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Highlights Of The DOT Focus Group #2 — Chicago

September 7th, 1999 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, HazMat

The second of three meetings being hosted by DOT focused on issues relating to reducing DOT violations, intervention by the DOT and the improvement of compliance to DOT regulations. The response from the audience brought about several significant key issues. It was apparent that the Panel, of which I was a member, believed that better training on every level of hazardous material concerns (classification, package selection, and transport) is the key to improving the system. Most acknowledged that while fines do get the attention of a violator, that most violations are due to ignorance rather then willful acts of negligence. It was suggested that formal audited training programs be required at all levels of hazardous materials issues, rather then some programs being informally self-developed. Though the DOT uses a variety of outreach programs to teach and train, most agreed that enforcement of DOT regulations is the best way to increase compliance. It was also noted that DOT must harmonize all the requirements relating to all modes of hazardous materials shipments for both consumer and commercial movements. For packaging, it was suggested that the DOT needs to take a position with regard to developing minimum specifications for containers. That while the POP standards did lead to creativity, the DOT has an awareness of what packaging combinations are marginal, and they should restrict the manufacture of these design types. Also, it was suggested that the Form 5800 for tracking Hazmat incidents be used to develop POP test requirements. It was noted and agreed that while material handling is the #1 cause for container failure, there is no test in POP that addresses this weakness. Also, it was noted that POP standards are minimum, and that DOT needs to require that other criteria be a part of the package selection process. Factors such as mode of transport, climate and storage conditions were mentioned.

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