New Hazmat CDL Training Requirements Proposed

Posted on 3/7/2016 by Roger Marks

In the Federal Register today, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposed minimum training requirements for new commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers. The proposed rule includes a section devoted to hazmat training requirements for CMV drivers who wish to add a hazardous materials (H) endorsement on a Commercial Drivers’ License (CDL).

New rules for driver training will be found at 49 CFR Part 380, Subpart F. To accommodate new hazmat training rules, FMCSA proposes adding a new section—to be found at 49 CFR 380.623—to cover training requirements for CMV drivers seeking a hazmat endorsement.

FMCSA's Proposed Hazmat CDL Endorsement Training Rules 

Because the current CDL requirement to obtain a hazmat endorsement does not include a skills test, any hazmat training proposed for CDL holders will focus on “hazmat theory,” according to the proposed rule. FMCSA’s proposal explicitly does not set a minimum number of hours required for hazmat training, providing instead a list of topics that must be covered.

FMCSA’s proposed hazmat training requirements can be broken down into three major parts: curriculum that matches the current US DOT PHMSA hazmat training standard for “hazmat employees” (49 CFR 172.704), basic requirements for safely operating a CMV, and issues specific to driving a CMV loaded with hazardous materials.
Standard Hazmat Training Requirements

A number of the proposed hazmat training requirements for CMV drivers mirror the existing training rules for “hazmat employees.” As defined in the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) the term hazmat employee comprises any employee who can affect the safety of a hazmat shipment. Specifically, the new FMCSA driver training requirement will cover issues like:
  • Basic HM competencies, including applicability requirements when hazardous materials are transported;
  • Communication requirements, including shipping paper requirements, marking, labeling, placarding, emergency response information, and hazmat shippers’ responsibilities; and
  • Reporting hazmat incidents, including proper completion and submission of hazmat incident reports;
  • Proper loading and unloading procedures for hazardous materials cargo. 
For more information about US DOT’s hazmat training requirements for all “hazmat employees,” watch the Hazmat Training Standard Video here.

CMV Driver Training Requirements

Other specific topics proposed in FMCSA’s new training requirements include CMV driver knowledge not necessarily related to hazardous materials, like:
  • Basic competencies for safely operating a CMV , including safe operation of emergency control features, special vehicle handling characteristics, rollover prevention, and properties and hazards of the hazardous materials transported;
  • Applicable requirements of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) and procedures for safe operation of a motor vehicle, including special precautions for fires, loading and unloading, operation of cargo tank and motor vehicle equipment, and shut-off/shut-down information;
  • How to safely fuel a vehicle that contains hazmat and when to check tire pressure.
Unique Hazmat Issues for CMV Drivers

Lastly, there are a few hazmat transportation issues that are specific to driving a CMV. Some of these issues are singled out for inclusion in the eventual hazmat driver training requirements:
  • Procedures and best practices for handling a hazardous materials emergency response incident and post-response operations, including what to do in case of an unintended hazmat release;
  • Rules for hazardous materials transported on vehicles with passengers and property, including the types and quantities of hazmat that can and cannot be transported in these vehicles/situations;
  • Specific requirements for hazmat shipped in bulk packages, including cargo tanks, IBCs, bulk cylinders, and portable tanks;
  • Proper segregation and securement of HM, and prohibitions on transporting certain solid and liquid poisons with foodstuffs;
  • Routing and route-planning procedures to follow for transportation of radioactive and non-radioactive hazardous materials; and
  • Proper procedures and operational requirements for hazmat that requires the use of a hazardous materials safety permit (HSMP), including communication, constant attendance, and parking rules.
View the full proposed rule in the Federal Register here.

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Tags: DOT, hazmat shipping, new rules

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