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PHMSA Seeking Comments: FAQ Training Requirements

PHMSA Seeking Comments:  FAQ Training Requirements

Time flies when you’re having fun! Way back in May of 2022, I wrote an article on PHMSA’s announcement of an initiative to convert historical letters of interpretation (LOI) into broadly applicable frequently asked questions (FAQ).

Since then, on December 9, 2022, and August 18, 2023, PHMSA published the first and second set of FAQs regarding applicability of the HMR with the assistance from comments provided by public stakeholders in the dangerous goods community.  Once again, PHMSA is now seeking comments, this time on a third set of FAQs regarding training requirements.

What is PHMSA Looking for the Public to Comment on?

The initiative to convert historical letters of interpretations to Frequently asked Questions is in full effect, as PHMSA has moved on to the topic of training.  As mentioned in my last blog, PHMSA interpretations are written explanations of the 49CFR hazardous materials regulations from various members of the PHMSA. The interpretations come in the form of letters that originate from various dangerous goods professionals asking specific questions about the regulations and the questions in the letters are answered by members of PHMSA.  In this case, PHMSA is looking for comments on19 FAQS on the topic of training, some examples below include:

Question: What are the hazardous materials training requirements?

Answer: A hazmat employee, defined under § 171.8, is subject to training under § 172.700. Each hazmat employer must train and test their hazmat employees, certify their training, and develop and retain records of current training. The HMR requires a systematic training program that ensures a hazmat employee has familiarity with the general provisions of the HMR; is able to recognize and identify hazardous materials; has knowledge of specific requirements of the HMR applicable to functions performed by the employee; and has knowledge of emergency response information, self-protection measures, and accident prevention methods and procedures.

Question: What is required as part of a complete hazmat training program?

Answer: Section 172.704 requires that hazmat training include:

  • general awareness/familiarization training;
  • function-specific training;
  • safety training;
  • security awareness training; and
  • in-depth security training if a security plan is required.

Additionally, § 172.700 requires hazmat employees receive modal-specific training for the individual modes of transportation the employee operates.

This training can be performed by the hazmat employer, by the hazmat employee, or by a contracted training service so long as all the training requirements in Subpart H to Part 172 are met.

Question: Who is considered a “hazmat employee?”

Answer: A hazmat employee is defined in § 171.8 as any person who—in the course of employment—directly affects hazmat transportation safety and includes, but is not limited to, loading, unloading, or handling hazmat; inspecting hazmat packaging; preparing hazmat shipments; operating vehicles used to transport hazmat; and anyone responsible for hazmat transportation safety.

If you are interested on commenting on the FAQS above as well as the others, comments should be submitted before April 12, 2024. Comments received after that date will be considered to the extent practicable. You can find the complete lists of Training FAQs and for details on how to submit comments here.

We have our own library of FAQ’s which address many common and not so common questions regarding handling, storing or shipping hazardous materials. As always, our team of experts is just a call away for our customers at 855.734.5469 or send us an email, we’re happy to help.

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Michael Zendano

Michael Zendano started with ICC Compliance Center back in 2016 with several years in the packaging field as a Quality Control Manager. In addition, he has 8 years experience in teaching. Michael works at the Niagara Falls Office as the Regulatory Packaging Expert where he manages packaging projects and procedures and is a member of the Institute of Packaging Professionals (IOPP) and The Chemical Packaging Committee (CPC) . Degrees: M.S. Science of Education.