DOT Raises Hazmat Penalties for Second Time in 2021

Posted on 5/3/2021 by Roger Marks

For the second time this year, US DOT has increased civil penalties for violations of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR).

You read that right. On Monday, May 3, the DOT sub-agencies that enforce the nation’s hazardous materials and transportation rules—PHMSA, FAA, FMCSA, FRA, et. al.—each posted an identical notice to the Federal Register to alert stakeholders that, effective immediately, penalties are rising once again.

We explain below why civil penalties for hazmat violations have increased twice in five months. First, below are the new maximum and minimum civil penalty values for HMR violations, as of May 3, 2021: 

$84,425 per day, per violation is the new maximum civil penalty for a typical hazmat shipping violation.

$196,992 per day, per violation is the new maximum civil penalty for a violation that results in death, serious illness, severe injury, or substantial property damage.

$508 per employee, per day is the new minimum penalty for failure to provide hazmat training as required by 49 CFR 172.704.

Why Two Hazmat Penalty Increases?

US DOT and other Federal agencies, including US EPA and OSHA, are authorized to increase civil penalties on an annual basis to match the rate of inflation. DOT’s “annual” civil penalty adjustment for 2020 was completed later than usual, in January 2021. The most recent increase before January was in August 2019.  

Now, DOT is upping the penalties again—this time for the 2021 adjustment.

Why Do Civil Penalties Go Up Every Year?

Annual civil penalty adjustments began in 2015, when the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 amended the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act. Before 2015, DOT and EPA were required to increase penalties only every four years. OSHA was not authorized to increase its civil penalties at all.

EPA increased its penalties for violations of air, water, chemical, and hazardous waste standards in December 2020.

OSHA increased civil penalties for workplace safety violations in January 2021.

In-person Hazmat Workshops Return in 2021

Let’s train together again. Join a Lion instructor for comprehensive, expert-led training to ship hazardous materials by ground, air, and vessel when Lion workshops return to select cities later this year.

These comprehensive workshops cover the latest requirements you must know to offer safe, compliant shipments, and help meet US DOT, IATA DGR, and IMDG Code training mandates for hazardous materials professionals.
Charlotte Aug. 10–11 Aug. 12  
Orlando Aug. 16–17 Aug. 18  
Nashville Aug. 24–25 Aug. 26 Aug. 27
Atlanta Aug. 30–31 Sep. 01 Sep. 02
Houston Sep. 14–15 Sep. 16 Sep. 17
Dallas Sep. 20–21 Sep. 22 Sep. 23
San Diego Sep. 28–29 Sep. 30 Oct. 01
Cincinnati Nov. 08–09 Nov. 10  
St. Louis Dec. 01–02 Dec. 03  
Chicago Dec. 06–07 Dec. 08 Dec. 09

Save when you attend all four days! Enroll for the Complete Multimodal Hazmat Shipper Certification Workshops in Nashville, Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, San Diego, or Chicago. 

US DOT requires hazmat training once every 3 years (49 CFR 172.704). 

Tags: DOT, FAA, hazmat penalties, hazmat shipping, PHMSA

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