Transport law in Australia requires anyone involved in the transport of goods classified as "dangerous" to undergo dangerous goods training and be certified before they can be allowed to ship such goods by road, air, sea or any other mode of transport. This is because dangerous goods transport poses inherent risks that each individual involved in the handling, storage and shipping of these type of goods must know about so they can follow the specified regulations.
So, what does dangerous goods training generally involve? Let's take a look at some of the important aspects that are typically covered.
Creating general awareness
One of the key goals of dangerous goods training is to make shippers and other people involved in the handling, storage and transportation of dangerous goods aware of the dangers associated with the shipment and the environments that they work in. The training will cover a general classification of hazardous material. Broadly speaking, dangerous goods can be classified as: gases, explosives, flammable liquids, flammable solids, oxidising substances, toxic and infectious substances, radioactive material and corrosive elements. Other forms of dangerous goods are classified as miscellaneous dangerous goods.
Training on general safety
Dangerous goods training is not only geared towards creating awareness of potential hazards associated with transporting dangerous goods, but also arming individuals with the actions they can take to effectively minimise those hazards. Once those involved in the transport of dangerous goods know the dangers that they will be exposed to, they will need to know what measures they will need to take in order to stay out of harm's way. For instance, those that handle chemical substances should avoid physical contact with the products, as they can cause burns.
Training on function-specific vulnerabilities
Dangerous goods training can be further narrowed down to address the specific exposures of a particular good. Truckers who operate vehicles carrying petroleum products, for example, need to know that such products are highly flammable and explosive in nature. An important part of the training would include making sure the truckers understand that they should not expose their shipment to dangers that may result in dire consequences. The truck drivers will be expected to find safe spots to park their vehicles overnight, for example.
Dangerous goods training is not a one-off type of training. Those charged with the responsibility of transporting dangerous goods will periodically need to go for refresher courses so as to constantly update their knowledge and skills.