Some Key Takeaways from the Labelmaster Dangerous Goods Symposium 11


Hazmat Professionals Need to be Competent

The future standard for hazmat professionals will be competency-based training (CBT).

  • Competency is a set of behaviors built on the components of knowledge, skills, attitudes.
  • Competence is a personal ability in the context of the workplace setting.
  • Competency-based training  refers to a system whereby tasks or competencies are identified to define the content of training. Competency-Based Training may also be known as “Performance-Based Training”, “Criterion-Referenced Training”, “Mastery Learning”, or “Instructional Systems Design”.
  • The steps in competency-based training are: (1) competency identification, (2) determination of competency components and performance levels, (3) competency evaluation, and (4) overall assessment of the process.

See Introduction and Definitions (opens in .PDF) for a basic overview of CBT.

More Hazmat Shipping Changes

Hazmat shippers and carriers should be aware of recent DOT PHMSA updates.

Dr. Robert “Bob” Richard, PhD

  • Relying solely on supplier’s/shipper’s paperwork can lead to problems.
  • Train employees to recognize noncompliant inbound shipments, establish processes for correcting deficiencies, and hold suppliers/shippers accountable.
  • Customize training tailored to employee responsibilities and the products a company ships can be presented in e-learning platforms for more efficient employee training and assessments.
  • There is a Certified Dangerous Goods Professional (CDGP) credential offered by the Institute of Hazardous Materials Management (IHMM).

Dr. Bob’s DOT Audit Advice:

  • Before inspections happen—Designate staff to interact with inspectors, conduct internal compliance assessments and create a centralized file with copies of commonly requested documents.
  • During an inspection—Ask questions, take notes, invite designated employees to an exit briefing with the inspector, and read the exit briefing before you sign it.
  • After the inspection—Determine broader implications of any violations, make sure problems aren’t repeated, and document your improvements. Also, draft a response to any enforcement action.
  • Stay informed. Automated compliance processes are the best way to make inspections rarer and more manageable.

Fight Back!

“Even a dog knows the difference between being kicked and being stumbled over.” Oliver Wendell Holmes

“The US Department of Transportation doesn’t always distinguish between those who intentionally flout hazmat regulations and those who commit violations without the knowledge that they’ve done anything wrong.” Jerry Cox, Esq. and author of Transportation of Hazardous Materials 2016.

Final Thoughts . . .

Day Three of DGS11 (today) deals with  lithium battery consignments and a general Q&A session.

In a nutshell, if you’re dealing with hazmat (and who isn’t, even inadvertently?), know what you are doing, make sure your employees know what they are doing . . . and be prepared to prove it.

Thank you for reading this and much thanks to Labelmaster and all the presenters in the 11th Annual Dangerous Goods Symposium.

Get the FAQs: One of Two Upcoming Can’t Miss (Free) Webinars . . .

In control


Here are two upcoming Webinars, that may be of interest if you are involved in transportation.

Top Driver Qualification FAQs

On Thursday, April 14, 2016, at 11 AM EDT Kathy Close & Daren Hansen of J.J. Keller will present a webinar about Top Driver Qualification FAQs.

J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc. is a privately-held company that was founded in 1953 by John “Jack” Keller. Their mission is to be the first choice for customers looking for assistance in managing risk and regulatory compliance in our primary areas of expertise – Transportation, Industrial/Workplace Safety & Human Resources.

The days of tossing the keys to a new driver and sending them on their way are long gone. Any driver of a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) needs to be qualified and the qualification process documented. These records need to be in a driver qualification (DQ) file. The driver needs to be road tested and a proper background investigation done.

Next week Thursday, join Kathy Close & Daren Hansen as they delve into the some of the top problem areas in qualifying drivers in Top Driver Qualification FAQs.

What to Expect During an FMCSA Compliance Investigation

On Friday, April 15, 2016 at 1:00PM CST, Justin Smoot of Cottingham & Butler will present on What to Expect During an FMCSA Compliance Investigation.

Cottingham & Butler is headquartered in Dubuque, Iowa, employs nearly 700 employees nationwide and is the 35th largest insurance broker. Their mission is to PARTNER with their clients, to PROTECT their most valuable assets, and to BUILD an exceptional company of passionate insurance professionals.

Does the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) still do compliance audits and investigations? They sure do. A DOT audit may last from hours to even weeks. If you have a DOT number and operate in interstate commerce, under certain circumstances, your company could be subject to a DOT compliance audit or investigation. Some states have adopted these federal rules as well.

Next week Friday, join Justin Smoot for his talk about What to Expect During an FMCSA Compliance Investigation.

There should be a brief Q&A session near the end of these webinars to answer additional questions you might have.

Thank you for reading this.

DOT Driver Qualification and Background Checks

Mike Coffey, SPHR

It’s Coffey Time

Not that coffee. Yesterday, Mr. Mike Coffey held his webinar on “DOT Driver Qualifications and Background Checks”

Mike is the president of Imperative Information Group and conducts professional background checks on CDL and CMV drivers for small to medium sized businesses and motor carriers.

Why Background Checks are Important

Your name is on the side of the truck. Any wild or crazy driving reflects badly on you and the other folks you work with and work for. A bad hire can destroy a business.  A bad hire can take down a lot of people with him. Lawsuits, fines, higher insurance are a few of the consequences of a bad hire.

Know the Regulations

To know the regulations, know how a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) is defined:
Parts 382 and 383 — apply to CDL drivers
Parts 390 and 391 — apply to non-CDL drivers (everyone).

Know what a Safety-sensitive function is under Part 382.107. Say a CDL driver fails a DOT drug test and you forbid him from driving. The fact is, until the driver is cleared by a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP), he has no business being around trucks, performing Safety-sensitive functions. Even trucks between 10,001 GVWR and 26,001 GVWR.

Driver Applications: The Three Imperatives

  • The app must be furnished by the motor carrier.
  • The app must be completed by the applicant/ driver.
  • The app must be signed by the driver.

Part 391.21 has a number of driver application requirements that must be followed.

Top Tip: All regulated drivers (even non-CDL) must list all of their previous regulated employers.

Top Tip: CDL drivers should provide a complete employment history for the last 10 years, explaining any periods of unemployment.

Part 391.23(a.) Investigation and inquiries.

Top Tip: First start with a CDLIS check — then get MVRs from respective, required states.

(Some experts even recommend doing CDLIS searches at every annual review.)

Commercial Driver’s License Information System (CDLIS) is a nationwide computer system that shows every license your driver has held in the past three years. From there, ordering required Motor Vehicle Records (MVRs) is easy.

Top Tip: Ask previous employers questions like:

  • Is the drive eligible for rehire?

  • Has the driver ever acted in a threatening or coercive manner?

  • Has the driver ever acted in an unsafe manner?

Know the requirements of the General Confidentiality Rule (49 CFR 40.321)

Top Tip: Get specific written consent from the driver. A mistake is using blanket forms where a driver signs off on a form and it is copied and sent to all previous employers.


49 CFR 40.25 (d) — If feasible, you must obtain and review this information before the employee first performs safety-sensitive functions. If this is not feasible, you must obtain and review the information as soon as possible. However, you must not permit the employee to perform safety-sensitive functions after 30 days from the date on which the employee first performed safety-sensitive functions, unless you have obtained or made and documented a good faith effort to obtain this information.

This means at least two or three documented attempts within the first 30 days of hire.

Mike detailed many other requirements in qualifying new DOT drivers and listed numerous traps and pitfalls.

Here is previous webinar from 2015:

Thank you for reading this.



John Taratuta is a trucking safety advocate and Risk Engineer. (989) 474-9599

Do you know the true cost of fleet ownership?


One of the most difficult task in any business is determining cost. In some cases, it’s only a “best guess.” In other cases, transportation businesses have underestimated cost and provided their services at a loss.

Heavy Duty Trucking magazine and Ryder are offering a free webinar today, “Do you know the true cost of fleet ownership?” To control or allocate costs, they must first be identified.

The presenter is Kirk Morton, Director of Financial Consulting, National Accounts
Ryder. Mr. Morton has worked in the transportation and logistics industry with Ryder for 40 years. He consults with companies in the area of the total cost of operating a private fleet. Mr Morton has a Bachelor Degree in Industrial Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and an MBA in Finance from Georgia State University.

Some of these costs have been illustrated by Ryder in an infographic here.

To learn more or register, click here.

If you have missed this webinar, it is available online here.

Contact Ryder at 1-866-235-6266 or visit Ryder’s blog.

Disclaimer: Reference to any specific product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, company name or otherwise does not constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the authors.

Free Idealease Safety Seminar —Registration is Open


Idealease offers a free one-day Idealsafe Safety Seminar, co-sponsored by the National Private Truck Council (NPTC), to all customers and prospects.


  • 10/7/15 Erie, PA
  • 10/13/15 Toledo, OH
  • 10/14/15 Grand Rapids, MI
  • 10/14/15 Charlotte, NC
  • 10/20/15 Las Vegas, NV
  • 10/21/15 Los Angeles, CA
  • 10/22/15 San Martin, CA

This year’s seminars will focus on basic safety and compliance, regulation changes and of course, CSA. 

For more information, click here.

To register, click here.

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