If your business involves the shipping and handling of hazardous materials, then we shouldn’t need to tell you how important it is for your employees to undergo hazmat shipping training. If you have only just begun working with hazardous materials, you may wonder why hazmat shipping training is so important.
There are three main reasons why employees who work with hazardous materials would need to undergo hazmat shipping training.
According to the FAA, more than 3 billion tons of regulated hazardous materials are known to be transported within the United States every year. These hazardous materials include materials that are corrosive, flammable, poisonous, explosive, and radioactive. And while many cargo crime incidents go unreported, it is estimated that cargo theft costs the United States $15-$30 billion every year. With these statistics in mind, one can only imagine how high the odds are of hazardous materials falling into the wrong hands.
And when they do, it can put the economy as well as the public at risk. For example, terrorists may use these stolen hazardous materials in an attack as they did in the 1993 World Trade Center and the Oklahoma City bombings. Those are just two examples, but there are many more. And that is why we must be vigilant when it comes to securely shipping hazardous materials. Lack of knowledge and training represents a vulnerability that can be exploited by malicious actors.
It doesn’t need to be pointed out that hazardous materials present a massive risk to the health and safety of both people and the environment. And the risks associated with any hazardous material are at their highest when those dangerous goods are in transit.
Some may still remember the largest chemical spill in California history when a Southern Pacific Railroad train jumped the tracks in 1991 and spilled 19,000 gallons of a deadly soil sterilizer, metam sodium, into the Sacramento River near Dunsmuir.
The spill released a toxic chemical cloud that resulted in area residents needing hospitalization and killed thousands of trees and over a million fish in the three days it took to reach Lake Shasta and dissipate enough to become undetectable. The incident crippled the local economy, with businesses that depend on tourism hit the hardest. And it was almost 15 years before most of the fish species in the river fully recovered.
Costs of improper handling and shipping of hazardous materials
Incidents like the one mentioned above are the reason that governing bodies like the NRC, DOT, EPA, OSHA, and more were established to regulate the handling and transport of hazardous materials. They’re serious about protecting people and the environment from the dangers of hazardous materials — and the fines they impose for non-compliance are no joke.
As an example, the fines levied by the Department of Transportation in relation to hazardous materials include:
- $84,425 per day, per violation maximum civil penalty of hazardous materials shipping violations
- $196,992 per day, per violation maximum civil penalty, resulting in death, serious illness, severe injury, or substantial property damage.
- $508 per employee, per day minimum penalty for failure to provide hazmat training as required by 49 CFR 172.704.
When considering numbers like that, it is easy to see how a single incident could result in your business going bankrupt on fines alone. And when you start adding in the possibility of civil lawsuits resulting from your mishandling of hazardous materials, the cost of hiring a dangerous goods consultant and sending your employees for hazmat shipping training pales in comparison.
Between all the requirements for the safe handling of dangerous goods and all the regulations governing their safe transportation, the shipping of hazardous materials is a complex undertaking. With 30+ years of hazardous materials experience, CARGOpak Corp can provide you with the guidance and training you need to ensure you stay compliant while protecting your employees, everyone else, and the environment. So, contact us today to find out more about hazmat shipping training and more.