Office of Risk Management

DOT Hazardous Materials Transportation

General description

The safe transportation of hazardous materials is regulated by the US Department of Transportation (DOT), the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, among others.

The administrative unit within DOT responsible for oversight of hazardous materials, known as hazmat, is the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). The stated goals of PHMSA are:

  • Safety: To reduce the risk of harm to people due to the transportation of hazardous materials by pipelines and other modes.
  • Environmental Stewardship: To reduce the risk of harm to the environment due to the transportation of oil and hazardous materials by pipeline and other modes.
  • Reliability: To help maintain and improve the reliability of systems that deliver energy products and other hazardous materials.
  • Global Connectivity: To harmonize and standardize the requirements for pipeline and hazardous materials transportation internationally, to facilitate efficient and safe transportation through ports of entry and through the supply chain.
  • Preparedness and Response: To reduce the consequences (harm to people, environment, and economy) after a pipeline or hazmat failure has occurred.

Regulatory citations and standards

The Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) regulate the safe and secure transportation of hazardous materials in commerce.

Overview of requirements

From 49 CFR 171.1:

"Federal hazardous materials transportation law (49 U.S.C. 5101 et seq. ) directs the Secretary of Transportation to establish regulations for the safe and secure transportation of hazardous materials in commerce, as the Secretary considers appropriate. The Secretary is authorized to apply these regulations to persons who transport hazardous materials in commerce."

Transporting work-related hazardous materials in your personal vehicle is not recommended.

When you prepare, mark, label, certify packages or sign shipping papers, including hazardous waste manifests and air waybills, for transportation by a non-governmental agency (e.g., waste contractor, FedEx, UPS), you are in commerce and the regulations apply.

The training requirements can be found here.

They require training in the following subject areas:
(1) General awareness/familiarization
(2) Function-specific training. 
(3) Safety training. 
(4) Security awareness training. 
(5) In-depth security plan training

"A hazmat employee shall receive the training required by this subpart at least once every three years."

Training records must include:

(1) The hazmat employee's name;
(2) The most recent training completion date of the hazmat employee's training;
(3) A description, copy, or the location of the training materials used to meet the requirements in paragraph (a) of this section;
(4) The name and address of the person providing the training; and
(5) Certification that the hazmat employee has been trained and tested

Links to campus training resources

UW System Online Training Click on the dialog balloon to see notes.
Hazmat quiz

Training Powerpoint, quiz Word document and quiz key are available from OSLP

maroon line

UW Milwaukee Online Training

UW Madison Hazmat Training (Big file - 22 Mb)
You can shorten Load/Run time by right-clicking the link and selecting "Save Target As". Save the media file to your computer, then open the file from your computer.


Links to other resources

DOT Logo

DOT Report on Significant Rulemaking

DOT Training Modules

DOT Free Publications

maroon line

The International Air Transport Association


If you have any questions, contact us at OSLP.


Last updated 08/15/2011

This publication was prepared for environmental, health and safety staff at University of Wisconsin System campuses, to assist in finding resources and information for regulatory compliance. It is not intended to render legal advice. (Click here to read full legal disclaimer.)