Hauling hazardous materials (HAZMAT) takes special skill and care. Unfortunately, each year, the Department of Transportation catches many companies taking this responsibility too lightly. In this blog, we’ll be looking at five of the most common violations they cite. Make sure your fleet is prepared before problems can arise in your organization.
Violation No. 1: Improper Securement
The first, and most common, is that the package is not properly secured. This can be dangerous not only for the people transporting the package but also for anyone who may come into contact with it.
One example of how improper securement can go wrong when hauling HAZMAT materials is if the package falls off the truck and leaks its contents onto the road. This can create hazardous driving conditions and also contaminate the surrounding environment.
Another example is if the package is not properly labeled and someone attempts to open it, not realizing that it contains hazardous materials. This could result in serious injury or death.
Violation No. 2: Not Carrying Appropriate Documentation
The second violation, having no copy of the DOT Hazmat Registration number, can also be dangerous. This number is used to identify the package and its contents so that if there is an emergency, responders will know how to handle the situation.
Not having the HAZMAT registration number could lead to responders not knowing how to properly handle an emergency situation involving the material. This could lead to further danger for both the responders and anyone else nearby.
Not having the HAZMAT registration number could also lead to fines or other penalties if the material is mishandled in any way. This could end up costing the driver or company a lot of money, especially if it results in criminal or civil penalties.
Violation No. 3: Poor Shipping Paper Access
The third violation, a problem with the shipping paper accessibility, can also lead to problems. Shipping papers for hazardous materials typically look like a standard form with various check boxes, labels, and signature lines.
Drivers are required to keep them in a visible and easily accessible location in the event of an emergency. Not having them readily accessible can lead to dangerous consequences, as first responders may not know how to handle an emergency situation involving the package. It is therefore important for drivers to keep these papers in a safe and easily accessible place.
Violation No. 4: HAZMAT Shipping Papers Are Not In Order
The fourth violation, shipping papers that are not in order, can also cause problems. When we say “the shipping papers are not in order,” it means that the documents that are used to track and identify a package’s contents are not complete or up-to-date.
There are a few steps that drivers must take to ensure their paperwork is in order. Firstly, they must have an accurate manifest that lists all of the hazardous materials inside the package.
Secondly, the packaging must be clearly labeled with the correct hazard class and UN number. Finally, the driver must carry a copy of the hazardous materials declaration form, which lists all of the risks associated with transporting the package.
If a package’s paperwork is not in order, it can be difficult to track it or understand its contents in case of an emergency. This can, again, lead to dangerous situations if emergency responders do not know what they are dealing with. It is therefore important to make sure that your shipping papers are always up-to-date and complete.
Violation No. 5: Damaged or Obscured Placards
Finally, the fifth violation, a damaged or obscured placard, can also be dangerous. Damaged or obscured placards can be dangerous because they provide information about the package to anyone who might be affected by such an emergency.
A placard is a sign that is placed on a vehicle or package that indicates the hazard level of the material being transported. Placards are usually found on the sides and rear of a vehicle. They are diamond-shaped and have a white background with a red border.
Not carrying the appropriate documentation, poor shipping paper access, HAZMAT shipping papers that are not in order, and damaged or obscured placards, are all issues to be mindful of if you’re a driver or fleet manager.
Violations like these can lead to dangerous and financially catastrophic consequences for both the driver and anyone else nearby. Be alert, and take steps to avoid the fallout.
And keep J&A Fleet Services‘ number handy if you’re traveling throughout the Greater Chicago area, from the Windy City to Ottawa, Joliet, and the surrounding areas. We can respond in an instant whether you’re in a densely populated area or in smaller locations such as Lacon, Henry, or Chenoa.