An Introduction To Hazmat

The term hazmat refers to hazardous materials. These materials are toxic chemicals that can cause harm to humans and the environment. Such materials are strictly regulated by Government Transportation offices such as the Department of Transportation. Some hazardous materials will require the use of special permits and approvals before being transported. A special permit or approval is a document which authorizes a person to perform a function that is currently not authorized under the authority of the Hazardous Materials Regulations or HMR. When transporting these materials Hazmat signs or placards are used and usually pertain to vehicle restrictions through tunnels or heavily populated areas where a related incident or spill would have tremendous negative effects to the immediate surroundings.

Shields and road signs are also now in place for hazmat preferred routes and banned routes. When being exposed to and handling dangerous materials protective clothing must be worn. A Hazmat suit is a worn to cover the body completely to provide protection from these materials such as chemical biological or radioactive materials. Only qualified hazmat personnel are authorized to handle or transport these materials.

To become endorsed to handle or transport hazardous materials you must first complete a qualified instructional course such as that provided by The Department of Transportations Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration also known as PHMSA along with your training you will be required to pass a rigorous background check. Laws and regulations on use and handling may be different depending on the activity and status of the materials. For example one set of requirements may apply to use in work safety while different requirements may apply to a spill response or retailing products to consumers and transportation.

Many countries have regulations in place for most aspects of hazmat. In todays ever evolving workplace environment and with the increasing threat of terrorist activity the demand for HAZMAT specialists is increasing. Working in this field can be exciting and rewarding as the pay is great but handling hazardous materials also has a certain degree of danger as well. Hazmat personnel must first become endorsed by completing a training session that meets OSHA, EPA or DOT requirements and standards. EPA, DOT, and OSHA Federal regulations require training for all employees who will be handling, transporting, preparing for shipment or even preparing paperwork of hazardous materials.

Many new amendments to existing Hazmat Regulations have been added since the introduction of the Patriot Act for conducting security threat assessments on drivers who transport hazardous materials to undergo a security threat assessment prior to the issuance of the endorsement.

Joe Russell is the owner of a website dedicated to information and resources on hazmat training, regulations and can visit his site at:

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