Hazardous Materials
If your employees work with or around hazardous materials, then it’s imperative that they take training courses related to the handling, storage, and disposal of these materials. This is not only important for the safety of your employees and your customers, but it is also a legal requirement.
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Hazardous Materials

What are hazardous materials?

A material is classified as hazardous when it has the potential to cause harm, whether to humans, animals, property, or the environment. The material may be harmful by itself, or when it comes into contact with something else.

These materials fall into various categories:

  • Explosives
  • Gasses
  • Flammable liquids
  • Flammable solids
  • Oxidizers
  • Poisons
  • Radioactive materials
  • Corrosives

These materials can take the form of a solid, liquid, or gas. For example, they could include:

  • Chemicals or products that contain chemicals
  • Fumes 
  • Vapors
  • Gasses
  • Germs
  • Mists
  • Dust

What precautions do businesses have to take when employees handle hazardous materials?

Depending on where your business is located, there will likely be a legal requirement or regulation in place to ensure that your business is compliant. For example, in the US there are the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR), and in the UK there is Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH).

These regulations are put in place to protect your employees and customers. As well as regular employee training, regulations may also require:

  • Appropriate processes and control measures
  • Clear instructions
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • The correct storage
  • Medical check-ups
  • Cleaning and showering facilities
  • Regular assessments
  • Supervision when materials are handled
  • Accident and emergency procedures

Training will give employees across your business the knowledge they need to ensure they stay safe, and you remain compliant.

What is hazardous materials training?

Hazardous materials training provides employees with information for when they work with materials that could potentially cause harm to themselves, others, or the environment around them.

Working with hazardous materials always comes with a certain amount of risk, and training ensures employees have the skills and knowledge necessary to keep those risks to a minimum.

Not only that, but training is a legal requirement. If your organization fails to comply then you could face irreparable damage to your reputation as well as fines and legal action. Providing your employees with training is just one of the steps your organization can take to show that you’re compliant.

Why is hazardous materials training important?

Training shouldn’t be seen as simply a box-checking exercise because of a legal obligation. Your business also has a moral obligation to protect your people, property, and the environment. Training helps to communicate industry standards and business-wide practices to prevent and reduce accidents and the misuse of hazardous materials.

When employees receive the correct level of training they’ll also be more confident, efficient, and productive. When there’s a reduction in hazardous material-related issues, it also ensures that operations aren’t disrupted and there are no injuries to your workforce or damage to property. These issues can cost your business time and money, which will be far greater still if your business is discovered as being non-compliant.

What is covered in a hazardous materials training course?

There are many different courses available that cover different topics surrounding working with hazardous materials. Courses may focus on a specific topic, or cover several different aspects. General hazardous materials training will cover everything to help your organization be compliant. Topics covered include:

  • An overview - an overall look at hazardous materials.
  • Awareness - how to identify hazardous materials and potential issues.
  • Preventing issues - what employees need to do to prevent issues from occurring.
  • Dealing with issues - when issues do happen, what are the correct procedures to follow? This can also include first aid training.
  • Security - to ensure hazardous materials are protected so they’re not lost or stolen.
  • Transportation - how to safely transport hazardous materials either via land, sea, or air.
  • Job specific - certain roles or industries may have specific processes or procedures to follow.

Which employees need to learn about hazardous materials?

Any employee that works with or in close proximity to hazardous materials should take training to ensure they - and your business - are compliant with regulations. This ensures they have the ability to work safely with potentially harmful materials. This can include employees in the following roles and industries:

  • Manufacturing
  • Pest control
  • Agriculture
  • Construction
  • Engineering
  • Oil and gas
  • Food preparation
  • Beauty therapists
  • Hairdressers
  • Vehicle maintenance and repair
  • Painting and decorating
  • Cleaning
  • Welding
  • Printing

The benefits of taking training in hazardous materials

The benefits of training courses are clear: it contributes toward making your organization compliant, and it helps with the safety of your employees, your customers, your property, and the environment. This prevents your business from landing in hot water with the authorities and lessens the risk of accident and injury, and therefore fines and legal action.

When employees are given the correct training it ensures they can work safely and confidently. Employees that work in a safe environment will have greater morale and job satisfaction, which in turn can reduce employee turnover. Furthermore, when employees are familiar with the correct procedures it increases their productivity and efficiency.

Is eLearning a good way to learn about hazardous materials?

eLearning is a great way for employees to learn about hazardous materials processes and regulations. Online training is self-directed, which means employees access training materials whenever they have the time, and by using any device, including smartphones and tablets. That means learning doesn’t create added pressure by requiring employees to take time away from their day-to-day responsibilities.

eLearning courses are also cost-effective, and scaling is simple. This way, you can provide training to your entire workforce without delay or the need for a hefty budget.

If your organization uses a learning management system (LMS) you’ll be able to track which employees are engaging with training materials and identify who may need additional support. This allows your business to provide evidence that you’re compliant with any legal requirements.

What are some of the best online courses for hazardous materials training?

Whether your employees need to complete hazardous materials training to ensure compliance, or they want to upskill in a specific skill or topic, there are plenty of online courses available. Here are just some of the best eLearning courses that can be accessed right now.

Train your employees today with Go1

Ensuring your business is compliant with regulations is imperative, and Go1 has a wide range of hazardous materials training courses available to access right now. For more information on how Go1 can support your organization’s learning and development strategy, schedule a demo with our team today.

Book a demoReach out to the friendly Go1 team to learn why over 3000 organizations choose Go1. We would love to hear from you, and start your Go1 journey together. Go1 offers the world's largest digital learning hub of +100,000 resources and growing, delivered by the biggest names in eLearning, across a vast range of topics and industries. Whether it’s personal development, compliance or onboarding, Go1 is with you as you grow.
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