A question I am frequently asked is, “Will you certify my HazMat Employees have been trained?” or, “Do you provide HazMat certification for HazMat Employees?” or some variation on this theme. My answer, unfortunately, does not always satisfy my potential customers because in order to be true to the letter and the spirit of the regulations I must answer them, “No, I cannot certify the training I provide for your HazMat Employees, only you can do that.” The purpose of this article is to explain my reply, understand better the applicable regulations of the US DOT and maybe win back some of those lost prospects.
The answer can be found in the Hazardous Material Regulations at 49 CFR 172.702, contained within Subpart H with the remainder of the HazMat Employee training requirements. §172.702(a) reads:
A hazmat employer shall ensure that each of its hazmat employees is trained in accordance with the requirements prescribed in this subpart.
It can’t get much more clear than that. It is the responsibility of the HazMat Employer (defined at §171.8, but basically a HazMat Employer is anyone with HazMat Employees who is involved in the shipping, receiving, or transportation of hazardous materials in commerce.)
Does this mean that the HazMat Employer must provide the training for their HazMat Employees? No it does not; §172.702(c) allows that training may be provided by the HazMat Employer or by a public or private source. Whoever completes the training, the responsibility to ensure that its HazMat Employees are properly trained remains with the HazMat Employer.
One final requirement for HazMat Employee testing in this section can be found at §172.702(d),
A hazmat employer shall ensure that each of its hazmat employees is tested by appropriate means on the training subjects covered in §172.704.
Thus, a test is a required component of HazMat Employee training. And even though a third party may provide the test, it is the HazMat Employer who ensures that the testing is by an “appropriate means”, eg. written, verbal, demonstration of skills, etc. and that the test covers the required subjects of HazMat Employee training:
- General Awareness/Familiarization
- Function Specific
- Safety/Emergency Response
- Security General Awareness
- In-Depth Security [if applicable, refer to §172.800(b)]
So be aware that as a HazMat Employer you may arrange for your HazMat Employees to be trained by a private or public source, but if the training and testing is inadequate – or in the case of testing, absent entirely – then you as the HazMat Employer will be held responsible for the lack of proper training.