Approximately, 11 billion tons of freight is shipped more than 250 billion miles by trucks across the United States every year. Of that 11 billion, more than three billion tons of hazardous materials are shipped annually and about 94 percent of daily hazmat shipments are done by truck.
When it comes to hazardous materials, flammable liquids, especially gasoline are the most transported hazardous materials in the United States. The amount totals 86.4 percent by value, 85.4 percent by weight and 66.5 percent by ton-miles.
Transporting hazardous materials can be a dangerous business and the Department of Transportation has broken hazardous cargo down into nine classes:
- Flammable and Combustible Liquids
- Flammable Solids
- Oxidizing Substances, Organic Peroxides
- Toxic Substances and Infectious Substances
- Radioactive Materials
- Miscellaneous Hazardous Materials
Handling hazardous materials can also be a risky business and most hazmat workers complete up to 40 hours of hazardous materials training mandated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA). Some of them are even required to have state specific licenses.
Hazmat employees—those who affect the transportation safety of hazardous materials—can benefit greatly from a hazardous materials training course. Hazmat employers are those people or companies who use in employees in connection with transporting hazardous materials and working with containers that are often used in the storing and shipping of hazardous materials.
A hazardous materials training course ensures that:
- Workers can identify hazardous materials.
- Workers have knowledge of the requirements of different hazardous materials regulations as they apply to their duties.
- Workers know what to do in emergency situations, know how to protect themselves and know what measures to take to prevent accidents.
- Workers are familiar with the general regulations that come with handling hazardous materials and hazardous waste.
The typical hazmat training often covers several topics including:
- Health hazards
- Personal protective equipment and clothing
- Site safety
- Recognition of materials and hazards
- Requirements for handling hazardous waste
Many general hazardous materials training courses are available both in classroom settings and also online. New hazmat employees or those who change job functions must complete a DOT training course within 90 days, but all others are required to take a training course once every three years.
You may be asking, how do I know if I need a DOT training course? Does my job fit that type of description? Examples of hazmat employees who would need a DOT training course include the following:
- Those who operate vehicles which transport hazardous materials
- Those who load or unload hazardous materials
- Those who determine whether a material is hazardous or not
- Those who determine the proper packaging for hazardous materials
- Those who produce, design or sell any packaging for hazardous materials
- Those who put hazardous materials into different types of packaging
- Those who fill out the required paperwork for shipping hazardous materials
Taking a DOT training course can ensure that everyone, from drivers to technicians knows the proper procedures for handling, packing and transporting all types of hazardous materials. If you or your company is in need of hazmat training, HazmatSchool,com is a great place to get started.