Every day about 800,000 shipments of hazardous materials are moving through
Commonly known as hazmat, hazardous materials are an important issue for the trucking and transportation business; and even for the federal government. But what is the hazardous material?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) considers hazmat carcinogens, toxics agents, irritants, corrosives, sensitizers, combustibles, explosive chemicals, flammable, oxidizers, pyrophorics and reactive materials. In the case of trucking companies, the Department of Transportation (DOT) is the proper institution to rule hazardous material and its hauling.
Hauling hazmat is a delicate work. Truck drivers are instructed to make special maneuvers such as stopping at least 15 feet and no more than 50 feet from the nearest track.
The topic has taken a political side after the September 11th attacks. Trucks with hazardous freight were included in the possible targets of terrorists.
The requirements to get hazardous material endorsements are now greater and better enforced. Although the procedure to get a CDL and the proper hazmat endorsements is different for each state, the general rules were re- defined by the government.
New requirements were created by the US Patriot Act and administrated by the DOT Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to avoid a terrorist taking control of one of these trucks.