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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Interpretation Response #22-0048

Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name:

Individual Name: Tom Morales

Location State: TX Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

December 6, 2022

Mr. Tom Morales
CPNPP Training Support Manager
PO Box 1002
Glen Rose, TX  76043

Reference No. 22-0048

Dear Mr. Morales:

This letter is in response to your May 11, 2022, email and subsequent phone conversation with a member of my staff requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to the definition of a hazmat employee. Specifically, you ask whether certain employees are considered hazmat employees and therefore subject to training in accordance with 49 CFR Part 172, Subpart H.

We have paraphrased and answered your questions as follows:

Q1. You ask whether facility equipment operators, who operate on-site bulk storage tanks in preparation for loading with hazardous materials from a cargo tank truck—i.e., operate the valves on the tanks—meet the definition of a hazmat employee. You state that the facility equipment operators are responsible for controlling the flow valves of your bulk storage system after the carrier connects the delivery hose from the cargo tank truck.

A1.The answer is yes. In the scenario you described, the facility equipment operators directly affect the transportation—which includes unloading from a bulk package—of the hazardous materials and are subject to the training requirements. Because the facility equipment operators are directly involved in managing the flow of hazardous materials for unloading while in the presence of carrier personnel, they are considered to be performing a function subject to the HMR.

Q2. You ask whether the definition of a hazmat employee is applicable to chemistry technicians who, prior to accepting a delivery, sample the product (e.g., fuel) to ensure that the material meets certain specifications.

A2. The answer is no, if the sampling that is performed does not directly affect the transportation (including unloading from a bulk package) of the hazardous material.

Q3. You ask whether "shield mechanics"—who are responsible for removing a security shield during delivery of diesel fuel to allow it to be offloaded into underground storage tanks—are considered hazmat employees. You state that the shield mechanics are only responsible for removing security shields that allow unloading to occur, and do not perform any unloading of the hazardous materials itself.

A3. The answer is no. As provided in A2, if the removal of the shields by the mechanic does not directly affect the transportation of the hazardous material, a shield mechanic would not meet the definition of a hazmat employee.

Q4. You ask whether mechanics, who offload hazardous materials from the transport vehicle in the presence of the carrier once the vehicles have arrived onsite, meet the definition of a hazmat employee requiring hazmat training in accordance with 49 CFR Part 172, Subpart H.

A4. The answer is yes.  As provided in § 171.8, the term hazmat employee includes an individual who, during the course of employment, loads, unloads, handles hazardous materials, or operates a vehicle used to transport hazardous materials.

I hope this information is helpful. Please contact us if we can be of further assistance.


Dirk Der Kinderen
Chief, Standards Development Branch
Standards and Rulemaking Division


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
171.8 Definitions and abbreviations