Hazmat Certification: The Who, What, and Why

When it comes to the transportation of hazardous materials/dangerous goods by surface, air, or water, the word “certification” is often cited as a regulatory requirement for hazmat employees.  But what exactly is hazmat certification?

Used in this context, “certification” is typically defined as a standardized, industry-recognized credential that formally attests that an individual has completed educational and testing or assessment requirements in a certain area, typically involving occupation in a particular industry.  The terms “hazmat certification” and “dangerous goods certification” are regularly used to infer that an individual has been issued a “certificate” verifying that they have successfully completed the required hazmat training and testing, and are therefore considered competent to perform their hazmat-related job functions.  This proof of hazmat training is a critical and required standard intended to maintain the safety of our global transportation systems.

Who Needs Hazmat Training?

In the United States, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s hazardous materials transportation regulations (HMR) is found in Title 49 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations. Section 172.702 of 49 CFR states that a hazmat employer must provide appropriate training to any individuals in their employ who perform hazardous materials transportation or pre-transportation functions as defined in the regulations (“hazmat employees”), in order to ensure that they are competent to perform those functions. 

49 CFR Parts 100-185 contain regulatory requirements for hazardous materials transported to, from, throughout, or within U.S. territories by all modes of transportation.  However, when preparing shipments for air or ocean transportation, 49 CFR Part 172, Subpart C, authorizes the use of the accepted international regulations and standards specific to air (ICAO/IATA) and ocean (IMDG) dangerous goods transportation.  As the regulations and requirements for transportation of hazardous materials/dangerous goods are specific to the mode of transportation being utilized, specific training for surface, air, and ocean transportation must be completed prior to offering for transportation or transporting hazardous materials by these modes.  

What Needs to be Done to Obtain and Achieve Hazmat Certification

Hazmat training may be provided by the employer, or by other public or private sources.  The employer, however, must retain a record of current training for each hazmat employee, which must include:

  • The hazmat employee’s name;
  • The most recent training completion date of the hazmat employee’s training;
  • A description, copy, or the location of the training materials used to meet the training requirements;
  • The name and address of the person/organization providing the training; and
  • Certification that the hazmat employee has been trained and tested as required by the regulations.

There are choices as to the delivery method used for hazmat training and testing; options include public classroom, onsite classroom, instructor-led webinar, and self-paced online learning.  While the pros and cons of each method may differ depending on individual needs, self-paced online dangerous goods training, such as that offered by Hazmat University, is often the most cost-effective and flexible option.  Online training offers the opportunity to learn and complete your hazmat certification at any time, at your own pace, irrespective of your location, on any internet-enabled computer or mobile device.  Once you successfully complete the course(s) you are enrolled in, you can easily download and print your certificate of training completion.

Why Hazmat Training with Hazmat University is Right for You

Hazmat University offers training courses for all modes of transportation (air, ground, and vessel) for both initial Hazmat training and recurrent Hazmat training, with all course contents updated to 2022 regulatory requirements.  We offer a wide range of online training courses that easily allow for remote, self-paced learning that will suit you whether you absorb information quickly or you prefer to take your time.  Our dangerous goods training courses have been developed by industry leaders with over 45 years of experience, and our friendly and knowledgeable staff are just a phone call away. 

To learn more about obtaining 49 CFR, IATA, or IMDG hazmat certification, call us today at (844) 532-7634 or (609) 860-0300, or contact us online. We’re here to help you be confident, be competent, and be compliant.

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