A hazardous material is any item or agent (biological, chemical, radiological, and/or physical), which has the potential to cause harm to humans, animals, or the environment, either by itself or through interaction with other factors.
The Department of Transporation (DOT) regulates the transportation of hazardous materials from the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act (HMTA), as amended and codified in 49 U.S.C. 5101.
The hazardous materials regulations have changed significantly over the last several years.
These changes were first introduced in Docket HM-181 which provided for the harmonization of the United State’s hazardous materials regulations with international standards in order to facilitate foreign trade and maintain the competitiveness of U.S. goods.
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is responsible for regulating and ensuring the safe and secure movement of hazardous materials to industry and consumers by all modes of transportation, including pipelines.
To minimize threats to life, property or the environment due to hazardous materials related incidents, PHMSA’s Office of Hazardous Materials Safety develops regulations and standards for the classifying, handling and packaging of over 1 million daily shipments of hazardous materials within the United States.
The Office of Pipeline Safety ensures safety in the design, construction, operation, maintenance, and spill response planning of America’s 2.6 million miles of natural gas and hazardous liquid transportation pipelines.
All workers employed in an industry that involves the preparation or transportation of hazardous materials must
This includes not just drivers and manufacturers, but anyone who manufactures, repairs, or reconditions containers used to transport hazardous materials.
The hazmat employee must be trained on all the Hazardous Materials Regulations that apply to the function(s) that will be performed.
The training must
- General awareness/familiarization training;
- Function-specific training;
- Safety training;
- Security awareness training;
- In-depth security training; and
- Modal-specific training, as appropriate.
OSHA provides an overview of the major laws enacted, the regulations, training requirements, and other resources.