Time and again when I’m assisting a company with regulatory compliance – either the Hazardous Material Regulations of the PHMSA/USDOT or the RCRA Hazardous Waste Regulations of the USEPA (or their state) – I’ll hear something like the following:
Company X shipped the hazardous material to us this way, so it must be OK for us to ship it out the same way.
Company X always takes our hazardous waste/universal waste/used oil this way and they’ve never mentioned a problem.
Company X is in the business of transporting this hazardous material/hazardous waste, they must be doing it right.
Company X told me they’ve been doing it this way for years and they’ve never been fined or had a violation.
And as often as I hear comments like the above I’ll discover some egregious error made by a “Company X”, such as:
- Incorrect sequence of the elements of a hazardous material basic description on a shipping paper.
- Improperly placard vehicles.
- Not providing annual training for Hazardous Waste Personnel.
- Mistaken belief that the Hazardous Material Regulations of the PHMSA/USDOT don’t apply to their operations.
- Improper or no labeling of hazardous waste containers.
- Not providing triennial training for HazMat Employees.
- Incorrect or no indication of a Reportable Quantity of a Hazardous Substance on a shipping paper.
I won’t name here the Company X’s I’ve come across, but believe me, they are common names that you would recognize. They make mistakes just like smaller companies do. And don’t expect your corporate-level EHS to always be correct either; another all-to-common statement I hear:
Corporate never told us anything about that!
The fact of the matter is that as a shipper of a hazardous material and/or a generator of a hazardous waste, the responsibility to comply with the regulations is yours alone. The regulatory agencies – state or Federal – will hold you responsible for a violation of the regulations regardless of who may have told you to do it that way. Make sure that your EHS programs (including hazardous material transportation) are based on the regulations and not what you were told by someone else or assumed to be true.
That is where my training comes in. Not only do I tell you what is required to comply with regulations of the PHMSA/USDOT and the USEPA (or your state) but I also inform you of the source of that information, ie. the regulations themselves. My training and all that tools and tips that come with it is a good start to ensuring compliance. Please contact me to schedule HazMat Employee Training and Hazardous Waste Personnel/RCRA Training.