U.S. issues final rule on hazmat security and training

WAHINGTON, D.C. (April 3, 2003) — The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA) has issued a final rule requiring shippers and carriers (all modes) of hazardous materials to develop and implement security plans and to provide employees security training. The RSPA has given shippers and carriers nine months to come up with a security plan and train workers on the specifics of their plans.

The RSPA has elected to adopt general requirements rather than a list of specific items that must be included in the security plans. Carriers can assess security risks and planning from a template provided by the agency at http://hazmat.dot.gov/rmsef.htm. One of the mandatory elements that must be included in any security plan are measures to “confirm” information provided by job applicants who handle hazmat, including history, references, and citizenship status. Other factors of an acceptable plan include: prevention of access of hazmat vehicles or material by unauthorized persons; en route security, including storage incidental to movement; and a shipper’s security plan which includes procedures to ensure that the carriers it selects also have adequate security plans.

The RSPA will not require parties to submit their plans to the agency for approval but will review shipper and carrier plans as part of regular agency audits.

Shippers and carriers are also required to provide employees security training in addition to the safety training currently required. The general security awareness training must be given to all applicable employees no later than March 24, 2006. The training should include awareness of: security risks associated with hazmat transportation; methods to enhance security; and ways to recognize and respond to possible security threats.

Due to strong opposition from the industry in filed comments, the agency dropped the portion of the proposal that hazmat carriers be required to keep a copy of their current registration certificates in each vehicle used to transport hazmat. Similarly, the agency also dropped the proposal that shipping papers include names and addresses of consignors and consignees, along with the DOT hazmat registration number of the person offering the shipment.

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