Keller Heckman | DOT to Exercise Enforcement Discretion Regarding Noncompliance with Certain Hazmat Training Requirements


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As the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak continues to cause unprecedented disruptions to normal business practices, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has indicated that for the next 90 days it will not be taking enforcement action against any offeror or carrier of hazardous materials (hazmat) for failure to comply with the recurrent DOT hazmat training requirements of 49 CFR § 172.704(c)(2). [1] The enforcement discretion is intended to minimize disruptions in the supply-chain and will be exercised by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), PHMSA, and the United States Coast Guard (USCG).

Under the DOT hazardous materials regulations (HMR), hazmat employers, i.e., persons/companies that use one or more employees in connection with transporting hazmats in commerce, causing hazmats to be transported or shipped in commerce, or representing, marking, selling, certifying, offering, manufacturing, etc., packaging as qualified for use in transporting hazmats, must provide DOT hazmat training to their hazmat employees (see 49 CFR § 171.8 for full definitions of hazmat employer and hazmat employee). The training obligation also extends to certain self-employed individuals and government workers.

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