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DOT Hazardous Materials Training Memo - Defining Who Needs DOT Training
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DOT Hazardous Materials Training Memo - Defining Who Needs DOT Training

DOT Hazardous Materials Training Memo - Defining Who Needs DOT Training

The following is presented, verbatim from the DOT:

Training Requirements Under the Hazardous Materials Regulations

It's the Law!

Code of Federal Regulations

Title 49, Subpart H, �CFR#172.700-172.704

(Formerly Docket HM-126F)

RSPA amended the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) in conformance with amendments to the Federal Hazardous Materials Transportation Law that required DOT to regulate the training of all hazardous materials (hazmat) employees. Training meeting these requirements will increase a hazmat employee's safety awareness and be an essential element in reducing hazmat incidents.



HAZMAT EMPLOYEE means a person who is employed by a hazmat employer and directly affects hazmat transportation safety including:

an owner-operator of a motor vehicle which transports hazmat; a person (including a self-employed person) who:

  • loads, unloads, or handles hazmat;
  • tests, reconditions, repairs, modifies, marks, or otherwise represents packagings as qualified for use in the transportation of hazmat;
  • prepares hazmat for transportation;
  • is responsible for safety of transporting hazmat; or
  • operates a vehicle used to transport hazmat.

HAZMAT EMPLOYER means a person who uses one or more of its employees in connection with:

  • transporting hazmat in commerce;
  • causing hazmat to be transported or shipped in commerce; or
  • representing, marking, certifying, selling, offering, reconditioning, testing, repairing, or modifying packagings as qualified for use in the transportation of hazmat.

(The term "hazmat employer" also includes any department, agency, or instrumentality of the United States, a State, a political subdivision of a State, or an Indian tribe engaged in offering or transporting hazmat in commerce.)

TRAINING means a systematic program (i.e., consistent approach, testing, and documentation) that ensures that a hazmat employee has knowledge of hazardous materials and the HMR, and can perform assigned hazmat functions properly. See �CFR# 172.700(b) through �CFR# 172.704.

Training and the Hazmat Law

The Federal hazardous materials transportation law (49 U.S.C. �CFR# 5101 et seq.), is the basic statute regulating the transportation of hazardous materials (hazmat) in the United States. This law requires the training of ALL hazmat employees. The purpose is to increase a hazmat employee's safety awareness and be an essential element in reducing hazmat incidents. The Hazardous Materials regulations (HMR) include training requirements in several sections of Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) as follows:

GENERAL �CFR# 173.1;

SPECIFIC �CFR# 172.704


Air �CFR# 175.20

Vessel �CFR# 176.13

Highway �CFR#�CFR# 177.800, 177.816


Each hazmat employer must:

  • train and test,
  • certify, and
  • develop and retain records of current training (inclusive of preceding three years) for each hazmat employee (during the period of employment and 90 days thereafter).

Hazmat training must include:

  • General awareness/familiarization,
  • Function-specific,
  • Safety, and
  • Driver training (for each hazmat employee who will operate a motor vehicle).

Frequency of training

Initial training

  • a new employee, or an employee who changes job functions, may perform hazmat job functions before completing training, provided:
    • the employee does so under the direct supervision of a properly trained and knowledgeable hazmat employee; and
    • the hazmat training is completed within 90 days of employment or change in job function.
  • Recurrent training is required at least once every three years. The three year period begins on the actual date of training.
  • Relevant training received from a previous employer or source may be used to satisfy the requirements provided a current record of training is obtained from the previous employer or source.

Training Records must include:

  • Hazmat employee's name;
  • Completion date of most recent training;
  • Training Materials (Copy, description, or location);
  • Name and address of hazmat trainer; and
  • Certification that the hazmat employee has been trained and tested.


May a hazmat employer/employee train and test themselves (e.g., owner-operator)?

Yes, self-training is acceptable provided that all training requirements of �CFR# 172.704 are met.

Who certifies that an instructor is qualified to train, test, and certify in accordance with �CFR# 172.704?

Except for certain FAA required CFR 14 training, the U.S. DOT does not review or certify training programs for pre-approval purposes. The employer must determine a trainer's qualifications based on their need.

Does the trainer who teaches and tests the hazmat employee, certify that the hazmat employee is trained/tested?

No, the hazmat employer must certify that the employee has been trained and tested.

If an outside source trains but does not test the employee, must the employee be tested and certified based on this training?

Yes. It is the responsibility of the hazmat employer to meet these training requirements. However, a hazmat employer may designate an outside source to train, test, and certify on its behalf.

Must the test be in a written format or may a skill demonstration be used?

Any test that ensures that the employee can perform the assigned duties in compliance with the HMR is acceptable. Training and testing may be accomplished in a variety of ways: performance, written, verbal, or a combination of these.

Must the employee "pass" a test?

The requirements do not state that the employee must "pass" a test; however, an employee may only be certified in areas in which he/she can successfully perform their hazmat duties.

Does IMDG Code, ICAO Technical Instructions, OSHA or EPA training fulfill the HMR requirements?

This training may be used to the extent that the general awareness, function specific, and safety training and testing requirements of the HMR are met. Areas not covered will require additional training.

Who will enforce the training requirements in �CFR# 172.704?

Enforcement pertaining to carriers is the responsibility of each modal administration. Compliance or non-compliance with the training rule will be determined during safety and compliance reviews of shippers and carriers.

What type of fines would be involved?

Violations of any hazardous materials regulations including training may be subject to a civil penalty of up to $27,500 for each violation and, in appropriate cases, a criminal penalty of up to $500,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 5 years. (See 49 CFR �CFR# 107.329 and �CFR# 107.333.)

An office secretary types the required hazardous materials description on a shipping paper at the direction of another, item by item. Is the secretary a hazmat employee requiring training?

Yes, each person who performs any function subject to the HMR must be trained, except special circumstances addressed by 172.704(c).

Do the training regulations apply to foreign flag vessels carrying hazardous materials?

Yes, the regulations apply to each domestic and foreign vessel when in dry dock or in navigable waters of the United States.

Do the training regulations apply to a hazmat employers and/or employees who operate a bulk vessel transporting hazardous materials?

No. Except for transportation in bulk packagings, the bulk carriage of hazardous materials by water is governed by 46 CFR Chapter I. See 49 CFR �CFR# 176.5(d).

Is a shipmaster a hazmat employer?

No, the shipmaster is a hazmat employee; the operator of the vessel is the hazmat employer.

Do the regulations apply to employees working with materials that are consumer commodities?


Does a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) with HM/tank vehicle endorsement satisfy requirements?

A hazmat employer must determine applicability of CDL to the specific functions the employee performs and provide training for functions not covered by the endorsement.

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