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DOT Hazmat Certification: Frequently Asked Questions

DOT employees total nearly 55,000 and include several other management and organizations. Some of the most common include the NHTSA, FAA, and PHMSA.

There are several employees that work under DOT and encounter hazardous materials. A DOT HAZMAT certification is required to keep employees and the public safe when moving goods from other states or countries.

If you are a business that deals with transportation, you might wonder about DOT training requirements, how long it takes, and what it includes. These questions about HAZMAT training are common, but it can be challenging to find all the information you need.

At Compliance Training Online, we have compiled a complete list of ten FAQs to review before obtaining your DOT HAZMAT certification.

1. What Is HAZMAT Training?

HAZMAT training includes educational courses on hazardous materials and substances. You may also hear it called "dangerous goods." Hazardous materials are frequently encountered in several fields, such as healthcare, aerospace, construction, laboratory, and more.

While some training goes into workplace safety when handling certain chemicals and substances, another training applies to the Department of Transportation (DOT). Extraordinary care must be taken when transporting dangerous goods to protect employees and the public at large. HAZMAT training includes educational workshops designed for individuals who will encounter and/or directly transport these goods.

2. What Is a DOT HAZMAT Certification?

DOT HAZMAT certification is given following the completion of a certified course. These courses can be taken and completed online. Some of the specific training modules include:

  • Ground carrier shipment requirements
  • Aviation
  • Railroad
  • Waterways
  • Lithium battery shipment
  • And more

Each training course satisfies the requirements from DOT for HAZMAT training. They also help employees who work or handle materials in specific fields like aviation.

3. Who Needs a DOT HAZMAT Course?

DOT HAZMAT training is for employers and employees who encounter hazardous materials during transport. Anyone who packs, labels, or marks hazardous materials must have training.

Other jobs that accept, ship, or load these goods would also apply. DOT encompasses every transport field, including water, ground, rail, and air.

4. Is a HAZMAT Course Required?

In short: yes. DOT HAZMAT training is regulated by the Hazardous Materials Regulation (HMR). Non-compliance with HMR can result in fines and other legal implications.

DOT requires that every employee who meets the criteria above complete initial and refresher DOT HAZMAT courses. Civil penalties are given following an HMR violation. Civil penalties can fluctuate based on the severity of the violation, repeated violations, or the nature of it.

For example, if you have a history of prior offenses, you could accrue as much as a $17,280 fine. Smaller fines start at around $1,728.

5. What Does a HAZMAT Certification Mean?

In this context, "certification" does not give you permission to perform certain jobs.

While electricians need a certification, DOT HAZMAT workers need training and testing. Upon completing testing, you are often given a certification that an employer can keep for the record.

6. Does Online Training Meet DOT HAZMAT Requirements?

Yes, online training sites like Compliance Training Online meet DOT HAZMAT requirements. You will have an allotted amount of time to complete the courses. After, you will receive continuing education credits and a certificate.

7. How Long Does Online DOT HAZMAT Training Take?

The benefit of using online training is that it is widely accessible and more user-friendly. The DOT HAZMAT Safety Awareness, Security and Function Specific course mandates a minimum of three hours to complete it.

You can log on and off as you wish, and it is accessible on any device. On the flip side, there is no maximum amount of time for course completion.

8. Is HAZMAT Retraining Required?

Yes, initial training is required within 90 days of hire. Retraining must be completed every three years. However, it depends on where you work whether you need training more frequently.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) requires retraining every two years, while comprehensive HAZMAT training is every three. Additionally, if you switch positions or jobs, you may need to complete the training again.

9. Why Does Transporting Lithium Batteries Require Additional Training?

If you handle lithium batteries, you may need course-specific material. Lithium batteries are widely prevalent but highly flammable.

Under extreme conditions, they can overheat and combust. The transport of lithium batteries should be from hazardous waste collection points or specialized recycling centers.

10. What Happens if You Work in Two Industries?

There are some employees who work in more than one transportation field. You will also need to meet IATA requirements if working by air or International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) if by sea. General HAZMAT training is a good starting point.

After, you can target task-specific courses that will review specific HMR requirements and guidelines. For example, IMDG courses will also include the following:

  • Cargo inspection
  • Shipping containers
  • Shipping papers
  • Vessel preparation
  • Loading and unloading
  • Electrical requirements
  • Radioactive materials
  • Security
  • And more

These topics are covered more in-depth for maritime workers. It will provide you with insight and training to safely perform your job duty or assist employees in maintaining a safe workspace.

Complete Your DOT HAZMAT Certification

DOT HAZMAT certification helps you and your employees stay safe and reduce public health risks. Transporting dangerous goods increases the chances of hazardous material exposure to extreme temperatures and conditions.

Some of the risks associated with improperly transporting hazardous materials are injury, illness, or death. It is essential that training encompasses function-specific tasks associated with the field you work in, whether it is ground, air, rail, or water.

To help you get started, Compliance Training Online is here to help. Check out our course catalog today and sign up!



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