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November 01, 2022
Compliance Tip: Hazmat driver training

Q. What are the training requirements for hazardous materials drivers?

A.  Each of a carrier’s drivers as well as all other carrier employees involved in the transportation of hazardous materials (hazmat) must be trained before the carrier may transport a hazardous material by motor vehicle.

Required frequency of training: 

  • Initial Training. Before an employee transports a hazardous material.
  • Refresher training. Specialized cargo tank training must be repeated once every 3 years.

Required content of training: 

  • Vehicle operation. Hazmat drivers must be trained in the safe operation of their vehicles. This hazmat driver operation training may be satisfied by compliance with the current requirements for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) with a tank vehicle endorsement or with hazardous materials endorsements (HME). Training subjects must include:
    • Pretrip safety inspection.
    • Using vehicle controls and equipment, including emergency equipment.
    • Operation of the vehicle, including basic maneuvers and hazards caused by road conditions and weather.
    • Procedures for maneuvering tunnels, bridges, and railroad crossings.
    • Loading and unloading materials, including:
      • Compatibility and segregation of cargo in a mixed load;
      • Package-handling methods; and
      • Load securement.
  • The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) standards, as applicable, that address both general topics (e.g., parking, fueling, tires) and specific topics (e.g., routing of radioactive materials).
  • Large cargo tank operation training. Drivers who operate a cargo tank or a vehicle with a portable tank with a capacity of 1,000 gallons or more must receive specialized training that includes:
    • Operation of emergency control features of the cargo tank or portable tank.
    • Special vehicle-handling characteristics, including high center of gravity; fluid load subject to surge; effects of fluid-load surge on braking; characteristic differences in stability among baffled, unbaffled, and multicompartmented tanks; and effects of partial loads on vehicle stability.
    • Loading and unloading procedures.
    • The properties and hazards of the material transported.
    • Retest and inspection requirements for cargo tanks.

Training documentation. Records of each hazmat employee's large cargo tank operation training must be retained for as long as that employee is employed by that employer as a hazmat employee and for 90 days thereafter.

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