The Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) announced it is extending its enforcement policy regarding training requirements. 

Specifically, the agency will not take enforcement action against a hazmat carrier who is unable to provide recurrent training in accordance with the existing hazmat regulations. The new policy has been extended to October 31, 2020.

PHMSA noted that many companies who offer hazardous materials continue to experience difficulty in obtaining or providing training to their employees due to the changes in business practices that have resulted from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The previous policy was scheduled to expire June 24.

The notice of this extension is limited to recurrent training requirements only that are found in 49 CFR 172.704(c)(2).

“PHMSA does want to take this opportunity to remind employers that the HMR does not require training to be provided in a traditional classroom setting or through on the job training,” the notice of extension reads. “Any method of training delivery, including web-based, self-paced computer instruction, remotely delivered classroom instruction, on the job training, or some combination of those methods that cover the required elements in 49 CFR 172 Subpart H are acceptable. PHMSA encourages the utilization of any of these training methods to ensure hazmat employees are provided appropriate recurrent training even if testing is not possible.”

The Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Railroad Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and the United States Coast Guard will also extend their enforcement discretion for certain hazardous materials training requirements until October 31, 2020.