HAZMAT Certification

What Is HAZMAT Certification? 

In order to transport or work with hazardous materials, many communities and businesses have laws or policies and procedures that require workers to hold a valid HAZMAT certification. Some certifications must be renewed every year, while others are valid for several years before the renewal process must be  started. How soon a certification expires often relates to how dangerous the item happens to be. In particular, if you wish to transport HAZMAT items on roadways, the government requires you to hold certification in the specific items being transported.

How Important Is HAZMAT Certification?

In the United States, new employees who will be transporting hazardous goods must receive their certification within 90 days of employment. If this certification is not obtained, the employer is liable for a $75,000 fine per day, per violation. This means if just three employees are 1 week late in getting their certification, the employer will have a mandatory fine of over $1 million.

There isn’t just one form of HAZMAT certification either. There are various levels of training that are required for the different kinds of dangerous goods that you’ll be working around or transporting. For many, the basic HAZPOWER training that is provided by OSHA is satisfactory for completion on an international level. You may find, however, that local communities also have specific regulations that must be met.

What Other HAZMAT Certifications Are There?

Outside of the basic certification courses, there are a number of different opportunities for people to obtain advanced HAZMAT training. This training is often necessary for specific jobs, but can also give someone an advantage during the hiring process. You might consider obtaining:

  • a HAZMAT supervisor credential,
  • a FRO [First Responder Officer] credential, or
  • a Level II FRO credential.

You must hold one of these certifications in order to perform advanced work with hazardous goods or be able to transport specific items. In general, the more dangerous the item, the higher level of HAZMAT certification you’re going to need. A basic certification, for example, may teach you not to mix bleach and ammonia. You may need a more advanced class, however, on how to properly protect yourself from asbestos, which is known to cause the deadly cancer mesothelioma.

Is HAZMAT Certification Right For You?

Most jobs today require at least some knowledge of hazardous materials. Most janitorial positions utilize at least one HAZMAT item in their cleaning process, which means even if you’re not working directly with the substance, you need to be aware of the reactions it may cause and how to treat an exposure.

Does that mean everyone should just go out and get their HAZMAT certification? That isn’t always necessary. Some jobs have greater exposure levels than others. Although it is always better to be safe instead of sorry, there are some general guidelines to follow that will help you recognize whether or not you need to obtain certification.

Should you get your HAZMAT certification? To discover if your job duties meet the general guidelines, click here.