There are more than 500,000 shipments of hazardous waste materials every day. And there are specific guidelines and rules in place to make sure all these shipments are completed in a proper and safe manner. The majority of these shipments are transported by trucks that make up over 90% of all shipments. Over half of the shipments are carrying corrosive or flammable products. The remainder of the shipments are comprised of the other hundreds of chemicals. The shipments are delivered to facilities that can recycle, treat, store, or dispose of the hazardous waste.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation have regulations in place that affect hazardous waste disposal. And there are two other agencies responsible for implementing the guidelines for transporting hazardous materials. Requirements of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) apply to everyone who prepares or offers hazardous materials for transportation in commerce. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is another agency responsible for implementing the federal Hazmat law to protect against the risks inherent in transporting hazardous materials. PHMSA is an agency within DOT.
Improperly transporting hazardous waste can be both costly and dangerous. You could be liable for a civil penalty of up to $75,000 for each violation of a “regulation, order, special permit, or approval” of the act of transporting hazardous waste if you are knowingly in violation. A prison sentence of up to 5 years could also be imposed. So, as you can see, it is crucial to your business to have someone who is trained and someone who has the necessary equipment to handle hazardous waste.
Training of any employees involved in transporting hazardous materials is important and necessary to stay in compliance with the varying governing organizations. Any employees of the company performing the transportation of hazardous materials must receive the required Hazmat training to do the job at least once every three years. The employer is required to keep track of the training completed for each employee.
The transporting company must have the ability to determine the class of the hazardous material, select the appropriate Hazmat packaging, and know how to properly list a Hazmat package depending on the class of the hazardous waste.
Here is a list of hazardous materials:
- Class 1 Explosives
- Class 2 Gases: Flammables, Non-flammables, Toxics
- Class 3 Flammable liquids
- Class 4 Flammable solids, spontaneously combustibles, dangerous when wet
- Class 5 Oxidizers and organic peroxides
- Class 6 Toxic materials and infectious substances
- Class 7 Radioactive materials
- Class 8 Corrosive materials
- Class 9 Miscellaneous dangerous goods (continued on next page)
The United Nations Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (UN Recommendations) delivers recommendations for the performance standards of packaging used for transporting hazardous waste. The packaging must pass a series of performance tests to be acceptable.
As you can see, the shipment of hazardous waste is very serious business. It is crucial that you work with a company that has the training and knowledge to handle your hazardous waste transporting needs. With all the requirements of the various organizations – EPA, DOT, PHMSA, HMR, and others – you need someone on your side who will make sure you are in compliance with every agency and with every regulation to avoid the costly penalties mentioned earlier.