Posts Tagged ‘DOT hazmat’

7 Safety Pitfalls in Your Parts Department

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

How would your Parts Department fare today, if you received a safety inspection? Our engineers have found 7 common areas where things go wrong. Some are pretty easy to spot, but some are less obvious. Let’s take a look at a few:

1) Unsafe storage on shelves 
If you have sprinkler heads in your Parts Department, make sure items stored on the top shelf don’t obstruct the sprinkler heads. If you don’t have sprinkler heads, keep two feet of clearance between the roof and the top shelf of your storage.

2) Electrical panels
Make sure you have at least three feet of clearance around all sides of your electrical panels. You may want to use caution tape, or something similar, to mark the area that must stay clear.

3) Batteries
Do you have used or warranty batteries stored in the Parts Department? Most dealers do. Make sure that they are in containers that eliminate battery acid spill on the ground. It’s also best to have baking soda on hand to make sure that any acid spills can be quickly neutralized.

4) DOT hazardous materials training
DOT training is required and due every three years. This applies to your Parts Department if they ship any kind of hazardous materials like seat belt pretensioners or air bag modules.

Want to guess what the other 3 pitfalls are?… There are also numerous hazards related to light bulbs, upstairs storage areas and forklifts.

To get more information on all these safety pitfalls, watch KPA’s 3 minute video.

You Can’t Teach a Young Dog With Old Tricks

Friday, July 15th, 2011

Here’s what you already know: technology is intrinsic for most Gen Y workers. Furthermore, for most of them, a day isn’t complete without texting, facebook, twitter, foursquare, or other information stream of choice.

According to a new poll from Public Policy Polling, this daily technology immersion changes the way a young person learns. You can reach them more effectively through a training program that speaks to their basic learning needs.

Trainer’s Takeaways:

  • Get mobile, and think outside the classroom. Young workers value location freedom. They prefer learning through hand-held mobile devices or laptops.
  • Keep training sessions short, or give frequent breaks. For all age groups, the first 15 minutes and last 5 are the most retained. If you can’t shorten the session, arrange it so that important information is covered during these learning windows.
  • Interaction is king. The more interactive the training is, the more engaged the young students will be. Remember Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences? It holds true for this generation, and using multiple channels to reach your audience  training exercises.

These findings don’t mean that young workers don’t want to learn. The findings only indicate that a little accommodation  strengthens your training program by reaching students through their preferred learning style.

The Disclaimer:
By nature, polls can only measure general trends. There are exceptions to every generalization, and some of them may be working at your dealership.

The Training Challenge:
The bottom line is that your safety programs are not effective if your students are tuning out during an important presentation. Small accommodations go a long way, especially if you’re noticing behavioral trends in your employees that mirror findings from this poll.

The complete poll, titled “Corporate Voices National Worker Surve” is available here:

How To Ship Recalled Airbags

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

Airbags contain hazardous materials. Requirements for commercial shipping of these materials vary depending on if your parts department will ship the airbags by ground or air.

Ground Shipments

  • Dealerships are required to provide DOT hazardous materials training for any employees involved with the activity of shipping airbags (or other DOT Hazardous materials such as batteries, lubricants, cleaners, additives, paint, etc.,)

Air Shipments

  • Shipping Hazardous Materials by air is inherently much more dangerous than ground transportation and involves more training, preparation and precautions.
  • Domestic shipments of hazardous materials require training that has an air shipment section that is DOT compliant as well as satisfying carrier specific requirements.
  • For international shipments air carriers are only able to accept hazardous materials packaged in conformance with the International Air Transport Association’s Dangerous Goods Regulations (IATA DGR).
  • To meet IATA DGR standards, any employees involved with the activity of shipping hazardous materials are required to maintain current IATA certification which takes at least 3 days of training to complete.

KPA recommends that all clients should review DOT certified employee status:

  • make sure that you have an adequate number of employees certified to cover all shifts where shipping and receiving activities occur, and that only certified employees engage in these activities;
  • ensure that all certifications remain current – certification is valid for 3 years, at which time employees must be recertified.
  • weigh the FAA audit risk and additional certification time and cost vs. the time savings in air shipment of hazmat.
  • Watch this 2 minute video “Air Shipping Protocols Auto Dealers Need To Know” also available at


Clients with additional questions on DOT hazmat certification, FAA investigations, and IATA certification are encouraged to contact their KPA engineer.

MSDS Gone Wild!

Friday, November 19th, 2010

“Oh no! We have a serious problem. The plant office manager ran into my office with a frantic look of panic on her face. The company safety inspectors are here and they want to see an MSDS on the Wite-Out. What will we do?”

Although this article written by Greg Klima titled “MSDS Gone Wild!” never explains if you really do need an material data safety sheet (MSDS) on Wite-Out, it’s a side of hazard communication that you don’t see too often, and it’s an interesting insight into an alarming scenario.

The story plays out like this: you are scrambling through your binders or your MSDS database of chemicals (just like about a thousand other safety professionals do every year when safety professionals show up). You are panicking because you have been taught to believe that you need an MSDS on every chemical in your facility, including Sally’s mayonnaise packets, Timmy’s aspirin, and Billy’s cosmetic dental floss, and the author’s advice while this hectic scenario plays out is to:


It’s true that the purpose of the hazard communication standard is meant to set rules to inform employees of risks which they are exposed to when working with potentially hazardous chemicals, but while the intentions of this basic rule of haz-com makes us keep our binders and databases updated in the event of an emergency or a facility audit, we have perhaps become almost too good at this practice. We now may have MSDS on items we don’t necessarily need to have them for – the truth is we do not need to have an MSDS on every single chemical in our facility. Once we determine which items not to worry about keeping on file, the easier it may be to maintain records. It’s that simple.

When Do I Not Need an MSDS?

If you check OSHA’s 29 CFR 1910.1200, you’ll see that OSHA is very specific about exceptions to its application and scope. MSDS are only one form of hazard communication. Two additional ways to inform employees about potential risks include container labeling and employee training. Other details include what chemicals are exempt from this rule (29 CFR 1910.1200(b)) and which categories of hazardous chemicals do not apply (29 CFR 1910.1200(b)(6)).  Knowing what to be worried about now might save you some fretting in the future.

At KPA, we can help you maintain and update your facility’s MSDS database and chemical inventory as well as provide training and expert advice to help you support a safe and healthy workplace. With seven EHS services, we can help you comply with DOT and MSDS and hazard communication requirements all the way up to a complete environmental, health, and safety program. Each KPA service consists of a combination of online software, on-site services, function-specific training, and expert consulting necessary for a complete compliance program. Contact us to learn what level of support is right for your business.

New DOT HazMat Rule Goes into Effect October 1

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

Rule Summary

Starting on October 1, 2010 the Department of Transportation will begin enforcing a revised Hazardous Materials transportation rule. This rule amends the Hazardous Materials Regulations to clarify requirements for using a third-party 24 hour emergency number. In order for the emergency response operator to be able to link the materials you are shipping to your MSDSs and other emergency response information, the DOT is requiring that identifying information for your facility is listed on the shipping papers.

What you need to do

For most facilities, compliance with the new rule will be fairly straight forward. KPA recommends you take both of the steps below to ensure your materials are easily identified in case of an accident. However, to be in compliance you should ensure at least one of the following is listed in close proximity to the 24 hour emergency number:

  1. Your facility name is clearly identified on the shipping papers.
  2. Your 24 hour emergency number provider account number is printed on the shipping papers.

For example, to ensure the highest level of compliance, if your facility name is not listed elsewhere, you should list the following in the description section of the shipping paper:

Your Facility Name, 24 hour number, Acct#

If you have additional questions on this regulatory change or DOT hazmat regulations in general, talk with your current DOT hazmat provider to understand the upcoming changes in regulation.

For additional information, here is an electronic version of the 2008 Emergency Response Guidebook.

By Peter Zaidel and Wendy Hudson

Who needs DOT training?

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

Sounds like a simple question and you would expect a simple answer, doesn’t it? Yet, the reality is that many employees and employers alike don’t know the answer. Or worse, because they cannot readily find the answer, they assume they don’t need it. Unfortunately, in many cases they are required by DOT to have training.

Let’s review a few definitions and requirements.

Question: what defines a “hazmat employee”?

Answer: a hazmat employee is a person who is employed by a hazmat employer and who in the course of employment directly affects hazardous materials transportation safety. This term includes an individual, including a self-employed individual, employed by a hazmat employer who, in the course of employment: (1) Loads, unloads, or handles hazardous materials; (2) Manufactures, tests, reconditions, or repairs, modifies, marks, or otherwise represents containers, drums, or packages as qualified for use in the transportation of hazardous materials; (3) Prepares hazardous materials for transportation; (4) Is responsible for safety of transporting hazardous materials; or (5) Operates a vehicle used to transport hazardous materials.

Question: who needs DOT hazmat training?

Answer: all hazmat employees require training including the following: (1) General awareness/familiarization training, and (2) Function-specific training.

Question: when and how often do I need training?

Answer: Initial training by a new hazmat employee, or a hazmat employee who changes job functions must be completed within 90 days after employment or a change in job function. Recurring training is required at least once every three years.

Check out the DOT regulations for the 49 CFR, Part 172, Subpart H regulations or the website of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for a less formal and more readable explanation.