Have you been hired by a company that works with hazardous materials? If so, you may be required to complete the Department of Transportation’s HAZMAT training in order to comply with government regulations.
Below we will explain what DOT HAZMAT training is, who needs it, and what you can expect to learn after completing your course. Let’s jump in!
What is DOT HAZMAT Training?
Because of the potential dangers that come with hazardous materials, the Department of Transportation created the US DOT Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR) to provide safety guidelines for shipping hazardous materials. The United States government requires anyone who works directly with, or in close proximity to HAZMAT complete a safety training course that explains the safety guidelines outlined in 49 CFR.
DOT HAZMAT rules are strict, and there are major non-compliance penalties, so it’s essential that all relevant employees take a DOT HAZMAT training course.
Who Needs DOT HAZMAT Training?
Anyone who is involved, whether directly or indirectly, with the processing of hazardous materials needs to complete DOT HAZMAT training. Examples of employees that need to complete training is anyone who:
- Purchases packaging or determines if it’s up to par for packing hazardous materials
- Prepares the shipment for sending, including those who box and label the package
- Fills out the appropriate shipping paperwork
- Signs off on manifests or paperwork
- Loads, unloads, or handles hazardous waste shipments
- Sells, tests, reconditions, or repairs HAZMAT packaging
- Screens hazardous cargo
- Transports hazardous shipments or drives a vehicle transporting HAZMAT
- Accepts, transfers or unloads hazardous cargo
- Trains or supervises any of the above personnel
- Hasn’t been certified in HAZMAT regulations within the past three years
What’s Included in DOT HAZMAT Training
HAZMAT employees need to be trained on all Hazardous Materials Regulations that apply to the functions they perform. DOT HAZMAT training will include: general awareness training, function-specific training, safety training, security awareness training, and in-depth security training.
#1 General Awareness Training
As the name suggests, General Awareness Training covers the basics of hazardous materials shipping and handling. Students will learn how to identify and recognize hazards before they move onto function-specific training. In this module, HAZMAT employees will also learn of one of the most important aspects of DOT HAZMAT training—the Hazardous Materials Table.
DOT’s Hazardous Materials Table
The Hazardous Materials Table is found at 49 CFR 172.101 and is typically introduced in the general awareness portion of DOT HAZMAT training. It identifies over 3,000 of the most commonly transported hazardous materials and lists them alphabetically by their proper shipping name.
The HAZMAT table explains all information necessary to complete shipping papers, mark and label the package, select appropriate placarding and comply with other regulations. The table is divided into ten major column headings. The first five columns in the table give a basic description of the materials, while the second five columns provide more specific information regarding the packaging, marking and labeling of the packages.
#2 HAZMAT Function Training
Once the student has been introduced to the basics of HAZMAT, they will need to complete training that’s specific to their role when working with hazardous materials. For example, an employee who prepares shipping papers will be taking a different function training course than the truck driver who loads and unloads HAZMAT.
#3 Safety Training
Hazardous materials are not safe—that’s why their name literally includes the word “hazardous”. As such, HAZMAT employees must complete a training module on safety best practices when working with hazardous materials. This training will be tailored to the specific hazard that the company works with and will include information on how to safely handle HAZMAT, procedures for avoiding accidents and how to respond to an emergency situation.
#4 Security Awareness Training
This training module was added to the HAZMAT training course after 9/11 and covers the security risks that are associated with hazardous materials. Topics covered include: vehicle security, how to keep employees safe and how to recognize potential security threats. This course is an introductory security course that’s used to prepare students for their In-Depth Security Training.
#5 In-Depth Security Training
The last module of HAZMAT training is tailored to each company’s specific security plan. In this course, students will learn of their company’s required security plan, their company’s security objectives, employee responsibilities, specific safety procedures, and actions employees must take in the event of a security breach.
Although the employees have completed their required HAZMAT training, the work isn’t complete for employers. Employers still need to manage the HAZMAT training records.
DOT HAZMAT Training Records
HAZMAT employers are responsible for keeping the appropriate records as proof of their employee’s compliance. The Department of Transportation can audit a HAZMAT business at anytime, and they will be looking for HAZMAT employee training records that are required in 49 CFR 172.704. The training records must include the following:
- The employee’s name
- Completion date of the most recent training
- A copy and description of the training materials
- The location of the training session
- The name and address of the trainer
- Employee’s certification that they have been trained at tests
Employers need to keep records for each employee for three years from the date of their last training. If an employee leaves the company, employers still need to keep their records for 90 days after their last day on the job.
Now that we’ve covered an introduction to DOT HAZMAT training from start to finish, you’re ready to take your official training course. Sign up and comply with government regulations today!