The transportation of Hazmat materials can be dangerous when done incorrectly, as was the case for a truck driver recently. The entire situation lasted close to 12 hours and left a 15-mile stretch of the interstate shut down in Lee and Charlotte counties. The carrier that the driver worked for was out of Chesterfield, Montana. FHP states that they noticed a foul odor coming from the truck during a traffic stop. Upon further inspection, they noticed something leaking from the rear door. Teams from Fort Myers Fire Department Hazmat, FHP, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Charlotte County Emergency Management and Community Response Team Hazmat, and the Charlotte County Fire/EMS Hazmat all worked on the scene to ensure the roads were safe for travelers. In the end, the containers had to be inspected and offloaded onto a second refrigeration truck.
It was found that the truck was carrying 15,000 pounds of a flammable resin solution: Styrene. It was being carried in various 250-gallon, 3 by 3 foot totes. Styrene is used to make a great variety of things including plastic packaging, insulation, disposable containers and cups, along with many other items. With styrene being used in so many products it is estimated that over 90,000 workers are potentially exposed to it on a regular basis. The effects of such a hazardous material involve the central nervous system. A person who is exposed to the material may have headaches, dizziness, confusion, feelings of intoxication, drowsiness, fatigue and difficulty concentrating. For these reasons and more, the DOT is cracking down on hazmat regulation violations, notably repeat offenders.
Staying Hazmat compliant is of the utmost importance, you don’t want to end up like the company and trucker in the case above. They will be facing endless fines and code violations after this incident. Some things to keep in mind are:
- Determine the type of shipment method (ground, domestic air, international air, domestic water, international water, or rail)
- Have appropriate paperwork for the mode of transport
- Determine the hazard level of the substance
- Only allow employees with the appropriate training to handle Hazmat shipments
- Stay up to date with Hazmat regulations and penalties
- Do thorough checks throughout the loading process
Hazmat Regulation Violations
The most likely violation that happened, in this case, is not securing the package correctly on the vehicle. This is violation code 177.834A, so far this year there have been 1,878 total violations during roadside inspections, making this the most common Hazmat violation. Penalties for violations vary but the current maximum civil penalty is $75,000 for knowingly violating federal hazardous material transportation law.
When illness, injury, death or substantial destruction of property increases the original fine up to $175,000. Hazmat Hub has been transporting materials safely for years and all of our staff are highly trained and professional. We know that receiving a violation can ruin a company so we have a digital solution for B2B and B2C organizations who need to tech-minded solutions for Hazmat transport.