshop I attended in St. Louis in August of 2011. The trainers, who were all active PHMSA inspectors, reported that this list was determined from inspections completed by the Administration within the previous year. I’m sure that the ranking of these violations may shuffle over the years, but it is my opinion that the violations listed below will always be near the top.
The top six violations of the Hazardous Material Regulations found during inspections by agents of the PHMSA are:
- Improper HazMat Employee training record documentation: An important distinction must be made here, the violation is not due to failure to complete training (see #2) or failure to document the training, but failure to properly document HazMat Employee training. 49 CFR 172.704(d) explains exactly what must be done in order to document the training in a form acceptable to the PHMSA.
- Failure to train HazMat Employees: Not unexpectedly, failure to provide initial and recurrent training for all HazMat Employees as specified in 49 CFR 172.704(c) is right at the top of the list. If you ship or receive a hazardous material (ie. paint, resin, solvent, cleaners, fuel, corrosives, etc.) in commerce, then your HazMat Employees must be trained and tested within 90 days of new hire or change in employment (supervised by a trained employee during those 90 days), and receive full training at least once every three years thereafter.
- Improper marking and labeling of HazMat packages in shipment: With millions of tons of hazardous materials in transportation every day, it is no surprise that many packages of HazMat are found to be labeled and marked improperly. The exact nature of each violation will differ for each shipment, however, whatever the violation they all have one solution: an understanding of the Hazardous Material Regulations (HMR) and how they apply to the hazardous materials you as the shipper are offering for shipment. It is the requirement of the shipper, not the transporter of the HazMat, to ensure it is properly marked, labeled, and the correct packaging is in the proper condition for shipment. If you aren’t sure of your responsibility as a shipper, just read the certification statement near your signature the next time you sign a shipping paper. Which brings us to…
- Errors on the shipping paper: Every shipment of a hazardous material must be accompanied by a shipping paper. For a commercial product the shipping paper may be known as a Bill of Lading. For a shipment of a hazardous waste it must be a Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest. Whatever the name, it is the responsibility of the shipper to ensure the shipping paper is completed properly. As in #3 above, whatever the cause of the violation, the solution is a thorough understanding of the HMR, the hazardous material – or hazardous waste – you are offering for shipment, and what information about the hazardous material is required to be documented on the shipping paper.
- Not registered with the PHMSA as a shipper or carrier of hazardous materials: In my experience providing HazMat Employee training I have found it to be quite common that employers are not aware of their requirement to register annually with the PHMSA. I will have to save a more thorough explanation for another day as the criteria determining registration can be technical, but know that if you transport or offer for transport a hazardous material, including a hazardous waste, in a quantity that requires the vehicle to be placarded then you must register with the PHMSA. More information about the PHMSA registration requirements can be found here.
- No Security Plan: Since 2003 a person must complete a security plan if they transport or offer for transportation a type and quantity of HazMat subject to the regulation. The current version of the applicability determination for the security plan can be found at 49 CFR 172.800(b). ”Current” because on October 1, 2010, the applicability determination was revised to better address real security threats and remove from regulation small amounts of HazMat not thought to be a potential security threat. The requirements for Security Plan content were changed at that time as well. If your determination of Security Plan applicability was completed prior to 2010 you may wish to check the regulations again to see if you are still subject. If you were not aware of this regulation, please check the applicability determination now to confirm your responsibility. More information about completing the Security Plan can be found on the PHMSA Security website.
There you have it, The Magnificant Six; which of these violations could an inspector find at your facility? And while we’re talking about inspectors, keep in mind that it is not just the PHMSA which conducts inspections of shippers of hazardous materials. If your HazMat is ever transported by an applicable method: Air, rail, highway, or vessel; you may find your facility inspected by the Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Railroad Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or the Coast Guard. Fines for these violations can quickly go into the thousands of dollars each; much more than the cost of a one day training session that covers all of the above and more.
Avoiding the violations and fines for all of the above, and more not listed here, begins with proper training of all of your HazMat Employees. Proper training will not only completely eliminate #’s1 & 2 as a potential violation, it will give you the knowledge and tools to avoid #’s 3+ for years to come.
“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” – Benjamin Franklin, 1817.
One benefit of those taxes is the resources provided to you free of charge from government agencies. One of those agencies, the PHMSA within the US DOT, makes available a wealth of resources on its website meant to assist HazMat Employers to identify and meet their requirements under the Hazardous Material Regulations (HMR).
One of those free resources I wish to share with you is the glossy brochure Does Your HazMat Training Measure Up? You may place a bulk order of these and have them delivered to your door or you can download and print a copy for yourself from the PHMSA website. I suggest you have a copy of the brochure at hand as I summarize its contents below.
HazMat Employee Training Requirements:
- The source of the HMR is the Federal hazardous materials transportation law (49 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) which requires the training of ALL HazMat Employees.
- HazMat Employer requirements to train and test its HazMat Employees.
- The elements that must be included in HazMat training.
- Training frequency – every three years.
- Documentation of training. This must be done exactly as the PHMSA requires.
I couldn’t say it better myself, so I won’t. Read the brochure to confirm the following:
- HazMat Employer
- HazMat Employee
Frequently Asked Questions:
A few key FAQ’s…
- Who can conduct HazMat Employee training?
- What are the requirements for the test?
- Does an office secretary who completes a shipping paper (includes a hazardous waste manifest) require training?
- And many more…
Some Very Good Reasons to Ensure Your Training “Measures Up”:
- “Most transportation incidents involving hazardous materials are the result of human error.”
- Heightens Employee Safety
- Precludes Penalties
- Increase Productivity
Where You Can Get More Information:
Contact information for the PHMSA and its HazMat Info-Line
Additional Training Sources:
There is more available from the PHMSA; some for free and others at a reasonable charge.
You may decide that with these resources you can provide the training for your HazMat Employees. Or, you may feel overwhelmed and determine that you should hire someone *ahem* to provide the training, testing, and record documentation for you. HazMat Employee training that “Measures Up” is part of what I do. I also provide the training required by the US EPA for generators of hazardous waste, read more about that training here.
I can provide this very important training in any format or location to suit your needs:
- On-site training tailored specifically to your facility’s needs. Contact me to schedule on-site training for only $1,749!
- Open enrollment training which provides an in-depth overview of all of the regulations in one day. Review my open enrollment training schedule and register now!
- Keynote speaker or provide an educational session at your organization’s meeting or annual expo free of charge. Contact me to discuss this further.
Subscribe to my monthly newsletter to receive articles like this every month. No marketing emails at all, I promise.
To achieve its goal of safe transportation of hazardous materials (HazMat), the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) within the US DOT requires any person who performs a function involving the transportation of hazardous materials within the US to receive training on the safe and proper execution of those functions. It is you as the HazMat Employer who must certify that the training and testing – that’s right, testing is required – of your HazMat Employees is sufficient to comply with the regulations. With this responsibility to train, test, and certify the training of applicable employees, it is important for you to know what the regulations are and how you must comply with them.
First, you should review 49 CFR 172, Subpart H since it includes everything you need to know about the applicability, frequency, and content of HazMat Employee training. You may also review the training information available on thePHMSA website. There are the following five types of training that may be required:
- General Awareness Familiarization Training
- Function Specific Training
- Safety Training
- Security General Awareness Training
- In-Depth Security Training
General Awareness/Familiarization Training is required for all HazMat Employees. It must provide familiarity with the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) and enable the HazMat Employee to identify a hazardous material using the hazard communication methods: shipping papers, placards, labeling, and marking.
Function Specific Training is required for all HazMat Employees. This training must instruct each HazMat Employee how to perform their specific job function(s) in compliance with the regulations. This may include: the completion and signing of shipping papers (including the Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest), the loading or unloading of hazardous material packages from a vehicle, the transfer of bulk quantities of hazardous materials from a tank truck or railroad tank car, the preparation of hazardous material packages for shipment, and more. If applicable to your operations, training per the requirements of the International Civil Aviation or the International Maritime Organization for the shipment of Dangerous Goods may be provided in lieu of training on the requirements of the HMR.
Safety Training is required for all HazMat Employees. This training must address the potential hazards posed by the HazMat in use at the facility. It must also instruct the HazMat Employees in the ways they and their employer can provide protection from these hazards, the emergency response procedures of 49 CFR 172, Subpart G, and accident avoidance.
Security General Awareness has been required for all HazMat Employees since March 25, 2003. This training must include the following:
- Awareness of security risks associated with hazardous materials transportation.
- Awareness of methods to enhance transportation security.
- How to recognize and respond to possible security threats.
In-Depth Security Training is required only for applicable HazMat employees of companies that are required to have a DOT Security Plan. DOT Security Plan applicability can be determined at 49 CFR 172.800(b). Note that the conditions to determine applicability changed effective October 1, 2010; you can read more about that here. An applicable HazMat Employee – one who requires In-Depth Security Training – is one who: handles hazardous materials covered by the Plan, performs a regulated function related to the hazardous materials covered by the Plan, or is responsible for implementing the Plan. Training must include:
- Company security objectives.
- Organizational security structure.
- Specific security procedures.
- Specific security duties and responsibilities for each employee.
- Specific actions to be taken by each employee in the event of a security breach.
Training required by OSHA, EPA or other agencies may suffice to fulfill the DOT training requirements above. In other words, you don’t need to train your employees on the same material twice as long as the training addresses the specific components outlined above. Whatever you do, be sure to retain the required documentation to prove you conducted the necessary training and testing.
The purpose of training is to increase awareness of safety and regulatory requirements. It is hoped that the resulting awareness leads to fewer HazMat transportation incidents and related injuries/fatalities. Effective training can do much more than meet the regulatory requirements however, it can provide your HazMat Employees with the information and the tools they need to perform their job functions safely and more efficiently. Don’t take my word for it, read on the PHMSA website about its PHMSA Training Requirements.