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DOT Hazardous Material (Hazmat) & IATA Dangerous Goods (DG) Training Requirements

Last Updated On July 02, 2019

Many employers and employees of companies shipping dangerous goods by air have questions about who needs to be trained, what training is required and how often do employees need training.  We will address all of these questions below.

Who regulates dangerous goods (DG)/hazardous material (Hazmat) training requirements?

In the United States (US), the US Department of Transportation (DOT) regulates training as per the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 49 (49 CFR), Part 172.702.  Also, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) puts forth industry training requirements for DG by air in the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulation (DGR).

Who needs to be hazmat trained and certified?

Anyone identified by the US DOT as a “Hazmat Employee” must be periodically trained and tested.  A Hazmat Employee is any person who directly affects the safety of a Hazmat/DG shipment in commerce.  See our Knowledge Base Article for more details on the US DOT training requirements.

Who is responsible for training and actually certifies their Hazmat Employees?

In the United States, only the employer is allowed to certify their employees once they have done the appropriate competency assessments of their personnel.  An employer can use an outside vendor’s training to help fulfill those responsibilities or other training methods to ensure that they are meeting their function-specific training requirements by providing specific task-oriented training and assessments relative to the actual job of the employee. 

How do I become dangerous goods certified?

Transportation Development Group (TDG) has a variety of online programs offering complete modal certification (air, highway, ocean) or function-specific certification (lithium batteries, radioactive materials, infectious substances & more).  All of these will provide you with what you need to comply with the US DOT’s four training requirements which include: (1) General Awareness Training; (2) Security Awareness Training; (3) Safety Training; and (4) Function Specific Training as well as meeting carrier requirements (like DHL, FedEx, UPS).

How do I obtain IATA certification?

Our online IATA Air Shipping Certification training program is based upon the IATA/ICAO regulations and meets all the US DOT & IATA certification requirements. 

How long are the various modal training certifications good for and how often do I need to renew my IATA certification?

Recurrent training is required every three years for DOT (highway) and IMDG (ocean) regulations, and every two years for IATA (air).  

Even though three years is the US DOT recurrent training requirement for all modes of transport, IATA requires recurrent training every two years. 

Why does IATA require training every two years?

IATA is a private industry trade association and cannot write any laws.  However, the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR) have been around for over 50 years, and they are ingrained in the air transportation community as “the law.”  Actually, the DGR is a representation of the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) Technical Instructions for the Safe Transportation of Dangerous Goods by Air.  IATA has added many “airline rules” over time, and the industry has adopted them as “the law” – or at least as a regulatory standard.  Essentially, all the airlines are IATA members; so whether they are domestic and/or international carriers, they all subscribe to it.

Consequently, if you don’t train according to the IATA DGR air regulations every two years, you are violating IATA’s rules.  This means that you cannot be fined by the DOT, but – technically – you can have your shipments rejected by any IATA member (as mentioned, all the airlines are members).  For example, from what we have been told, some carriers require a special contract addendum for all their customers who ship dangerous goods which is conferred by allowing you to use their DG shipping software.  By that agreement, they require that your staff be trained every two years as per the industry standard. 

In the end, it is really up to the employer. 

How do I obtain an IATA certificate?

At the successful completion of each training program, the student will receive a certificate which the employer needs to countersign and keep as part of their training records.

Do I need to keep the certificates on file somewhere?

The Hazmat Employer must retain complete records of dangerous goods training including tests and certificates.  See our Knowledge Base Article regarding “recordkeeping.”

Have more questions about what training program is right for you?  Get in touch with us at 800.949.4834 today!

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