December 2011 | Commentary | Smart Moves

Warning! Dangerous Lack of Support for Hazmat Professionals Ahead

Tags: Education & Careers, Industry Associations

Anne Barry is communications director, Council on Safe Transportation of Hazardous Articles Inc., 518-761-0668

It is often said that dangerous goods handling compliance becomes an issue only when a non-compliant situation is discovered. The better dangerous goods professionals perform, the less necessary they appear.

Lack of recognition for dangerous goods management professionals' contributions, increasingly complex global transportation regulations, and insufficient career development opportunities may prevent the most qualified management candidates from pursuing careers in dangerous goods transportation.

To encourage interest in the hazardous materials/dangerous goods field, industry associations and partner organizations are introducing initiatives such as the Council on Safe Transportation of Hazardous Articles' "Blueprint for Success: Enhancing the Image of the Hazardous Materials/Dangerous Goods Professional."

This initiative aims to elevate the business community's perception of dangerous goods professionals to help them gain career security and opportunities. Blueprint for Success promotes the following core objectives:

  • Develop key partnerships with regulators and other organizations domestically and internationally to coordinate and form new programs and resources for hazardous materials/dangerous goods professionals.
  • Work with existing programs and associations to design or expand professional development curriculum to evolve careers in hazmat transportation.
  • Stimulate awareness and influence regarding the value of the hazardous materials/dangerous goods transportation compliance profession among senior decision-making executives at corporations, associations, and within regulatory bodies.
  • Increase public awareness of the value the profession provides.

Promoting Top Talent

Transportation safety, especially where dangerous goods are concerned, demands highly qualified participants throughout the transportation chain. National and international legislation is currently imposing more stringent and severe requirements for training personnel engaged in dangerous goods operations. And, the amount of information and knowledge required from these specialists is constantly growing.

It can be challenging, however, for commercial companies and government entities to find the right personnel to comply with all the industry's requirements. Some countries suffer from an acute shortage of hazmat professionals, as worthy candidates are not attracted by career prospects in the dangerous goods field and seek employment elsewhere.

Industry associations are continuing to work with individuals, companies, schools, colleges, universities, and the regulatory community to heighten awareness of the critical function hazmat professionals perform in the global business community.

Proactive initiatives such as the Blueprint for Success are essential elements of promoting the safe transportation of regulated hazardous materials by all modes.