Hazmat Security Awareness: Threats to Look Out For

Hazmat Terrorism Threats

Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 172.704 requires that hazmat employees undergo hazmat security awareness training and in-depth hazmat security training if applicable. Naturally, a business involved with transporting hazardous materials/dangerous goods will likely have security measurements in place to secure the premises and restrict access to prevent pilferage. However, all employees – as well as management – are responsible for protecting the materials from falling into the wrong hands, because hazardous materials in the hands of a terrorist will be used as a lethal weapon.

49 CFR 172.704 mandates that persons engaged in pre-transportation functions and storage must receive hazmat security awareness training. Each hazmat employee must receive training that provides an awareness of security risks associated with hazardous materials transportation and methods designed to enhance transportation security. This training must also include a component covering how to recognize and respond to possible security threats. New hazmat employees must receive the security awareness training required within 90 days after employment.

External Threats and Internal Threats

There are two types of threats that must be identified through the implementation of training:

  • Internal threats occur within the company, from its own employees. They may be disgruntled and act on their frustration by turning on its employer and co-workers and others. Extensive background checks before employment are intended to prevent this.
  • External threats comprise the majority of security breaches for businesses involved in hazmat transport. These include intruders breaking into facilities and stealing hazardous materials for use as weapons. Terrorists, both working in groups and working alone, have committed devastating attacks in the past.

Either of these kinds of threats potentially put many lives at risk. The possibility of a security breach must always be taken seriously.

Methods For Identifying Threats

The average hazmat employee can help protect their workplace in a variety of ways. There are too many to list in this article (hence the need for hazmat security awareness training, which is far more exhaustive), so here are just a few:

  • Not every employee will have the authorization to be in specific sensitive areas. If you notice someone un-escorted in an area where they might not have the clearance to be in, check their credentials and see if they are allowed to be there. They could be intruders who are merely posing as employees. Be especially wary if they are taking pictures or recording videos, as they may be doing so to help them plan a theft.
  • Be sure to apply the above advice to those who have access to the facility but are not hazmat employees themselves. General maintenance workers, such as janitors, and visiting vendors, such as deliverers of food or office supplies, may seem like familiar faces after some time. However, they may not have the authorization necessary to be in certain locations, and employees should take care to report if they observe something unusual.
  • If management conducts an assessment and finds weaknesses in the organization’s security procedures, pay attention to their notes for updates. No plan is ever perfect, but the more one understands the flaws, the more one can do to reduce them.

Start Your Hazmat Security Awareness Training Today

Security awareness is not the only type of training that hazmat employees must undergo. 49 CFR 172.704 also requires general awareness training, function-specific training, safety training, and “in-depth security training when applicable.” Hazmat University provides online training programs that assist in the compliance of the training requirements, including recurrent training also required by federal law and international regulations. Start training with us today and receive the required hazmat security awareness training which will be included in all of our training programs.