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Special Report: DOT Hazardous-materials security plan rules, September 2003

Dear Member,

This Special Report provides information regarding compliance with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Research and Special Programs Administration's hazardous-materials security plan rules that become effective Sept. 25, 2003. The first part of this Special Report provides an explanation of the new hazardous-materials security plan rules, and the second part provides a security plan template roofing contractors can use to assist them in developing the plan required under the new rules. A risk-assessment tool developed by DOT for determining the level of risk posed by your company's transport of hazardous materials is available at the DOT Web site, hazmat.dot.gov/rmsef.htm.

The tragic events of Sept. 11 provided the impetus for DOT to develop new rules directed at safeguarding the transportation of the wide variety of hazardous materials that is moved daily on the roads of the United States. Implementation of the security plan components by roofing contracting companies that transport certain hazardous materials is expected to reduce the potential for terrorists to use these products as weapons.

If your company transports propane, cutback products, mastics, adhesives or other hazardous materials, please take a moment to review the explanation of the new security plan rules. As you review your hazardous-materials operations, refer to the attached security plan template that NRCA has developed and DOT risk-assessment tool—they will be useful for developing the security plan DOT requires you to have in place by Sept. 25, 2003.

If you have any questions regarding the rules, please call me at (847) 299-9070, Ext. 7502.


Harry Dietz
NRCA's Director of Risk Management

DOT hazardous-materials security plan rules

Roofing contracting and other companies that transport certain hazardous materials (referred to as hazmat) must comply by Sept. 25, 2003, with new security rules recently issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). This amendment to DOT's Hazardous Materials Regulations requires anyone who transports certain hazmat to develop and implement a security plan and provide security-awareness training for all employees who directly affect hazmat transportation safety (defined by DOT as hazmat employees). DOT's goal is to prevent hazmat from being used in terrorist attacks. The new rules affect roofing contractors who transport quantities of hazmat that require DOT registration, such as propane, Class 3 cutback products or mastics in amounts subject to placarding.

Generally, contractors using placarded transport vehicles carrying nonbulk quantities, in the aggregate of 1,001 pounds or more, of propane (Class 2.1, UN 1075), cutback products (Class 3, UN 1999), or mastics and adhesives (Class 3, UN 1133) are required to register. Transporting bulk quantities in excess of 119 gallons of cutback products or mastics and 1,000 pounds or more of propane subjects a contractor to DOT's new rules.

DOT allows roofing contractors who develop security plans significant leeway in assessing the risks of transporting hazmat, as well as implementing security measures to address those risks. A contractor who determines his company's security risks for hazmat are minimal could develop and implement a simple security plan. For example, because transporting 5-gallon containers of single-ply adhesive may not pose as much of a risk as transporting large cylinders of propane, the plan requirements for transporting adhesive can be less comprehensive than those for propane. Many techniques used to deter theft, account for inventories and safeguard material handling can be included as part of a written hazmat security plan.

Plan components

DOT's security plan components include:
  • Assessing transportation security risks associated with the materials handled

  • Confirming information supplied by job applicants who will handle or have access to hazmat

  • A method for restricting access to hazmat or transport vehicles by unauthorized people

  • Addressing en route security risks for materials transported

Assessing security risks must take into account factors such as type of material transported, quantity involved, geographic area of transit and mode of transportation. Although almost any risk-assessment tool can be useful, DOT has developed a security template for this step that is available on DOT's Web site, hazmat.dot.gov/rmsef.htm, or by calling Harry Dietz, NRCA's Director of Risk Management at (847) 299-9070, Ext. 7502.

When hiring a hazmat employee, roofing contractors are required to check information about the applicant's recent job history, references and citizenship status. However, obtaining information about an applicant must be done within the limits of state and federal laws. Additionally, the plan must address the possibility that unauthorized people (individuals not employed by the company) may attempt to gain access to hazmat or transport vehicles and the plan must describe methods to deny such access.

The safe transport of hazmat to a destination must also include secure storage incidental to the transportation. The security plan developed by a roofing contractor must address attending, fueling, locking and routing of hazmat, as well as storage security in company warehouses and job sites.


For those hazmat employees whose employers are required to have a security plan, training in security plan methods must be completed by Dec. 22, 2003. Security training must include a roofing contractor's security objectives, procedures, employee responsibilities, action to be taken if a security breach occurs and the contractor's organizational security structure.

Recurrent training of all hazmat employees under the new rules (without regard to the requirement for a plan) must include security-awareness training in risks associated with hazmat transportation, recognition and response to security threats, and methods to enhance transport security. This training must take place no later than March 24, 2006, and at least every three years thereafter. New hazmat employees must complete security-awareness training within 90 days after employment.

DOT offers the following hazmat security suggestions:
  • Verify U.S. citizenship for all employees and the immigration status of noncitizens.

  • Conduct background checks on prospective hazmat employee applicants.

  • Conduct comprehensive interviews with job applicants to gauge their integrity and character.

  • Make sure hazmat storage areas are well-lit, secured by fences and alarms, and protected with adequate locks.

  • Get to know the vendors that supply your hazmat, and instruct employees not to accept shipments from unfamiliar shippers.

  • When delivering hazmat, drivers should be trained to avoid densely populated areas when possible.

  • Keep hazmat vehicles locked when unattended and parked in a safe location.

  • Consider truck alarms, cutoff switches or coded engine controls for vehicles transporting and/or storing hazmat.

  • Develop a communication system (e.g., cellular telephones, two-way radios, satellite tracking) to monitor drivers' locations, status, etc.

Unfortunately, times have changed in many ways since the events of Sept. 11. Routine work practices in place before that day now are being scrutinized and revised to provide more protection to employees and the general public. In light of the heightened risk from terrorism, it's important to implement DOT's new rules as soon as possible.

Hazmat security plan template

NRCA has provided a security plan template roofing contractors can use to assist them in developing the plan required under the new rules.

Click here to access the hazmat security plan template (Members Only).

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