8 Crucial Hazmat Transportation Best Practices

In 2019 there were over 20,000 total hazmat transportation incidents. These resulted in almost 200 injuries and 6 deaths. Transporting hazardous materials can be dangerous, but only when done the wrong way.

Following these 8 hazmat transportation best practices will ensure that your company avoids accidents caused by hazardous materials. That way your business can continue to preserve life and property.

1. Label Hazardous Materials

Government agencies such as The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Department of Transportation have specific labeling guidelines for hazardous materials. 

Make sure to use these guidelines at all times. Most trucks have spots for a hazardous materials placard. Not labeling a shipment that contains hazardous materials isn’t only dangerous, it is also illegal.

There are all different classes of hazardous materials with corresponding hazardous materials placards. Make sure your company stays in compliance by labeling hazmat properly when transporting them.

2. Transport Hazmat Correctly

Different hazmat requires different kinds of handling, containers, and transportation methods. The standards that apply to the transportation of nuclear waste may be different than those pertaining to a corrosive acid.

Whether your hazmat is solid, liquid or gas has a lot to do with its transportation options. Some hazmat needs storage areas kept at a specific temperature or needs a specific type of container.

Make sure to research the hazmat you are transporting before sending it along on your supply chain. Also keep in mind that you cannot transport some hazmat by either air, land, or sea.

Do your research about your specific hazmat before shipping it to avoid breaking any laws or putting any human lives in danger.

3. Find a Hazmat Transportation Specialist

Transporting hazmat is one situation in which you do not want to cut corners or pinch pennies. By trying to skimp on quality to save a bit of cash, you could end up costing your company money or lives.

Find a courier that specializes in hazmat transportation. Make sure that they are a hazmat certified trucking company to avoid any legal discrepancies. 

They should also have commercial hazmat truck insurance and experience in handling hazardous materials. Also, you should make sure that your courier is in full compliance with hazmat transport regulations.

Once you have found someone that fits the bill, you can begin to trust them with all of your hazmat needs. Don’t take the easy way out on this one.

4. Have an Emergency Plan

If the worst should happen during your hazmat transportation experience, will your people be ready? Planning and preparing for accidents and emergencies can save lives and property.

Make sure that your people can deal with hazardous material and understand what to do if an accident should occur. 

Because of the volatile nature of hazardous material, anybody working around them or transporting them should have a basic understanding of what to do if disaster strikes.

5. Invest in PPE

If dealing with hazardous materials is a common part of your business’s role in the marketplace, investing in PPE is crucial. Some laws mandate having the right personal protective equipment.

It not only helps your people stay healthy from daily exposure but also prevents them from harm if the worst should happen. From respirators to gloves, to full-body hazmat suits, many kinds of PPE are available.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA has many resources and guides that relate to proper PPE and the workplace. Make sure to use these as a framework for any hazardous material transportation.

6. Use Safety Data Sheets

Every piece of hazardous material transported should have a corresponding safety data sheet. This is also known as an OSHA Quick Card. The law requires you to have one.

The SDS contains various vital information about hazardous materials. It incorporates basic information such as the identification of the substance itself. It also identifies its specific hazards such as corrosive properties. 

It includes first aid measures, storage standards, and other important information. Make sure to fill out your SDS completely and be ready to supply them to authorities in the event of an inspection.

7. Store Hazmat the Right Way

Your hazardous materials are not always in the process of being transferred to a different location. Before and after transportation they need proper storage facilities.

You should store hazmat in ventilated, dry areas with constant temperatures. You should avoid subjecting them to extreme heat or cold. Make sure to have the appropriate storage containers for each type of hazardous material.

Make sure the storage facilities you select are not prone to fire or water damage. They should also be structurally secure and should not be built in areas prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes or tsunamis. 

8. Keep It Clean

Cleanliness is one of the most important aspects of hazmat transportation. A bit of grime or a smudge on a label can make a big difference if calamity strikes.

Make sure that all areas housing hazmat are kept clean and orderly. Make sure that the same is true of their containers and any vehicles that are transporting them.

Hazmat can often be volatile or dangerous. This makes it all the more important to approach them with a clean and orderly approach. The more precise you are now, the more prepared you will be if something goes wrong.

Keeping the work area and transportation equipment in which your hazmat is housed clean ensures that even the most dangerous of materials will be handled with care.

Be Safe With Your Hazmat Transportation

Having a safe hazmat transportation strategy is the difference between a functioning branch of logistics and utter tragedy. Avoid calamity by implementing all 8 of these tips.

When transporting your hazmat, contact Patriot Freight Group to ensure the job gets done right. That way, you can rest easy knowing that your hazardous materials were transported in the safest way possible.