You may be aware that hazmat employees involved in transporting hazardous materials by highway/ground in the United States must follow the regulations listed in 49 CFR. You may also be aware that exporting and importing dangerous goods by air and sea requires compliance with international regulations in addition to 49 CFR, and that IATA DGR is the preferred industry manual even when shipping by air domestically. This may cause some to wonder how the different regulations may clash or interact, but the truth is that they more often complement each other – which is why you find 49 CFR training included in different hazmat training courses. Here is some information on that, as well as how 49 CFR affects every US shipper and why you need to use it when preparing hazardous materials shipments.
The Importance of 49 CFR
The Hazardous Materials Regulations of the United States are found in Title 49 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, Parts 100-185 (also known as “49 CFR”). These regulations are issued by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), and they govern the transportation of hazardous materials to, from, through or within the United States. Their governance encompasses all modes of transportation – air, highway, rail, and water. Violations of regulations found in the CFR constitute the violation of U.S. law.
Why, then, is the transportation of dangerous goods by air done in compliance with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Dangerous Goods Regulations, and vessel transport in accordance with the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code)? Because 49 CFR authorizes preparation of shipments in accordance with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air (which is the basis of the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations), and the IMDG Code for vessel transportation – with limitations. If these limitations are not acknowledged and complied with when applicable, the shipment is not compliant with 49 CFR – the “law of the land” in the United States – and could subject the shipper to fines and/or penalties, including imprisonment if the violation is deemed to be criminal in nature.
The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the important role that hazardous materials (hazmat) shippers play in transporting essential items to different parts of the country. From raw pharmaceutical materials to manufacturing inputs for medical devices, a wide range of items – many of which are hazardous in nature – are shipped to different places on a day-to-day basis.
In this situation, and always, complying with the regulations in 49 CFR is extremely important for several reasons.
Avoiding the Consequences of Non-Compliance
The pandemic has caused the US economy to slow down, as a result of which many companies have taken a revenue hit. At such a time, no hazmat shipping company can afford to face the financial and legal consequences of a hazmat incident. By fully complying with 49 CFR, you substantially reduce the risk of hazmat non-compliance penalties and transportation incidents.
Ensuring Timely Shipping of Essential Supplies
Many of the items that are shipped by hazmat companies are used in the treatment and containment of the coronavirus outbreak. Any non-compliance on the part of a hazmat employee – or any other person who is part of the hazmat supply chain – can delay the shipping process, as a result of which frontline workers and healthcare centers might not receive the essential supplies they need in a timely manner.
Variations and Requirements Even Amidst COVID-19
49 CFR Part 171, Subpart C is titled “Authorization and Requirements for the Use of International Transport Standards and Regulations”, and contains the additional conditions, requirements and limitations regarding the use of the ICAO Technical Instructions, the IMDG Code, the Transport Canada TDG Regulations, and with regard to radioactive materials, the International Atomic Energy Agency Safety Standards. These conditions and requirements can dramatically affect the preparation and transport of a hazardous materials shipment, and their importance cannot be understated.
While the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations conveniently reference most of these U.S. differences in the U.S. Variations, one cannot understand nor comply with these ‘variations’ without consulting the 49 CFR citations referenced in them. The IMDG Code does not publish “variations,” but the shipper is still entirely responsible for ensuring that hazardous materials being offered are in compliance with the laws of the countries of origin, destination, and where applicable, transit ports.
There are other possible requirements of 49 CFR that may not be addressed in an IATA or IMDG training course, such as the requirements for shippers and transporters of hazardous materials to register with the U.S. DOT (in accordance with 49 CFR Part 107, Subpart G), the responsibilities of importers to provide the shipper with timely and complete information as to the 49 CFR requirements that will apply to the transportation of the material within the United States (49 CFR §171.1(b)(10)), and the vehicle placarding requirements listed in 49 CFR Part 172, Subpart F.
The Need for Online 49 CFR Training
The best way to ensure that 49 CFR is complied with at every level of the hazmat supply chain is to make sure that all the people involved in the process – frontline workers, freight forwarders, and shippers – complete 49 CFR training.
By undergoing the applicable 49 CFR training, hazmat personnel can learn about the different types of hazardous materials that are commonly transported by ground, air, and sea, the hazard classes they belong to, the risks they pose, and the regulatory requirements that must be followed while transporting them.
Online 49 CFR training programs are the best choice for hazmat employees, as they can afford to complete the training program at their own pace. Moreover, this is especially true during the COVID-19 outbreak as in-person training programs can increase the risk of viral transmission, as they require individuals to gather for extended periods of time.
In essence, online 49 CFR training is the best way to stay safe and stay compliant with all the relevant regulations in the midst of the pandemic.
Choose the Right Online Hazmat Training Provider
At Hazmat University, you can sign up for an online hazmat training program that will help keep you safe, compliant and confident.
We are here to help with regulatory technical support Monday-Friday from 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM EDT at no cost to you.
Need help selecting the right online hazmat training course for your training needs? Our modal and multimodal courses combine lessons containing the latest regulatory information with interactive exercises and quizzes to facilitate compliance with regulatory training requirements. Call us at (844) 532-7634 / (609) 860-0300 or contact us online, and we’ll be glad to help you!