Logistics Safety Solutions Blog

5 Hazardous Materials Training Recordkeeping Tips

Posted by Paul Little on Fri, Apr 03, 2015 @ 10:40 AM

Hazardous materials shippers often say that managing hazardous materials training is a challenge.  Keeping track of employees’ training requirements, determining which transportation regulations to train for, ensuring the required training frequency, tracking regulatory changes and scheduling the training around a production schedule can certainly be a challenge.  And these aren't all of the challenges; they must also consider recordkeeping.

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Tags: logistics regulatory compliance, logistics safety performance, hazardous materials training

Improving Your Hazardous Materials Training Experience

Posted by Paul Little on Mon, Mar 23, 2015 @ 10:39 AM

Shippers of hazardous materials can provide hazardous materials training to achieve more than just regulatory compliance.  Veteran employees typically have a good understanding of the compliance requirements, but PHMSA (Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration) requires training at least once every 3 years.  So why not take the opportunity to raise the bar on your hazardous materials training program by implementing these 5 hazardous materials training fundamentals?

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Tags: logistics regulatory compliance, logistics safety performance, hazardous materials training

The Benefits of Using Logistics Safety Checklists

Posted by Paul Little on Fri, Feb 20, 2015 @ 04:16 PM

Most everyone will agree that transportation regulations for hazardous materials are complex and a mistake or error by a hazardous material employee could cost employers thousands of dollars in penalties and possibly cause a release of hazmat or a personal injury.  When you review the hazmat incidents reported to PHMSA (see Incident Reports Database), over 17,000 in 2014, over 75% of the reported Failure Cause Descriptions relate to some aspect of human error such as:

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Tags: logistics regulatory compliance, logistics safety process improvement, logistics safety performance

Why Logistics Safety Leaders Should Assess Their Crisis Teams

Posted by Paul Little on Wed, Feb 11, 2015 @ 10:38 AM

Logistics safety leaders at hazardous material shippers need to be concerned with logistics incidents, especially those incidents that have the potential to profoundly impact their company.  An enterprise-wide logistics safety risk assessment may reveal that the distribution of hazardous materials can severely affect a company when logistics incidents escalate into a crisis.  

Logistics safety leaders will want to ensure that their company is prepared to provide the necessary resources to support these incidents.  The company’s logistics safety management system (LSMS) must leverage the corporate crisis plan and identify when to activate it.  This is accomplished through LSMS procedures that define the preparedness and response to logistics incidents, including when to call upon the crisis team.  

Logistics safety leaders will want to know that they can effectively leverage the resources of their crisis team, should it be required.  Here are 4 issues that logistics safety leaders should assess when determining if their crisis team is prepared to provide the necessary support should a logistics incident threaten their company.

1. Crisis Team Scope:

In addition to emergencies that can plague a company, such as in-plant chemical releases, severe weather, negative social media and product recalls, hazmat shippers have unique circumstances to contend with, when a logistics incident occurs. Logistics safety leaders should determine if the crisis team is prepared to support:

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Tags: logistics safety management systems, logistics safety leaders, logistics incidents, crisis

7 Habits of Highly Effective Logistics Safety Leaders

Posted by Paul Little on Wed, Jun 04, 2014 @ 03:22 PM

Every day is a challenge - so much to do and so little time to do it. The world of the logistics safety leader is fast paced, with demands from both your internal and external customers to have shipments arrive on-time, safe and damage-free and from the regulators to have shipments in full compliance with the regulations. The key to thriving in such a fast paced environment is to have a plan and stick to it. The crisis of the day can quickly derail your best intentions, but you need to rise above it and maintain a focus on the big picture, your logistics safety management system.

Here are 7 habits of highly effective logistics safety leaders that nurture their logistics safety management system so that it supports the company’s supply chain goals of safe, secure and compliant logistics.

The Seven Habits

1. Come to Work with a Plan
Plan your work and work your plan. If you arrive at work with a set of goals for the day, you are more likely to move closer to achieving the key results that you have established for your logistics safety management system. However, if you wait to tackle each problem that comes your way, you will get bogged down in the minutiae and you won’t be able to properly support the strategic approach to your logistics safety management system that is necessary for success.

2. Keep Abreast of Industry Developments
The role of the logistics safety leader is to represent the logistics safety management system, the system that ensures your raw materials arrive on-time and safely and your products depart safe, secure and compliant and are delivered to their destination as per your customer’s expectations. To adequately manage logistics safety risks requires someone that is aware of industry developments, whether it is a proposed rulemaking or a new standard for high security seals, you need to stay informed.

3. Network Inside & Outside Your Company
The logistics safety leader is the face of your management system. One of their primary roles is to touch base with their network, inside and outside of your company to stay aware of what key stakeholders are thinking. This collaboration will build relationships that can solve your most challenging logistics safety issues.

4. Track Performance with Metrics
What gets measured gets improved. Leading indicators of satisfactory performance can act as the mile markers on your journey to logistics safety excellence. Waiting until the end of the month with the hope of zero distribution incidents is a stress filled life. It is much better to identify leading safety indicators (e.g., % of trailers loaded using approved load securement methods or % of cargo tanks loaded using a checklist), than wait for shifting and falling freight or a leaking trailer to record another distribution incident.

5. Stay Close to Your Customers
However you define your customers (e.g., your supply chain managers, the shipping and receiving department or the traditional customer that buys your products), they are your motivation to strive for incident-free logistics. Through the use of regular meetings, managing by walking around or customer satisfaction surveys, knowing that your logistics safety management system continues to fulfill your customers’ needs will be the gratification you and your logistics safety team need to continuously improve.

6. Lead Your Team
A logistics safety management system can’t be managed by one individual; it takes a team approach to have it perform effectively and efficiently. Providing feedback regarding customer satisfaction, improvements in on-time deliveries or incident-free shipments will inspire your team to maintain their focus on safe, secure and compliant logistics.

7. Manage the Risks
Your logistics safety management system (LSMS) is your risk management pathway. It will guide you in terms of the appropriate actions to take to manage your logistics safety risks. A LSMS contains the checks and balances to ensure that it is appropriately assessing and managing risk. Since you define the purpose, scope and requirements to manage the environmental, health, safety and security aspects of your company’s supply chain, your LSMS should reflect your organization’s need to identify risk and deal with it. From a management of change procedure to the selection and management of logistics service providers, a LSMS provides the guidance to deal in a practical way with expected logistics safety issues. (See Blog Archive: Managing Logistics Risk to Improve Performance.)

In summary, logistics safety leaders that embrace these 7 highly effective habits and keep their eye on their logistics safety management system will continue to raise the bar in terms of the company’s logistics safety performance.

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Tags: logistics safety management systems, logistics safety performance, logistics safety leaders

Where Should the Logistics Safety Function be Positioned?

Posted by Paul Little on Mon, Apr 28, 2014 @ 11:12 AM

With the goal of a high functioning logistics safety program, the strategy to achieve it must include a discussion of where the logistics safety program must be lead from in order to ensure success. Logistics safety involves compliance with transportation regulations and trade organization initiatives such Responsible Care®, during the inbound and outbound transportation and storage of your raw materials, waste and chemical products.

Any initiative that has strong leadership is more likely to succeed. Effective leadership and leading from a position of strength and influence are two characteristics that should be built into an organization’s logistics safety commitment in order to ensure success. An effective logistics safety program requires committed employees with the following collective knowledge:

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Tags: logistics safety practices, logistics safety performance, logistics safety leaders

Is it Time to Outsource Your Logistics Safety Program?

Posted by Paul Little on Tue, Apr 15, 2014 @ 12:35 PM

Outsourcing is the purchase of products or services from an outside supplier located across town or across the globe. Outsourcing has been around for many years, but some industries have taken to outsourcing more than others. It has been a common business practice in information management and it has also made significant inroads in logistics procurement, but the outsourcing of logistics safety has been much more selective.

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Tags: logistics safety practices, logistics safety performance, logistics safety outsourcing

Discovering Hidden Logistics Safety Risks

Posted by Paul Little on Mon, Mar 17, 2014 @ 02:26 PM

The mark of a great logistics safety risk management program is its ability to anticipate risk and manage it appropriately. However, some risks can be concealed from scrutiny and as a result they won’t trigger hazard communications or precautionary measures that need to be taken. Some risks can be sufficiently hidden in undocumented practices and activities that aren’t considered essential that they may not undergo an appropriate risk assessment.

With the need for an efficient and flexible supply chain and a strong desire to excel at customer service, employees can be prompted to act in a manner that isn’t always consistent with prudent logistics safety practices. Here are several examples of hidden logistics safety risks that you’ll want to put on your list for future risk reviews.

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Tags: logistics safety management systems, logistics risk management, logistics safety process improvement

5 Myths About Logistics Safety

Posted by Paul Little on Tue, Feb 25, 2014 @ 01:59 PM

Logistics safety is the management of transportation compliance and the environmental, health, safety and security aspects of your supply chain. Adherence to good logistics safety principles supports safe, secure and compliant transportation, off-site storage and handling of your company’s chemical products, raw materials and waste.

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Tags: logistics safety management systems, logistics safety practices, logistics safety myths

Logistics Safety Practices Support a Successful Hazmat Inspection

Posted by Paul Little on Tue, Feb 11, 2014 @ 01:51 PM

The odds are that if your company ships hazardous materials (hazmat) that eventually you will have a visit from a hazmat inspector. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) closes approximately 400 - 500 civil penalty actions and collects on average about $1.5 - 2.5 million in fines each year. In April 2013, PHMSA revised the maximum and minimum civil penalties for a knowing violation of the hazardous material transportation regulations. The maximum civil penalty for a knowing violation is now $75,000 and the maximum civil penalty is $175,000 for a violation that results in death, serious illness, or severe injury to any person or substantial destruction of property. Rather than agonize over a possible inspection, here are 4 important logistics safety practices to implement now to begin to prepare for that inspection.

1. Build a Plan: Without a plan, you run the risk that somewhere in your hazmat operations (e.g., classifying new chemicals, filling packagings or training employees) there is a compliance gap ready to be discovered. Implementing a logistics safety management system (LSMS) will help ensure all aspects of your operation are performing as you have defined them. The LSMS encompasses all logistics safety areas of your supply chain and spells out how each activity should be performed. See Blog Archive: Documenting a Logistics Safety Management System.

2. Nominate an Employee Host: To ensure you make a good first impression, it is wise to have an employee host the hazardous materials inspector during the inspection. The Logistics Safety function is ideally suited to:

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Tags: logistics safety management systems, logistics regulatory compliance, logistics safety practices, hazmat