Who needs HAZMAT training in the workplace?

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Are you aware that you may have dangerous or hazardous products or goods at your workplace, even when it is not your core business? If so, a HAZMAT awareness type course may be necessary for your safety and the safety of others as well as a legal requirement.

Hazardous materials or dangerous goods come in various states or forms – solids, liquids and gas. These may cause harm to people, living organisms, property or the environment.

The handling, storage and transportation of dangerous goods or hazardous materials (HAZMAT) is regulated by the Hazardous Substances Act 15 of 1973 and several amendments thereto.

The Hazardous Substances Act 15 of 1973 is there:

  • to control any substance that may cause harm, injury or even death to a person;
  • to divide such substances into groups depending on the level of danger;
  • to provide for the prohibition and control of importation, manufacture, disposal and dumping, among other things, of such substances;
  • and any other related matters

What does HAZMAT training mean?

HAZMAT is an abbreviation for “hazardous materials”. These are substances in amounts or forms that could pose a level of risk to people’s health, property, or to the environment. HAZMAT training assists people who work in an environment where they are exposed to these materials in some way, to be able to identify and understand the risk or hazards and how to deal with an incident confidently if it occurs.

Who is a HAZMAT employee?

A HAZMAT employee can be either employed by a hazmat employer or self-employed. During the course of their employment, they are involved in either the direct transportation of hazardous materials through operating a vehicle or preparing the materials for transport; loading, unloading or handling hazardous materials; designing, manufacturing, fabricating or even repairing a container or packaging component that is used in any way for use in transporting hazardous material.


What does a HAZMAT trained employee need to know?

The employee needs to know how to:

  • Identify a hazardous substance as well as what materials or equipment / PPE (a Hazmat suit for example) to use when dealing with an incident;
  • Understand the hazards associated with dangerous goods;
  • The safe handling of flammable substances like petrol, paints and varnishes;
  • Hazmat logistics like scene management and spillage control;
  • Formulating a response and evacuation plan are also included in their training;
  • Hazardous waste disposal including biohazardous waste must be assigned to an approved clean up company

What are the 3 major types of HAZMAT?

There are 9 classes of HAZMAT, ranging from explosives through to flammable liquids and corrosive substances. 3 of the major types of workplace hazardous materials are:

Ignitable Materials: Any substance with a flashpoint “the lowest temperature that produces enough vapour to ignite” in temperatures under 60 degrees C or at room temperature is classified as flammable. Petrol for example has a flash point of -40 degrees C so at room temperature it is extremely volatile. Flammable materials can be in liquid or gaseous form and include gas in pressurised cylinders, paints, solvents, and petrol.

Reactive Materials: Materials that are non-stable and can react with other chemicals or water, causing an explosion. Examples included gun powder and batteries. Batteries may not be discarded in normal waste removal or a drainage sewer system, neither may they be buried in the landfill

Toxic Materials: These materials are commonly referred to as poisons and pose a risk to humans and animals when ingested, absorbed, inhaled, or injected. They can be in the form of solids, liquids, and gases and can cause acute or chronic effects in humans.


What are the benefits of onsite hazardous material training?

Training for hazardous materials is important for companies that deal with dangerous goods or hazardous materials. Onsite training gives the delegates an advantage, especially when a site visit of the facility reveals what is required to mitigate an incident and what preventative or protective procedures are already in place. This type of training is very interactive, and it provides the employees a good understanding and knowledge of what is required in their day to day activities based on their workplace circumstances.

After the attendance and successful completion of one of these courses the employees will be able to advise management on the requirements and be able to put the first line of response in place.

It is highly recommended to have at least one HAZMAT trained staff member on your health and safety team. Suitably trained employees that have done their training through a reputable and accredited company like Absolute Health Services will be able to assist with OHS procedures, practices and equipment requirements.

Absolute Health Services are accredited by the Health & Welfare SETA to offer a 1-day HAZMAT training course. This can be delivered on-site as a workplace course for groups of 8 delegates or more, or delegates can train at one of our training centre venues in Johannesburg, Durban, Port Elizabeth, or Cape Town.

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