Training to Handle Hazardous Materials

Written by Small Business Magazine on December 30, 2018. Posted in Army hazmat training, Dot hazmat training, Dot training course

Not all cargo being transported in trucks, ships, or airplanes are totally inert or harmless, and some materials that are used daily in a factory, refinery, or other workplace may in fact be hazardous materials, and hazmat certification and hazmat training are standard prerequisites for handling these materials to prevent incidents of injury or damage to property. Any worker who will transport, load, or unload hazardous waste in confined spaces will need the know-how to handle these materials without danger, and this means a hazmat training course should be taken. Preventing disaster means understanding the nature of any hazardous material as well as wearing the right protective material and using the right operating procedure for handling all hazardous materials, whether solid, liquid, or gas. Agencies such as OSHA and many others may also offer online IATA courses and more so that workers can become certified to safely handle these materials. After all, hazardous materials are more common in the American work force than some may realize, and they make up a fair amount of all cargo that is transported every year. A hazmat training course will help keep everyone and everything safe during the day’s work.

The Materials

A lot of goods are transported across the United States each year, and trucks deliver a generous portion of these items and materials. Every year, around 11 billion tons of freight is shipped across 250 billion miles across the United States, and of all this cargo, about three billion tons is what can be considered hazardous materials. It has also been found that nearly 94% of all hazmat shipments are done via truck, so a hazmat training course may be common among truck operators and the crews who handle their cargo before and after a delivery.

What exactly are these hazardous materials? Flammable liquids are among the most common hazardous materials, such as oil and gasoline. Among all hazardous materials transported in the U.S., oil makes up 86.4% of the total by value and 85.4% by weight. Such liquids may ignite and catch fire or even explode if exposed to heat, flames, or sparks, and their canisters should not be ruptured or damaged under and circumstances if a safe workplace is to be maintained. A lot of oil is shipped out of Texas in particular, and Texas truck drivers may often have completed a hazmat training course.

Other dangerous materials may include liquid nitrogen, which is extraordinarily cold and can cause great harm to people or property on contact, and is often transported by trucks specially designed for it. Another such material is dry ice, or frozen carbon dioxide. It will certainly not explode or catch fire, but it is very cold and can damage skin and flesh on contact, and it can sublimate, or transition directly from a solid to a gas, and the carbon dioxide gas is a serious breathing hazard. Nuclear or radioactive waste are also highly hazardous materials.

Safety

Requirements for handling hazardous waste will include completing a hazmat training course, whether online or in person, and always observing the rules and guidelines that such training established for the workplace. These courses will outline the nature and properties of various hazardous wastes and the right way to load or unload them from vehicles, as well as how to put them in or out of their containers and what to do in case of a spill or leak. Being safe around hazardous materials will also mean having the right gear. For unsafe fumes or airborne particles, a worker will have respiratory protection ranging from a surgical mask all the way to a gas mask or even a breathing apparatus with its own oxygen supply. Protecting the skin from hazardous materials may call for thick gloves and boots, and sometimes even a full-body suit to protect all skin and flesh from the hazardous materials. Any damaged, worn out, or missing equipment like gloves, goggles, or gas masks should be sent in for repairs at once, and only safety gear in good condition should ever be used around hazardous materials so that everyone can stay safe at the workplace. A work site should always have enough safety items on hand for all workers who will need them.

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