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PHMSA Enhanced Security Requirements

PHMSA Enhanced Security Requirements

In the aftermath of September 11, 2001 the US Department of Transportation mandated Enhanced Security Requirements for companies that transport (i.e. Carriers) and/or offer for transport (i.e. Shippers) hazardous materials – including hazardous waste – in commerce.

The Enhanced Security Requirements include:

  1. Security General Awareness training for all HazMat Employees.
  2. In-Depth Security training for applicable HazMat Employees of subject facilities.
  3. A DOT Security Plan for subject facilities.

When first published, the regulations mandated the Security General Awareness training be added to the currentHazMat Employee training content of:

  • General Awareness/Familiarization
  • Function Specific Responsibilities
  • Safety & Emergency Response
  • Professional Driving Skills – as necessary

In-Depth Security training was only to be added if applicable to the facility’s operations as defined by the regulations.  The original criteria to determine if a facility was subject to the requirements of the DOT Security Plan and In-Depth Security training closely mirrored the existing registration requirements for HazMat Shippers and Carriers found at 49 CFR 107, Subpart G and summarized on the PHMSA website.  Therefore it included the following:

“A quantity of hazardous material that requires placarding under the provisions of subpart F of this part.”

This particular criteria meant that many – perhaps too many – companies were required to have a DOT Security Plan and to conduct In-Depth Security training for an applicable HazMat Employee.   In my former employment, I had the responsibility of assisting many companies to comply with these regulatory requirements when all they shipped were two or three drums of hazardous waste.

Fortunately the DOT came to its senses, revised its regulations and changed the applicability determination for the Security Plan and In-Depth Security training.  I think the DOT realized it would be better to focus its attention on those shippers and carriers that have a legitimate security risk and not on the many shippers/carriers whose small volume of hazardous materials pose little or no security risk.  The new DOT Security regulations including the revised applicability determination went into effect October 1, 2010 and can be reviewed at 49 CFR 172.800(b).  Though the list is longer now, it no longer mandates the DOT Security Plan and In-Depth Security training for a shipper or carrier just because a hazmat load requires placarding.

In my experience, many companies that were subject to the DOT Security Plan and In-Depth Security training prior to October 1, 2010, are no longer so after that date.  Conversely, some that were not subject to the regulations prior to that date now are.  It is important for every HazMat Employer to identify the specific DOT regulations they are subject to.  Especially the Enhanced Security Requirements due to the current security concerns and the recent changes to the regulations.

If your company is still subject to the requirements to create and maintain a DOT Security Plan and to conduct In-Depth Security training triennially for applicable HazMat Employees, you should also be aware that the same regulations that revised the applicability determination also changed the content requirements for the Plan and Training.  Carefully review 49 CFR 172, Subparts H & I to ensure your Plan and Training meet regulatory requirements.  Additional guidance information can be found on the PHMSA website.