Ready to be a Hazmat Hauler? Four Things You Should Know

If you’re considering entering a career in which there is required training for shipping hazmat materials, you may not know where to start. The thought of hauling around potentially dangerous materials in a vehicle vastly different from personal use cars can be daunting; however, with the proper DOT hazardous materials training and preparation, you can transform from a timid trucker to a hazmat hero. Here are four things to know and remember about the training for working with hazardous wastes.
1. Even if you think you don’t need the training, you need the training. It does not matter whether you are behind the wheel or a logistics wizard in the office of a hazmat shipper, every employee in a hazard material handling company requires an extent of training. This includes everyone from the person who determines if a material is hazardous or not, to the one who packages it, to you, the person behind the wheel of the heavy hauler. If you have been hired by a company that does not train all its employees involved with hazardous shipping, beware, because these requirements come from the United States Department of Transportation.
2. If you are a hazmat hauler, your training is special. While all employees receive a general form of hazardous material handling education, your category of DOT hazardous materials training is one all of its own, because there are special, specific standards for the individuals who are responsible for the material while it is out on the road. Your hazmat driving education will include safety, security, and the functionality of heavy hauler vehicles.
3. Keep your training up to date. Training for hazardous materials hauling is not a one and done process; the Department of Education requires that hazmat employees redo the training course—that is, a complete re-education, not just a compressed version or refresher—every three years at the very least. If you’re caught on the road with expired training, you could be facing hefty fines and redaction of your employment and hazmat hauling licensures. Additionally, you should be a good record taker, too; do not misplace your training certificates and materials until it is time to update your training. You should also keep your records handy for thirty to sixty days after leaving the hazmat hauling career in case there is a claim against or issue with your performance.
4. Be aware of the price tag. Truck driving school tuitions can cost any thousands of dollars from $1,000 to $9,000 but the additional costs—which includes a Class C Commercial Drivers License endorsement for $100 and a TSA security screening for roughly $90—can sometimes be reimbursed your employer.
The most important aspect of your DOT hazardous materials training is safety. You are responsible for the transport of materials that can be costly, flammable, chemical, and dangerous. The safety training is extensive, but for good reason; many hazmat employees complete upwards of 40 hours’ worth of training required by OSHA. There are nine categories of hazardous materials, according to the Department of Transportation, but only one priority: keeping you, and the people around you on the road, safe.

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