The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) under the Department of Transportation regulates the transportation of hazardous materials, including fuel, on the nation's highways. Transporters of fuel are required to follow specific registration, training, communication, packaging, emergency response and security regulations to maintain public safety.
Registration & Permitting
Companies that transport hazardous materials, including fuel, over the road are required to register with the DOT every year. Before each trip, motor carriers must get a Hazardous Materials Safety Permit (HMSP).
Every employee who handles, ships, packages, loads, unloads, labels, and transports hazardous materials like fuel must undergo hazardous material (hazmat) training. The training will consist of general awareness training, job-specific training, security awareness and hazmat safety. Employees must complete refresher hazmat training every three years or whenever there is a change in job function. Employers are responsible to see that hazmat employees are trained adequately.
Transporters of fuel must comply with certain communication requirements set by the DOT. Each container must be marked and labeled. The vehicle must be placarded according to standard and shipping papers must accompany the shipment throughout transportation.
Packaging and Loading
During shipment, the fuel must be in a suitable container and secured to avoid leaks, spills and combustion.
Emergency Response and Security
In case of emergency, certain information must be kept with the shipping papers throughout shipment. This written documentation must include an emergency contact phone number--which is monitored by a live person throughout the trip--and information on the type of fuel, its hazards, first aid information and procedures for leaks, spills and fires. The employer must also have, and train employees on, an established security plan that details procedures for recognizing, preventing and stopping security threats toward the fuel shipment.
Oil Spill Prevention and Response Plan
According to CFR 49, 130, a vehicle transporting more than 42,000 gallons of oil per container or in a container with a capacity over 3,500 gallons must have shipping papers in the vehicle stating the transport oil or the specific type of fuel. The container carrying the fuel must be constructed so that the fuel will not leak or spill. The transportation company must also develop a written response plan that details actions to be taken, personnel and agencies to contact, and procedures for the removal of fuel should a spill occur during transport. The transporter must notify the DOT immediately if there is a spill, fire, injury, death or other incident the driver finds worthy of reporting.
Making the complex understandable, Erika Becklin has written on parenting, education, small business, manufacturing, food service, and travel as a small-business owner and manager since 1996. Her articles appear on eHow and Answerbag. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a focus on professional and technical writing from the University of South Florida.