DOT Announces Civil Monetary Penalty Inflations Adjustment: What You Need to Know

The US DOT has recently announced the Final Rule regarding minimum and maximum penalty increases for hazmat shipping violations. These civil financial penalties for the failure to comply with HMR (hazardous materials regulations) are usually increased each year to match inflation rates.

With effect from March 21st, 2022, the maximum civil monetary penalty has been increased to more than $5,000 for a typical hazardous materials shipping violation. Where the hazmat violation causes significant property damage, serious injury or illness, or death, the maximum increase in penalty is more than $12,000. 

New Penalty Amounts for a Typical Hazmat Shipping Violation

Maximum Civil Penalty Per Violation, Per Day

Violation of Hazmat Transportation Law

  • Existing Penalty Amount: $84,425
  • New Penalty Amount: $89,678

 Violation of Hazmat Transportation Law that Results in Significant Property Loss, Serious Injury or Illness, or Death

  • Existing Penalty Amount: $196,992
  • New Penalty Amount: $209,249

 Maximum Civil Penalty Per Employee, Per Day

 Violation of Hazmat Transportation Law Related to Hazmat Training

  • Existing Penalty Amount: $84,425
  • New Penalty Amount: $89,678

Minimum Civil Penalty Per Employee, Per Day

Violation of Hazmat Transportation Law Related to Hazmat Training

  • Existing Penalty Amount: $508
  • New Penalty Amount: $540

 US DOT Agencies that have Increased the Penalties

US DOT agencies, such as Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), among others have the responsibility to ensure safe transportation and shipping of hazardous materials. Just take it from Hazardous Matt! The official mascot of the PHMSA. As his name and fiery head of hair suggests, he is the brand ambassador whose sole purpose is to promote “public awareness of the need for safer shipping of hazardous materials”.

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US Coast Guard (USCG) has a responsibility to enforce safe hazmat shipping by vessel. In addition, the US Postal Service (USPS) is responsible for enforcing the hazmat shipping requirements related to the mail system. All of these US DOT agencies have increased penalties related to hazmat shipping violations (including training-related violations).

Recent Safety Alert Related to Lithium Batteries Transportation

The US Coast Guard recently issued a Safety Alert following a container fire involving lithium batteries. The container was being transported for loading at a Virginia port. The agency found that the container included used batteries, which were not in compliance with the IMDG Code.

The shipping of lithium batteries should be a matter of special attention for all hazmat employees because of the unique risks and challenges they pose. One of the major hazards related to lithium batteries is the “thermal run-away.” This refers to an uncontrollable chain reaction of heat, usually caused due to misuse, damage, or a short circuit, which may lead to a battery fire or explosion.

Focused attention to the complexities of lithium battery shipping-related regulations is vital for hazmat employees. Therefore, Hazmat University offers multimodal and mode-specific Initial as well as Recurrent training courses specifically for lithium batteries shipping and transportation. These flexible courses are provided completely online and are regularly updated to reflect any changes to the current regulations.

Quality Hazmat Training Online from Hazmat University

Hazmat University’s comprehensive hazmat training online includes the latest information on hazardous materials shipping regulations. The training includes interactive quizzes and exercises to enable compliance with the hazmat training requirements.

If you have questions regarding the online training that Hazmat University offers or wish to speak to a knowledgeable representative, give us a call at (844) 427-0167 or complete this online contact form. We look forward to helping your team be Confident, be Competent, and be Compliant.