Forklift operators transport hazardous materials daily. Forklifts are used in chemical manufacturing plants as well as other hazardous locations. Accidents and spills occur. Workers need to be aware of these hazards and how to avoid exposures. All employers with hazardous chemicals in their workplaces must prepare and implement a written hazard communication program, and ensure that all containers are labeled, employees are provided access to Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs), and an effective training program is conducted for all potentially exposed employees. They must also ensure that only properly authorized powered industrial trucks enter hazardous locations and that these locations are posted.
Department of Transportation (DOT)
DOT Hazardous materials regulations are subdivided by function into four basic areas:
OSHA's HAZWOPER Standard
OSHA's HAZWOPER standard, 29 CFR 1910.120, covers emergency response personnel who respond to the incident. If the operator of the vehicle becomes actively involved in an emergency response, then he/she is considered an emergency responder and is covered by 29 CFR 1910.120(q).
Several agencies have overlapping authorities for regulating shipments of radioactive materials. DOT regulates the shipment of hazardous materials, including radioactive materials. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) regulates commercial activities at nuclear power plants. The Department of Energy (DOE) ships commercial radioactive waste for storage and defense nuclear waste and weapons for storage or use. DOE and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) share responsibility for transportation of hazardous waste or radioactive and hazardous-waste mixtures generated at facilities operated by DOE under the authority of the Atomic Energy Agency (AEA).
The following is an overview of the major laws enacted, regulations, training requirements, and other resources:
General Industry (29 CFR 1910)
Shipyard Employment (29 CFR 1915)
Construction Industry (29 CFR 1926)
OSHA Directives: Instructions to OSHA staff
OSHA Enforcement Standard Interpretations
EPA, OSHA, and DOT each have separate training rules, but there is often overlap among the various requirements. OSHA's goal is to reduce worker injury and illness. DOT requires all employees who handle or transport hazardous materials to receive general awareness, function-specific, and safety training. EPA training focuses on eliminating the release of pollutants and wastes, both on and off site.
The following are OSHA's major training statutes related to the shipping of hazardous materials:
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