On March 25, 2020, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration (PHMSA) issued a notice of enforcement action regarding obtaining or providing recurrent hazmat training (in-person, webinar, or online training) to hazmat employees. The notice stated that no enforcement action would be taken against companies that were unable to provide recurrent hazmat training for 90 days. On June 24, 2020, PHMSA extended the hold on enforcement actions until October 31, 2020.
PHMSA recognized that the unprecedented changes in business practices related to the COVID-19 outbreak left many companies without a means to obtain or provide hazmat training for their employees in their traditional ways. While time was provided for companies to rethink their training, enforcement actions were not going to be held back forever.
Hazmat Training: What Happens After October 31, 2020?
The hazardous materials regulations are found in 49 CFR Parts 100–180. The regulations are enforced by PHMSA, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA), the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the US Coast Guard.
The training requirements are found in 49 CFR Subpart H (172.700). All hazmat employees are required to receive training within 90 days of beginning hazmat functions and recurrent hazmat training at least every 3 years after that. PHMSA’s policy meant that no enforcement actions would be taken against a company that didn’t provide recurrent hazmat training between March 25 and October 31, 2020. The policy never applied to initial hazmat training.
After October 31, 2020, PHMSA expects that companies have been able to rework and adapt their operations with the COVID crises in mind and can provide the recurrent hazmat training as required by the regulations. This means that violations and penalties will be issued for non-compliance with the recurrent training requirements.
Penalties for non-compliance with the hazmat training requirements can be $1,000+ per employee and can add up quickly.
Hazmat Training: What Happens Next?
The short answer to this question is to get your hazmat training updated now! Time is running out! There is no requirement for recurrent hazmat training to be given in an in-person classroom setting. In the notice, PHMSA states that hazmat training can be provided by any method including webinars or self-paced online computer-based instruction such as online hazmat training provided by Hazmat University.
49 CFR, IATA, IMDG, Initial or Recurrent Hazmat Training
Hazmat University and Bureau of Dangerous Goods offer initial and recurrent training through both self-paced online hazmat training and instructor-led webinars. The modal or multimodal courses are intended for shippers, freight forwarders, and hazmat employees involved in the handling, shipping, and/or transport of hazardous materials or dangerous goods.