DOT Hazardous Materials Training for Fork Truck Drivers and Hazmat Paperwork

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Probably one of the more frequently missed trainings not given by an employer to his employees is the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Hazardous Materials Training.  This is the training for the people (fork truck drivers) who handle the hazardous materials (chemicals) at their shipping and receiving dock.  This is the training for the people that do the hazardous material paperwork (bills of lading or any type of hazardous waste shipment manifests).

Do not confuse this 49 CFR DOT training with the 29 CFR Hazardous Communication training or the 40 CFR Hazardous Substances RCRA training.  Both of these trainings are close “first cousins” to Hazardous Materials, but there is a difference.  And that difference shows up in the specific training requirements.  There’s general awareness training, function specific training, safety training and the relatively new security training.  The core of any hazardous materials training program is the function specific training section.  From the start with the various steps of classification, using the Hazardous Materials Table, packaging, marking, labeling, shipping papers ……to finally ending with placarding right before the truck heads away from your loading……. it is an involved process.

Your best Haz Mat training is one that is patient and methodically takes you through the steps just mentioned.  It’s easy to get confused and get into the weeds.  Make sure your new people are trained within 90 days after starting on the job.  And make sure you retrain everybody every 3 years.  Hazardous Materials is a certification and there is a test to prove comprehension.  As an employer, make sure you have that signed trainer’s certification and have a copy of your employee’s test as documentation.  If there ever is a spill or incident out on the road or if there’s an audit, these will be the first items requested by the authorities.


John Sutton