IATA Competency-based Training for Hazmat/Dangerous Goods Shippers

As of January 1, 2023, The International Air Transport Association (IATA) requires shippers to implement a competency-based approach to hazardous materials/dangerous goods training for employees.

hazmat employee handling flammable liquid package

What is competency-based training?

iata competency based training and assessment explainerGet your guide to IATA competency-based training and assessment (CBTA) for hazmat/dangerous goods shippers in the United States.

The paper outlines key features of a competency-based training program and how Lion is helping hazmat/DG shippers in the US comply with IATA regulations.


Competency-based training FAQ

Competency–based training and assessment (CBTA) refers to a detailed framework for employee training that employers must implement to offer hazmat for air transportation with IATA member airlines.

In IATA's words, the primary objective of competency-based training is to: 

"...produce a competent workforce by providing focused identifying key competencies and the level of proficiency to be achieved, determining the most effective way of achieving them, and establishing valid and reliable assessment tools to evaluate the achievement.”

IATA expects that training will prepare employees to capably perform tasks that affect hazardous materials/dangerous goods transportation safety—e.g., filling/closing packaging, applying labels or markings, or completing shipping documentation. Each employee’s training must address specific job responsibilities and an appropriate level of regulatory detail, and employers must assess/measure the results.

For a much more detailed overview of what competency-based training is, refer to the detailed CBTA guidance document IATA created (formerly located in Appendix H to the Dangerous Goods Regulations).

Yes. Shippers in the US must comply with US DOT’s hazmat employee training requirements, whether they follow DOT regulations or a complimentary international standard like the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR). DOT’s hazmat training regulations are consistent with what IATA calls “competency-based training,” though DOT does not use those exact words.

DOT requires all hazmat employees to receive function-specific training that addresses specific hazmat job functions or tasks (or “competencies”) that the employee will perform [49 CFR 172.704(a)(2)]. Lion’s IATA DGR courses for air shippers provide function-specific-training to help employers satisfy US and ICAO/IATA requirements, including the mandate that training be “competency-based.”

US DOT (49 CFR) and IATA regulations both allow employers to utilize third-party training providers, and both hold the employer responsible for certifying that each employee is adequately trained. 

To help employers implement a competency-based hazmat training program, Lion offers a variety of in-person and online DOT hazmat and IATA DGR training courses for employees at all experience and proficiency levels. In addition to providing adequate training, employers must take steps to plan and assess the training over time to fully satisfy IATA's mandate.

Mostly likely, yes. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is an industry group that represents hundreds of airlines, including most of the largest cargo carriers in the business. To ship hazardous materials with any IATA member airline, the shipper must comply fully with the standards in the current edition of the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR). 

IATA publishes a new edition of the IATA DGR each year which takes effect the following January 1. As of January 1, 2023, the DGR requires everyone who is subject to those regulations—including hazmat/dangerous goods air shippers—to implement competency-based training and assessment (CBTA), as described in IATA's detailed guidance document about competency-based training.

More about competency-based training (IATA Guidance)

hazmat shipping managerFor more information about the IATA dangerous goods requirements related to competency-based training and assessment (CBTA), see the IATA guidance document, available here, which details what stakeholders need to know to develop and implement a competency-based training program.

The IATA competency-based training guidance document first appeared as Appendix H of a previous edition of the Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR), and is now a standalone resource from IATA.

Training to identify hazmat shipping competencies

To successfully implement and carry out a competency-based training program, shippers must first identify specific skills and knowledge required for an employee to safely and properly perform job tasks that impact hazmat/dangerous goods aviation safety. 

To do this, managers and training coordinators should ask first: 

  1. What specific tasks will each employee be required to perform in a particular job role(s)? 
  2. What level of knowledge, skill, or proficiency is needed for the employee to succeed in the role(s)?

Lion's comprehensive hazmat training courses can help managers answer those questions. Lion's training follows a 10 Step © approach that moves in a natural order for shippers—from classifying and naming materials to selecting packaging, labels and markings, shipping papers, hazmat placards, reporting and recordkeeping, and other shipper responsibilities. Attendees discover what it takes to ensure compliance with US and/or international regulations at every step along the way.

Comprehensive hazmat training (DOT, IATA, IMDG)

Together, Lion's DOT (49 CFR), IATA, and IMDG training courses provide shippers with the most detailed overview of US and international hazardous materials regulations available in any format, anywhere. Lion delivers US DOT (49 CFR), IATA DGR, and IMDG Code training in three formats to maximize flexibility: in-person workshops, self-paced online courses, and instructor-led webinars. 

Where to start with hazmat/dangerous goods training

For those with no previous hazmat training or shipping experience, Lion strongly recommends starting with Hazmat Ground Shipper Certification (DOT) training. This course introduces professionals to the structure of hazardous materials regulations, who must comply, and key concepts that must be understood to comply with US or international shipping rules. 

The course imparts a general awareness of hazardous materials and the risks they pose in transportation, addresses security awareness concerns for shippers, and provides function-specific training to perform or oversee a full range of "hazmat employee" job functions, including, but not limited to:

  • Classifying a hazardous material with one or more hazards. 
  • Selecting the most accurate, precise proper shipping name.  
  • Recognizing and deciphering UN packaging codes.
  • Choosing an authorized, compatible package for a hazardous material. 
  • Affixing required package labels and/or markings, in correct size, placement, orientation, etc.
  • Filling out shipping papers for a hazmat shipment.
  • Offering hazmat placards to a driver when required. 

Choose the hazmat training that's ideal for your schedule, learning style, and level of responsibility at

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