Department of Transportation Grant Used to Train Teamsters in Hazmat Handling

Three years ago, Jody Johnson, a YRC Freight clerk and member of Sacramento’s Local 150, participated in a program on how to train others in hazardous material instruction. Before that, her co-workers were continually asking her questions about compliance, loading, handling and general safety.

“I think about the things I did both at work and in daily life before the training, and I realize that I was constantly putting myself in danger,” Johnson said.

Thanks to the hazmat training, she is now able to provide her co-workers with the correct answer and thus advance safety in her workplace. “I have been able to go back to my job and help on a daily basis,” Johnson said.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has recently awarded the Teamsters Safety and Health Department a $1-million grant to continue the DOT Hazardous Materials Instructor Training (HMIT) program.

“The DOT-HMIT program is an excellent program that provides our members with knowledge and skills to effectively provide training to their co-workers. We strongly encourage members of safety and health committees, stewards and rank-and-file members who have an interest in safety and health to consider participating in our training program,” said LaMont Byrd, Director of the Teamsters Safety and Health Department.

This will be the fourth year that the grant will allow the International Brotherhood of Teamsters to provide members throughout the country with advanced hazmat safety training. The training, designed as a “train the trainer” program, aims to train those who will provide hazmat safety training to their co-workers.

Thomas Folchetti, a Local 282 driver for Empire Transit Mix, participated in the DOT-HMIT program the first time it was offered at his local in 2011. The training provided Folchetti with a wealth of new skills and hazards prevention strategies related to hazmat activities. Additionally, Folchetti was given instruction in how to share these skills and strategies with his co-workers.

“I am passionate about teaching,” Folchetti said. “I valued the opportunity to build my own presentation based on the material presented during the training.”

For more information, visit www.teamsterworkertrainingprogram.org.