If you ship hazardous materials, you must provide shipping papers and emergency response information for each load. Also, you must keep the hazardous material shipping documents on file for one year after acceptance of shipment. If the shipment is hazardous waste, you must keep documents for three years.

For a hazardous materials audit, the DOT will review processes such as training, policy, shipping documentation and labeling of hazardous materials.

Having the right paperwork and knowing where it is, means you won’t have to scramble when the DOT shows up for an audit. Showing attention to detail can be the difference between passing and failing an audit.

No one looks forward to a DOT audit but knowing what to expect will ensure it goes smoothly when it does happen. Ensure that you have the information on this checklist at the ready, so you can feel confident and prepared when a DOT audit occurs.

Here’s a checklist of the documents and paperwork that you should have readily available in the event of an audit:

  • A current copy of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR)
  • An up to date MCS-90 form showing liability insurance coverage that meets the limit required for your operation to protect you in the event of a company vehicle collision
  • A written program/policy for drug and alcohol use and testing
  • A summary of all drug and alcohol testing conducted in the past calendar year, along with the status of any drivers who tested positive
  • Motor vehicle records (MVRs) on all new and rehired drivers
  • A copy of pre-employment drug tests for all drivers
  • Proof that all drivers hold a current commercial driver’s license (CDL)
  • Six months of completed driver logs on all drivers
  • At least 14 months of valid annual inspections for all operating commercial motor vehicle equipment
  • Complete maintenance records
  • A current DOT security plan
  • 90 days of post-trip inspection reports for each commercial vehicle in which defects have been found

Updating Driver Qualification Files

Every DOT audit will include a review of driver qualification files, so it is crucial that these files are always kept up to date. The required information for each driver’s file includes:

  • An annual documented review of the driver’s certificate of violations
  • A record of a valid road test
  • Documentation showing that the driver’s employment history was investigated before hiring
  • Training materials on drug and alcohol programs, with a signed receipt from the driver
  • Any and all instructions to drivers about convictions for moving violations (The instructions must be given within 30 days of the violation.)

Reviewing Essential Processes

Certain processes must be in place and documented for you to pass your audit. Those include:

  • A current accident register
  • A progressive disciplinary action system for drivers
  • Written hiring policies
  • A process for documenting drivers’ medical certificates and removing the driver if the certificate is out of date
  • A process to keep all CDLs current, with driver removal if it expires
  • A process for checking all drivers’ logs for accuracy
  • A system to control working hours and ensure compliance

Hazardous Material Compliance Audit for Storage, Procedures, Programs, and Training


1.0 Training

Does initial training occur within 90 of hire or new job assignment? Yes No N/A
Are all required training delivered? (General Awareness, General Safety, Function Specific & Security) Yes No N/A
Does the frequency of the training consistent with requirements? (Every 3 years, when there is a lack of understanding, or as new regulation, requirements or job tasks change) Yes No N/A
Is a test given? Yes No N/A
Is there a required passing score? Yes No N/A
Do you supply certificates to those that successfully complete the training and kept on file? Yes No N/A
Are training materials accessible and thorough? Yes No N/A
Does the General Awareness training thoroughly cover the necessary items? (Labeling, characteristics SDS sheets Classes of HazMat, new GHS standards) Yes No N/A
Does the General Safety training thoroughly cover the necessary items?( eye wash and emergency shower, emergency situations, required PPE, evacuation procedures, etc.) Yes No N/A

The hazardous materials regulations are applicable to the transportation of hazardous materials in commerce and their offering to:

  1. Interstate, intrastate, and foreign carriers by rail car, aircraft, motor vehicle and vessel.
  2. The representation that a hazardous material is present in a package, container, rail car, aircraft, motor vehicle or vessel.
  3. The manufacture, fabrication, marking, maintenance, reconditioning, repairing or testing of a package or container which is represented, marked, certified or sold for use in the transportation of hazardous materials (49 CFR 171.1(a))


"No person may offer or accept a hazardous material for transportation in commerce unless that person is registered in conformance with subpart G of Part 107 of this chapter, if applicable, and the hazardous material is properly classed, described, packaged, marked, labeled, and in condition for shipment as required or authorized..."(49 CFR 171.2(a))

Underlined in the preceding extract from the Hazardous Materials Regulations are three important terms; "person," "offeror" and "commerce" (See Appendix A Definitions). The word shipper is frequently used by industry in place of the word "offeror." For the purpose of this document only, the term shipper and "offeror" are used interchangeably. These three words are important in that they define when you are subject to the jurisdiction of the Department of Transportation. Additionally, you may be subject to the requirements of other Federal and/or State Laws.


Most Federal Agencies including the Department of Defense are considered "offerors" when they ship hazardous materials by commercial carriers. In those rare instances where governmental agencies transport hazardous materials in commerce on government vehicles/aircraft, the agency is also considered a carrier. Contractors are fully subject to the requirements of the Federal hazardous materials transportation law.

The Uniformed Services of the United States generally are not subject to the commerce clause of the Constitution. Therefore, military shipments, transported on military vehicles or aircraft are not subject to Federal jurisdiction. However, many states require military movements by highway to conform to 49 CFR or compatible state regulations. DOD and Service Regulations also require compliance with 49 CFR Parts 100-180. When in peacetime, the military services procure commercial transportation, (offering into commerce), the military is engaged in commerce and required to comply with 49 CFR


"Persons" who offer for transportation, or transport in foreign, interstate or intrastate commerce: (a) any highway route controlled quantity of a Class 7 (radioactive) material; (b) more than 25 kg (55 lbs.) of a Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 (explosive) material in a motor vehicle, rail car or freight container; (c) more than 1 L per package of a material extremely poisonous by inhalation; (d) a hazardous material in a bulk packaging having a capacity of 3,500 gals. for liquids or gases, or more than 468 cubic feet for solids; (e) a shipment in other than bulk packaging of 5,000 lbs. gross weight or more of one class of hazardous material for which the transport vehicle requires placarding; (f) any quantity of materials requiring placarding. The following are excepted from the registration requirement:

  1. An agency of the Federal Government
  2. A State Agency
  3. An agency or political subdivision of a State
  4. An employee of (1)-(3)
  5. A hazmat employee (including an owner operator of a motor vehicle leased to a registered motor carrier for 30 days or more).
  6. A person domiciled outside the United States who offers HM solely from outside the United States. (See 49 CFR 107.606(a)(6) for exceptions and reciprocity.)
  7. Registration is required annually and includes a fee. For additional information on the registration requirement, you may call 1-800-467-4922 or (202) 366-4109.

HM PERMITTING - 49 CFR 385.400

After January 1, 2005, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires motor carriers to obtain a Hazardous Materials Safety Permit (HMSP) prior to transporting certain highly hazardous materials. An HMSP is required to transport any of the following materials:

  1. A highway route-controlled quantity of a Class 7 (radioactive) material;
  2. More than 25 kg (55 pounds) of a Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 (explosive) material or an amount of a Division 1.5 (explosive) material requiring placarding under 49 CFR 172;
  3. More than one liter (1.08 quarts) per package of a "material poisonous by inhalation," that meets the criteria for "hazard zone A";
  4. A "material poisonous by inhalation," that meets the criteria for "hazard zone B," in a bulk packaging (capacity greater than 460 L (119 gallons));
  5. A "material poisonous by inhalation," that meets the criteria for "hazard zone C," or "hazard zone D," in a packaging having a capacity equal to or greater than 13,248 L (3,500 gallons); or
  6. A shipment of compressed or refrigerated liquefied methane or liquefied natural gas, or other liquefied gas with a methane content of at least 85 percent, in a bulk packaging having a capacity equal to or greater than 13,248 L (3,500 gallons).

Motor carriers will be required to apply for a HMSP the next time they are scheduled to file the MCS-150 form after January 1, 2005. All motor carriers, including interstate, intrastate and foreign carriers must comply with this regulation. For more information you may call 202-366-6121 (fmcsa)

In the event of any hazardous shipping audit, do not hesitate to call your Hazmatpac representative immediately. Please make sure that you keep your Hazmatpac binder at the ready, with all of your documentation. When the auditors see our binder, typically things go smoothly. Hazmatpac Contact # 800-923-9123  


Call: 800-923-9123