In addition to the sense of duty that compels safety professionals to identify and control hazards, we frequently are subject to numerous regulatory standards that require the same. For many safety professionals unfamiliar with regulations, understanding what rules apply may seem daunting. A prime example is found in the rules and regulations regarding the transportation of hazardous materials and dangerous goods. To the uninitiated, navigating through the US Department of Transportation (DOT) Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR), with all the various requirements, special provisions and exceptions may leave one feeling overwhelmed. Add to these requirements international regulations and standards, such as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the International Air Transport Association (IATA), and the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and the task seems even more hopeless. The training requirements alone, understanding who needs training, what needs to be covered, and how the program is to be managed, can leave the safety professional scratching his head.

To raise the stakes a little higher, the minimum citation for a training violation is almost double the minimum for other violations, and the maximum fines can reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars for civil penalties, with the potential for criminal penalties, including prison time, for extreme violations (DOT 2011). Furthermore, according to 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Section 171.1(g), violations can be compounding, with each new day being a new violation. This can make failures to identify employees who need training costly. Even still, training violations are still listed in the top ten most frequently cited violations (DOT 2011). This is partly because there is no shortage of agencies and groups looking over the shoulder of those involved in the hazardous materials transportation process. A non-exhaustive list includes the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the Federal Rail Administration (FRA), the US Coast Guard, state transportation agencies such as Highway Patrol, international agencies, and sometimes local agencies.

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