Last week, America celebrated its Independence Day, an occasion typically marked with fireworks exploding in the sky to represent the “bombs bursting in air” during the American Revolution. But for two New Jersey towns, the fireworks never arrived this year—and hazmat regulations were to blame. Learn new and changing 49 CFR hazmat rules all shippers must know! The DOT Hazmat Ground Shipper Certification Workshop comes to Philadelphia, Baltimore, Hartford, and more in July.
Fireworks are explosive; that’s what makes them fun and thrilling. That’s also what makes them Class 1 hazardous materials. To package, ship, or transport hazardous materials, employees must have specific training on the requirements for safe preparation and handling.
In the New Jersey towns of Beachwood and Milltown, revelers this year were left to stare at an empty sky after a fireworks vendor failed to deliver as scheduled on the evening of July 4.
The fireworks vendor later released the following statement
“It was all about the delivery. The product was there, the lead shooters ready, and everything was a go. But we had a problem with the Driver that was delivering the shows. Many regulations are in place for the transportation of explosives and this is what failed.”
It seems the vendor did not have a driver with up-to-date hazmat training qualified to deliver the shipment. US DOT requires initial training for all “hazmat employees”—including those who package, mark, label, and handle packages before transport and hazmat drivers—and requires re-training once every three years (49 CFR 172.704).
Because of either a lapse in hazmat training or the inability to find a driver with a hazmat CDL to make the delivery, the fireworks could not be delivered legally and in compliance with US DOT’s Hazardous Materials Regulations. This unfortunate Independence Day indignity could have been avoided by having a properly trained hazmat driver available to deliver the shipment or by the hauler improving his employee hazmat training program.
Always, Always Have a Backup Plan
If your hazmat trained employee is out of town, are others ready to step in and package, mark, label, load, unload, or otherwise handle shipments? US DOT’s hazmat training requirements protect workers and the public from the dangers of explosives, hazardous chemicals, lithium batteries, oil and gas products, toxic gasses, and much more.
Ignore or fall behind on these training requirements, and your shipping operations may grind to a halt at the worst possible moment. Be confident your employees know their hazmat responsibilities—find training options for managers, warehouse personnel, loading dock workers, and administrative personnel at Lion.com/Hazmat.