The U.S. Department of Transportation's Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR) require anyone who is using HAZMAT materials to be carefully trained. Any facility that does not properly prepare individuals could be fined as much as $75,000 per day per violation. The severity of this fine makes evident the dangerous, even life-threatening effects that improper handling of hazardous materials can cause. |
Companies that would need to comply with training include those that transport, package, label, or classify materials; design, select, purchase, or fill packages; analyze or research literature; and load or unload hazardous materials. This list is not exhaustive but indicates the wide range of positions requiring familiarity with proper handling techniques.
Additionally, anyone who supervises the use of the materials must be trained in case of emergencies or accidents. It is best that everyone involved in the process is educated about it, including any students participating in any manner in these HAZMAT facilities. For example, many students opt to take internships or part-time jobs in the fields that make use of hazardous substances, like that of chemical engineering.
For those who are hired to work at these facilities, it is vital that any students on the premises are properly trained alongside the regular employees in case of unforeseen problems. The training is not meant to be overbearing, rather, it is aimed at preventing any accidents or serious injuries to those handling HAZMAT.
Levels of Training
There are different sections of training depending on how closely you will be working with an actual HAZMAT. The employer determines this level and the details of training based on an employee's job functions. The DOT does, however, require certain general categories of practice.
Basic General Awareness Training
This is the most basic form of instruction that all employees must be familiar with. It includes an introduction to the various materials considered hazardous by the U.S. DOT, as well as a general overview of the proper use of these materials. It also reviews labeling methods and packaging requirements.
Each job requires a specific expertise; therefore, the HAZMAT training should mimic that expertise to best fit the employees' job requirements. Thus, specific instruction aimed at educating an employee on all details of their particular role involving the use of hazardous elements is extremely important.
People handling hazardous substances, or those that may be exposed to them, during the cycle of transportation (e.g., drivers, loading dock workers, and warehousemen) must be trained in safe handling and emergency response procedures in case of spills, leaks, and the like.
In addition, all employees and interns must be trained in case of outside threats or terrorist attacks. Even if everyone on the inside understands how to handle the HAZMAT in times of emergency, they should also be aware that outsiders may potentially try to spill, destroy, or steal the HAZMAT. Understanding and being proactive could be the difference between life and death.
It is important to be exposed to all of the possibilities when it comes to this type of HAZMAT training. Not only will it help you protect yourself, but the people around you and the greater community as well.
When looking for HAZMAT training, Alabama residents go to the University of South Alabama School of Continuing Education and Special Programs. To learn more, visit http://www.southalabama.edu/colleges/scesp/cce/hazmat.html.
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