If you are facing a hazmat penalty investigation or have received a Notice of Probable Violation or Letter of Investigation from the FAA or DOT we can help.Schedule a Consultation
Penalty mitigation isn’t just about negotiation, it’s about corrective action, and so many people who are faced with penalties don’t know what they don’t know. TDG will go in and meet with the client, conduct training and provide operational audits and process analysis. This can be part of your response to the authorities to show good faith and meaningful corrective action to reduce the likelihood of a recurring violation. If you can convince the authorities that you’ve taken significant action throughout your organization in response to this investigation, it goes a long way towards the potential reduction in penalties.
What To Do
If you do receive a Notice of Probable Violation it is so important that you take action immediately — that very same day you get a notice from the authorities saying that they’re “looking into” a possible violation. Don’t be lulled into complacency because the agent says “oh, we’re just putting a few facts together”. While the agents are honest, and not trying to deceive anyone, sometimes it’s out of their control and handed over to the government attorneys. Many shippers are surprised after a visit with a Special Agent that they get a Notice of Probable Violation or notice of Proposed Civil Penalty weeks or months later by registered mail.
Plan of Action
- Review the circumstances around the incident and create a timeline of events (for internal reference).
- We review the violation to ensure it comports with the DOT and FAA penalty guidelines.
- Examine any mitigating circumstances and build that into the response.
- We usually create a policies and procedures manual or document for the client to demonstrate to the DOT or FAA some of the actions that have taken place.
- Conduct general awareness and familiarization training for as many people in the company who could potentially be involved with a hazardous materials shipment so that they are able to recognize dangerous goods.
- Set up in-depth function specific training for those people involved in hazmat shipping.
- Create a shipping guide for each hazmat product that could be shipped showing how the package is to be packed, marked, labeled and documented.
Jim Powell, our company President, has worked on numerous penalty cases with the DOT over the past 15 years and works with corporate counsel and outside law firms. We have handled penalty cases for some very large corporations (Annual revenues over $1 billion dollars) and in recent years, many penalty cases involving lithium battery violations.