This is a question we get asked a lot (or some variation of the question). The short answer is yes. If you ship, receive, or handle ANY hazardous materials in the US, you fall under the requirements of 49 CFR . I know, it sounds super official and scary. But now that you know you are one of millions of people who need training, you must figure out what hazmats are.
So, what is a Hazmat?
Often, people donâ€™t even realize they ship or handle a hazardous material daily. Here are some everyday household products you might not think of as hazmats.
- Lithium batteries
- aerosol sprays, or
There are more examples, but an often overlooked one would be a cellphone battery. Let’s say our new cellphone battery is defective and won’t hold a charge. We need to return it, because our Instagram followers are awaiting our next post about what we ate for lunch. Like most of us, you print the return label, throw it in an old amazon box you have laying around, and itâ€™s on its way. What you didnâ€™t realize is you shipped a hazardous material. I know what you are thinking â€œhow can my cellphone be hazardous?â€ Well, per Uncle Sam, cellphone batteries (lithium batteries) fall under 49 CFR 173.185. That means, if you’re not trained, you likely miss-marked or labeled the package for return. That means you shipped an undeclared hazmat. Donâ€™t worry though, youâ€™re not alone. More than likely it wasnâ€™t the first time, nor will it be the last time it will happen in the world of transportation. This of course doesnâ€™t mean youâ€™re off the hook. So, your next question is likely â€œAm I a hazmat employee or some variation of the question.â€
Who is a hazmat employee?
According to the regulations, it is:
â€œA person employed by a hazmat employer, or person who is self-employed, and who directly affects hazmat transportation safety.â€
Easy, right? Now for those of us who donâ€™t speak lawyer mumbo-jumbo, it means:
Anyone involved with the shipment of a hazardous material must receive training.
- Shipping personnel,
- Receiving personnel,
- Hazardous waste workers,
- Truck drivers who haul hazardous materials,
- Lab personnel,
- Department supervisors,
- Tank car or tank truck loading and unloading personnel
To name a few. If you do one, some, or all those things you must receive training. I am sure by now you’re curious where we are in our journey of hazmat transportation, so let’s recap. We know the training is mandatory, we know what a hazmat is, and we know who needs the training, so what’s next? Well Iâ€™m glad you asked.
What are the hazmat training requirements?
The basics of â€œhazmat employeeâ€ training will generally consist of:
Â· General Awareness/Familiarization,
Â· Function Specific Training,
Â· Safety Training,
Â· Security Awareness, and
Â· In-depth Security Training (when a security plan is in use).
It is up to the hazmat employer to decide the level of training required for the employeeâ€™s job function. There are also no specifics on who can train hazmat employees. Although, it is generally agreed upon the individual must be â€œqualified”. This means, Joe-Bob the greeter from Wally-World likely cannot come teach the class. Of course, unless he has in-fact had prior training and knowledge of hazmat shipping. Don’t take it from me, I am not the end-all-be-all when it comes to who is “qualified.” You can always test the theory out with the DOT and FRA inspectors and let me know how that goes!
How often do I need to renew my HAZMAT training?
Iâ€™m sure by now you think I am a mind reader. Once we checked all our boxes and allowed some time to pass, you’re wondering about renewal. Youâ€™re probably saying something like “do I need to renew my training?” Or “when do I need to have refresher training?”
Well, per the DOT, ground shipment training must be:
Â· Every 3 years
Â· When an employeeâ€™s job position changes, or
Â· When there is a change in regulations that affect their position.
While IATA (air shipment training) needs to be every 24 months and IMDG (vessel shipment training) has to be every 3 years. Keep in mind the last two are for shipping outside of the US.
Well, if you have made it this far, you are likely in need of hazardous materials training. That or you are someone who likes to start what they finish! If you enjoyed yourself, check out our newsletter. There you can find more articles like this on top of industry updates and exclusive offers. You can also give us a like, share, or review at one of our many social media outlets at Facebook, LinkedIn,and Twitter. If training is what youâ€™re after, please visit us at learnhazmat.com or give us a call at (724) 899-4100. One of our team members will help you decided what industry leading training and compliance program best suits your needs!