Hazmat Employer’s Duty—Ensure Your Employees’ Training

Posted on 3/23/2020 by Lauren Scott

The 49 CFR explicitly states that “hazmat employers” must ensure their “hazmat employees” are training to perform their essential job functions [49 CFR 172.702(a)]. But who exactly needs training and what kind of training is required? We answer these questions and more.

What’s a Hazmat Employer?

DOT defines a “hazmat employer” as any entity that
  • Transports hazardous materials in commerce;
  • Causes hazardous materials to be transported in commerce; or
  • Designs, manufactures, fabricates, inspects, marks, maintains, reconditions, repairs or tests a package, container, or packaging component that is represented, marked, certified, or sold by that person as qualified for use in transporting hazardous materials in commerce.
Such entities could be either a person who employs at least one hazmat employee; self-employed; or a State, Federal, or Tribal agency or political subdivision. [49 CFR 171.8]

Who Must Be Trained?

Anyone who directly affects the safety of transportation of hazardous material must be trained. The term “hazmat employee” includes anyone who is self-employed as well as persons employed full-time, part-time, or on a temporary basis that affects hazardous materials transportation safety, including railroad signalmen and maintenance-of-way employees.
Such individuals may perform at least one of these duties during the course employment:
  • Load, unload, or handle hazardous materials;
  • Design, manufacture, fabricate, inspect, mark, maintain, recondition, repair, or test a package, container, packaging component that is represented, marked, certified, or sold as qualified for use in transporting hazardous material in commerce.
  • Prepare hazardous materials for transportation;
  • Manage the safety of transporting hazardous materials; or
  • Operate a vehicle used to transport hazardous materials. [49 CFR 171.8]
49 CFR gets even more specific about who needs hazmat training. At 49 CFR 171.1(b), you can find a list of regulated “pre-transportation functions.” Any employee who performs these jobs must have appropriate training.
These functions include:
  • Determining a material’s hazard class
  • Selecting, filling, and/or closing a hazardous materials packaging;
  • Marking or labeling a package to indicate that it contains a hazardous material;
  • Preparing or reviewing a shipping paper;
  • Loading, blocking, and bracing a hazardous materials package in a freight container or transport vehicle; and
  • Selecting, providing, or affixing placards for a freight container or transport vehicle to indicate that it contains a hazardous material.
  • Providing or maintaining emergency response information
  • Reviewing shipping paperwork to verify compliance

What Training is Required?

All hazmat employees must be trained for general awareness, function-specific procedures, and security awareness. Additionally, some hazmat employees may need training in safety or cargo security plan specifics.

Training given under other training requirements (such as OSHA hazard communication/HazCom or HAZWOPER training) may be used toward satisfying DOT’s training requirement, but it must be documented in accordance with DOT rules. For example, a person who had OSHA training would not need safety training under DOT.

Is Hazmat Training Required to Sign Hazardous Waste Manifests?

Yes! Included within the definition of hazardous materials are hazardous wastes. The DOT defines a hazardous waste as “any material that is subject to the Hazardous Waste Manifest Requirements of the US Environmental Protection Agency specified in 40 CFR part 262.”

Therefore, a RCRA hazardous waste requiring the use of a manifest is regulated as a DOT hazardous material.
According to DOT, “…[E]ach person who offers a hazardous material for transportation shall describe the hazardous material on the shipping paper in the manner required by this subpart,” [49 CFR 172.200].

When Must Training Be Done?

Initial training must be completed prior to performing a job function or with 90 days for new hires working under direct supervision of someone who is properly trained and knowledgeable. This supervisor must be able to notice and correct any mistakes. Merely reporting to a trained employee does not satisfy this requirement. [49 CFR 172.704(c)(1)]

Additionally, hazmat employees must be retrained no more than three years from the anniversary date of initial training. [49 CFR 172.704(c)(2)] Employers must ensure testing and create an updated record of training. [49 CFR 172.704(d)]

Online Hazmat Shipper Training When and Where You Need it

Develop the in-depth expertise you need to ship hazardous materials by ground, air, and vessel, in full compliance with the latest US and international requirements.

Lion has online hazmat training to cover the latest 49 CFR (US DOT), IATA DGR, and IMDG Code regulations that govern the domestic and international transport of hazardous materials. 
Hazmat Ground Shipper Certification (DOT)
Hazmat Air Shipper Certification (IATA)
Hazmat Vessel Shipper Certification (IMDG)
Recurrent Hazmat Ground Shipper Certification (DOT)
Shipping Lithium Batteries


Tags: 49 CFR, DOT, DOT training, haz mat, haz mat training, hazardous materials, hazardous materials training, hazmat, hazmat training, ship hazmat

Find a Post

Compliance Archives

Lion - Quotes

I really enjoy your workshops. Thank you for such a great program and all the help Lion has provided me over the years!

George Chatman

Hazardous Material Pharmacy Technician

Convenient; I can train when I want, where I want.

Barry Cook

Hazmat Shipping Professional

Our instructor was very dynamic and kept everyone's interest. Hazmat shipping can be a dry, complicated topic but I was engaged the entire time.

Kimberly Arnao

Senior Director of EH&S

Given the choice, I would do all coursework this way. In-person courses go very fast without the opportunity to pause or repeat anything.

Ellen Pelton

Chemical Laboratory Manager

No comparison. Lion has the best RCRA training ever!!

Matt Sabine

Environmental Specialist

Very witty instructor, made the long times sitting bearable. One of the few training courses I can say I actually enjoyed.

John Hutchinson

Senior EHS Engineer

This was the 1st instructor that has made the topic actually enjoyable and easy to follow and understand. Far better than the "other" training providers our company has attended!

Lori Hardy

Process & Resource Administrator

Best instructor ever! I was going to take my DOT training w/a different provider, but based on this presentation, I will also be doing my DOT training w/Lion!

Donna Moot

Hazardous Waste Professional

These are the best commercial course references I have seen (10+ years). Great job!

Ed Grzybowski

EHS & Facility Engineer

The instructor made the class enjoyable. He presented in a very knowledgeable, personable manner. Best class I've ever attended. Will take one again.

John Nekoloff

Environmental Compliance Manager

Download Our Latest Whitepaper

Use this guide as a quick reference to the most common HAZWOPER questions, and get course recommendations for managers and personnel who are in need of OSHA-required HAZWOPER training.

Latest Whitepaper

By submitting your phone number, you agree to receive recurring marketing and training text messages. Consent to receive text messages is not required for any purchases. Text STOP at any time to cancel. Message and data rates may apply. View our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.