The top 20 frequently asked questions about hazardous materials (HAZMAT)

  1. Who needs hazmat training?

    Individuals who handle, transport, or ship hazardous materials in the United States are required to undergo hazmat training as per the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) set by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

  2. Who provides hazmat placards for hazmat shipments?

    The shipper of hazardous materials is responsible for providing and affixing the appropriate hazmat placards to the transport vehicle or container as per the HMR guidelines.

  3. Who regulates hazardous materials in the US?

    The transportation of hazardous materials in the United States is regulated by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), a division of the Department of Transportation (DOT).

  4. When does hazmat training expire?

    Hazmat training certification expires after three years, as per the HMR guidelines. Recurrent hazmat training is required to maintain certification.

  5. What sort of training record should be kept for HAZMAT employees?

    Training records must be kept by the hazmat employer for each hazmat employee, and must include the following:

    • the hazmat employee’s name;
    • the completion date of the most recent training;
    • training materials used (copy, description, or location);
    • the name and address of the hazmat trainer; and
    • certification that the hazmat employee has been trained and tested.

    Training records must be retained for each hazmat employee for three years from the date of the last training, and for 90 days after the employee leaves.

  6. Which training is needed?

    Training - a systematic program (consistent approach, testing, and documentation) that ensures a hazmat employee has knowledge of hazmat and the HMR, and can perform assigned hazmat functions properly. Click here to view all available HAZMAT training.

  7. Who needs a DOT hazardous materials security plan?

    Any person or entity that handles, offers for transport, or transports hazardous materials in commerce, and is required to register with the DOT, is mandated to have a written hazardous materials security plan as per the HMR regulations. This applies to shippers, carriers, freight forwarders, and any other entity that comes under the HMR jurisdiction.

  8. Who is a HAZMAT employer?

    Hazmat employer - a person who uses one or more employees regarding:

    • transporting hazmat in commerce;
    • causing hazmat to be transported or shipped in commerce; or
    • designing, manufacturing, fabricating, inspecting, representing, marking, certifying, selling, offering, reconditioning, testing, repairing, or modifying packagings as qualified for use in the transportation of hazmat.

    The definition of "hazmat employer" encompasses not only private companies, but also any branch of the United States government, a state government, a political subdivision of a state, or a Native American Indian tribe that engages in the transportation or offering of hazardous materials in commerce. The term also applies to individuals who are self-employed, such as owner-operators of commercial motor vehicles that transport hazardous materials in commerce.

  9. What information is mandatory on hazmat shipping papers?

    The hazardous materials shipping paper must contain the proper shipping name, hazard class, identification number, packing group, and emergency response information among other things as per the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) outlined by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

  10. What is the correct order for providing the basic description of hazmat?

    The basic description of hazardous materials should be presented in the following sequence: Proper Shipping Name, Hazard Class, Identification Number, and Packing Group as per the HMR guidelines.

  11. What is the hazmat shipping table (49 CFR 172.101) and its significance in hazmat transportation?

    The hazmat shipping table (49 CFR 172.101) is a list of hazardous materials along with their proper shipping names, hazard classes, identification numbers, packing groups, and other information relevant to the safe transportation of these materials. It is significant as it provides information required to properly classify, label, package, and handle hazardous materials during transportation.

  12. At what point is a hazmat shipment considered to be in "bulk" volume?

    A hazmat shipment is considered to be in "bulk" volume when it meets any of the following criteria: the total volume of the material being shipped is greater than 119 gallons for a liquid or 882 pounds for a solid, or the material is transported in a single container that exceeds 1,000 pounds gross weight.

  13. Does IMDG Code, ICAO Technical Instructions, OSHA, or EPA training fulfill the HMR requirements?

    The training requirements for the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) in the United States are governed by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) of the Department of Transportation (DOT). While the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Technical Instructions provide guidance for the safe transportation of hazardous materials by sea and air, respectively, they do not fulfill the HMR training requirements. Similarly, training provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may not meet the HMR training requirements as they have their own regulations and training programs specific to their areas of jurisdiction. To comply with the HMR training requirements, individuals must complete a DOT-approved hazardous materials training program that meets the requirements specified in 49 CFR Part 172 Subpart H.

  14. Who will enforce the training requirements in §172.704?

    Enforcement is the responsibility of each U.S. DOT modal administration. Compliance or noncompliance with the training rule will be determined during safety and compliance reviews of shippers, carriers, and package manufacturers.

  15. What are the penalties for violating Hazmat regulations?

    Violations of any hazmat regulations including training may be subject to a civil penalty of up to $77,114 for each violation. If the violation results in death, serious illness, or severe injury to any person or substantial destruction of property, the maximum civil penalty is $179,933. The minimum civil penalty amount for a training violation is $463. Criminal violations may result in fines, imprisonment, or both.

  16. An office secretary types the required hazmat description on a shipping paper at the direction of another, item by item. Is the secretary considered to be a hazmat employee requiring training?

    Yes. Any person who performs a function subject to the HMR must be trained, except for special circumstances addressed by §172.704(e).

  17. Do the hazmat training regulations apply to foreign flag vessels carrying hazmat?

    Yes. The regulations apply to each non-bulk domestic and foreign vessel while operating in navigable waters of the United States.

  18. Do hazmat training regulations apply to employees working with materials that are consumer commodities?

    Yes. Consumer commodities are listed as ORM-D in the hazardous materials table §172.101.

  19. Does a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) with HM/tank vehicle endorsement satisfy requirements?

    Yes, a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) with a hazardous materials (HM) and/or tank vehicle endorsement may satisfy some of the training requirements for employees who handle and transport hazardous materials. However, a hazmat employer must evaluate the employee's specific job functions and determine whether the CDL endorsement alone satisfies all of the training requirements under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR).

    According to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) of the Department of Transportation (DOT), a hazmat employer must provide additional hazardous materials training for functions not covered by the CDL endorsement. This may include specific information on the hazardous materials being transported, proper handling and loading/unloading procedures, emergency response procedures, and other safety and security measures. The training must be based on the specific job functions of the employee and be designed to ensure that the employee is knowledgeable and competent to perform their job safely and in compliance with the HMR.

  20. Who to reach if I have additional questions?

    The Hazardous Materials Info Center

    Email: [email protected]

    Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

    East Building, 2nd Floor 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE Washington, DC 20590
    Email: [email protected]

Published on: March 13, 2023