Industry News

New HAZMAT Transportation Rule Impacts Contractors

Published on 2003-10-21. Author : SpecialChem


Companies transporting large quantities of hazardous materials, including paint and other coating industry products, are now required to be in compliance with HM-232, a regulation governing the protection of shipments of hazardous goods from terrorist activities that took effect on September 25.
The rule specifically applies to those who offer into commerce or transport one or more of the following hazardous materials:

  • A highway route-controlled quantity of radioactive material More than 55 pounds of explosive material
  • More than 1 liter per package of a material that is poisonous by inhalation that meets the criteria for Hazard A as specified in the regulationsí subchapter
  • A shipment in bulk packaging with a capacity equal or greater to 3,500 gallons of liquid hazardous material, or gases greater than 13.24 cubic meters for solids
  • Infectious substances regulated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention A shipment of hazardous materials that requires placarding

HM-232 has two main components: security planning and employee training. All businesses that transport hazardous materials-regardless of quantity-must complete "security awareness training" for current HAZMAT employees no later than March 24, 2006. Training for new hires must be done within 90 days of employment.

Firms with higher degrees of risk must adopt stricter security guidelines sooner. For example, when special placarding on trucks is required under existing DOT regulations, the new rule mandates that a written security plan must have been in place by the September 25, 2003, deadline. These firms must also provide employees with appropriate "in-depth security training" by December 22, 2003.

At a minimum, security plans must include an assessment of possible transportation security risks and appropriate measures identified by risk assessments. All security plans are required to be in writing, updated as necessary to reflect changing circumstances, and must be retained for as long as the plan remains in effect. The rule further mandates that security plans address personnel security, unauthorized access, and en-route security. In order to address personal security, employers are required to confirm information provided by job applicants for positions that require access to or handling HAZMAT. This applies to all positions involving access to HAZMAT, not just drivers.

The in-depth security training must include company security objectives, specific security procedures, employee responsibilities, actions to be taken in the event of a security breach, and the organizational security structure.

To comply with the March 2006 deadline for security awareness training, each employee must receive training that provides an awareness of security risks associated with HAZMAT transportation and methods designated to enhance transportation security. The training must include a component covering how to recognize and respond to possible security risks associated with HAZMAT transportation and methods designated to enhance transportation security.

DOT spokesperson Joe Delcambre says that regulators will treat the law seriously, but he notes that it has ambiguous language that helps low-risk firms, such as contractors, comply. "We left it flexible . . . depending on what and how much they are shipping," he said.

DOT estimates that firms will spend about $1,700 each on security plans, for a nationwide cost of $54.3 million this year, and $11 million next year. Training is also an added cost. Civil citations for noncompliance will cost between $275 and $32,500 per day, per violation.

Source: HENR; 9/22/03. Environmental Reporter; 9/19/03.

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