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Hazmat training instructor requirements

Hazardous materials (hazmat) training instructors are required to develop training programs that include all facets of hazmat training as specified in Hazardous Materials Regulation 172.704. The types of training required include: general awareness, function-specific, safety, security awareness and in-depth training.

Trainers must also include assessments as part of the training program. With the exception of those covered under Federal Aviation Administration regulations, hazmat trainers are not required to undergo instructional training or certification.

Provide Required Training

Hazmat trainers are required to provide training to all hazmat employees in four areas: general awareness, function-specific, safety and security awareness. For employees who work under or develop the company's security plan, the trainer must also provide in-depth security training. This security training must include instruction on security objectives, procedures and organizational structure, along with employee responsibilities and security breach response.

General awareness training provides hazmat employees with information on overall hazmat requirements and how to identify hazardous materials. Function-specific training covers hazmat instruction that is specific to the employee's job duties. Safety training must focus on accident avoidance and response.

Security awareness teaches all hazmat employees how to recognise and respond to security threats during the transportation of hazardous materials. Assessments in these areas are also required by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) regulations.

Format, Testing and Certification

While the trainer is required to provide training in specific areas to all hazmat employees, regulations do not require any particular curriculum, format, materials or even that the hazmat employees pass a test. The instructor is also not responsible for certifying the employee; this is the employer's responsibility--unless, of course, the employer and instructor are the same.

In addition, the hazmat training instructor is not required to undergo any instructor training or certification. According to regulations, even self-training is allowable, provided the required content areas are covered.


Although the Department of Transportation and the PHMSA--the authorities over hazmat training--do not require instructors be certified, they do recommend that trainers be knowledgeable about hazmat training regulations as they pertain to the company; have experience as a hazmat employee; have the competency to develop and manage a training program and the ability to keep up to date on regulation changes.