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Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Safety & Health Dept Program Awarded $1.6 Million USDOT Grant

The Teamsters Safety and Health Department's Worker Training Program was awarded a $1.6million grant by the Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (DOT-PHMSA) effective September 30, 2008 through September 30, 2009.

The objective of the Hazardous Materials Instructor Training (HMIT) Grants Program is to 'train the trainer' that is, to train hazmat instructors who will then train hazmat employees in the proper handling of hazardous materials. The training will provide workers with an increased understanding of the risks involved in transporting hazmat, the skills and knowledge necessary for the proper handling of hazmat, the relevant requirements that have to bemet, and the need for performing their duties in a way that will ensure safety of themselves, their coworkers and the community.

The program will conduct HMIT for freight and tank haul members who have varying levels of responsibility concerning responding to emergency and incidental releases of hazardous materials during shipping .The instructors who successfully complete the training programwill be qualified to provide vitally important training, support and information to their coworkers who encounter hazardous materials spills.

The program has conducted outreach through Joint Councils, locals and trade divisions to identify members to participate in the training program. The program will use experienced Teamster instructors to conduct train-the-trainer programs to train union members to be peer hazmat trainers.

'We are proud to have been awarded this grant and we will work collaboratively with the trade divisions and local unions to identify rank and file members who will ultimately provide hazmat safety training to their coworkers,' said LaMont Byrd, Director, Teamsters Safety and Health Department.

The program will use a three-tiered approach to accomplish the training goals. First, there will be the train-the-trainer classes which will be taught by Teamsters instructors. Second is the Mentor Development Program which will assign a Teamster instructor to be the new trainer's mentor .Third, upon completion of the train-the-trainer class, the new trainers will be prepared to presen tDOT hazmat safety training to their fellow workers. The training provided by instructors in this program will fulfill the employer's training responsibilities pursuant to applicable OSHA and DOT regulations.

'The long-term objective of this training is to develop a cadre of trainers within the Teamster represented hazmat transportation community. With this grant we will equip hazmat workers with the skills necessary to become trainers and provide training in hazmat safety to their coworkers while increasing awareness of hazmat safety in the transportation of hazardous materials,' Byrd said.