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Shipping Hazardous Materials on Military Aircraft

Materials and substances are classified as hazardous when they pose a serious risk to health, safety, and property. When released in sufficient quantities, hazardous materials may be flammable, explosive, poisonous, or otherwise toxic. Preparing hazardous material for shipping requires specialized training and certification to comply with regulations, avoid accidents, and protect people and the environment.

HAZMAT violations can stem from deliberate action or unintentional accidents. A study published in 1993 evaluated a decade's worth of reported incidents involving military HAZMAT shipping via aircraft. From January 1980 to January 1990, there were 239 reported hazardous cargo incidents, the majority of which resulted from fuel spills. Additional incident categories included corrosives, explosives, caustics, acids, and solvents. Many incidents were the result of not draining fuel tanks/engines and incorrectly preparing the cargo manifest.

IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations address preparing and transporting hazardous goods in compliance with regulations, but cargo on military-controlled aircraft requires additional training and certification. The Air Force Manual, AFMAN 24-204, differs in places from IATA regulations. Any worker who handles, prepares, packs, or inspects hazardous material for military air transport must receive AFMAN training. This includes military personnel as well as civilian contractors and all organizations involved in efforts supported by military air transport. AFMAN certification demonstrates that those working with and around hazardous materials possess the necessary skills to ensure safety and security of the aircraft, crew, and passengers.

The skills and provisions covered in an AFMAN training course apply to all branches of the U.S. military when shipping hazardous materials and dangerous goods by military air transport. AFMAN 24-204 is the regulation that governs the transport of hazmat materials entered into the Defense Transportation System. The regulation is known as TM 38-250 in the Army, NAVSUP PUB 505 in the Navy, MCO P4030.191 in the Marine Corps, and DLAI 4145.3 for the Defense Logistics Academy. While the regulation name changes according to the military branch, the content of the regulation does not.

Workers needing certification may complete AFMAN training online as a convenient alternative to in-person courses. In addition to preliminary certification, all HAZMAT personnel must complete recurrent training classes at 24-month intervals. When students complete online training courses with Compliance Training Online, they will have immediate access to a printable training certificate. This, along with a printable wallet card, demonstrates that all required personnel are compliant with training standards.

Whether at home or across the globe, the military is responsible for the safe transport of hazardous materials on a daily basis. Successful completion of this course enables workers to safely prepare hazardous material for shipping, including all necessary documentation, labeling requirements, and awareness of security risks related to military HAZMAT transport. Online AFMAN certification ensures that those who work with hazardous materials have the up-to-date information necessary to protect themselves, others, and the world.



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