The Department of Transportation (DOT) regulates the transport of hazardous material via highway, air, railroad, and vessel. There are numerous regulations stipulated by the DOT for the transport of hazardous materials, including identifying and training hazmat employees. A hazmat employee, as defined in 49 CFR 171.8, is an employee that directly affects hazardous materials transportation safety.
Hazmat employees prepare shipments of hazardous materials for shipment, and offer the hazardous materials to a licensed transporter. This includes hazardous chemical waste and biological waste that is shipped using the corresponding manifest to track the treatment, storage, and disposal of the waste. Any employee signing a waste manifest, a dangerous goods declaration, or any document with a shipper’s declaration stating that the materials are in conformance with DOT regulations must be properly trained prior to signing the declaration. Hazmat employers sometimes ensure that their hazmat employees are properly trained, but then fail to take the next step and certify their hazmat employees.
Once DOT training is completed, a certification stating that the hazmat employee has successfully completed the necessary DOT training to fulfill their job duties must be drafted and signed by the hazmat employee and a company official. Be sure to take this process full circle, and organize all of the DOT training records and certifications in your central safety files. DOT training is valid for three years, so the certifications must be updated as refresher trainings are taken.