Hazmat employee training is not something to be ignored and could potentially hinder day-to-day operations if it is. The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) requires all employers dealing in hazardous materials to provide their employees with general safety, awareness, and security training in regards to those hazardous materials.
What defines a hazmat employee?
Aside from simply being employed by a hazmat employer, a hazmat employee is any individual who, throughout the course of employment:
• Unloads, loads, or handles hazardous materials
• Is responsible for safely transporting hazardous materials
• Prepares hazardous materials for transportation
• Causing hazardous materials to be shipped
• Operates vehicles to transport hazardous materials
Any employee who fits into any of the categories above should receive the appropriate hazmat training.
What are the required categories of hazmat employee training?
The DOT splits the basic, required training into four different categories. They are:
• General awareness training
• Function-specific training
• Safety training
• Security training
All hazmat employees must be trained in the above categories and, in the instance of security training, must be trained within 90 days of being hired.
The DOT does not require a specific method for which the material needs to be delivered, meaning it’s up to the employer to decide what the most efficient teaching option is (self-instruction, conference, lecture, etc). It is, however, the employer’s responsibility to ensure the training is adequate and that all required material gets covered.
Do employees ever need to be retrained?
Yes. As required by the DOT, hazmat employees must be retrained once every three years. Additionally, upon changing roles or gaining new job functions, an employee must be retrained within 90 days. While completing the new training, employees will be allowed to perform new job functions under proper supervision.
Is proof of training required?
Documentation indicating that your employees have completed the required training is necessary. Records of each employee’s training history for the preceding three years must be kept and must remain on file throughout the duration of employment and for 90 days thereafter.
The records should illustrate the following items:
- Employee name
- Most recent completion date
- A copy of the training materials used or where they can be found
- Name and address of the person who provided training
- Certification of completion
These files should be organized and readily available should an employee of the DOT request them.