How did Dangerous Goods pros respond to our annual survey?

How did Dangerous Goods pros respond to our annual survey?


The answers may reassure you.

Since August, we’ve been asking hazmat heroes like you all about their jobs, their lives, their concerns and their opinions. Many of you took our online poll, and many more answered these questions at the 2016 Dangerous Goods Symposium, September 7–9 in Chicago.

As usual, your answers were unpredictable—and unfiltered!

You may find a few surprises here. But overall, it sounds as if many of the top folks in the business feel like even though we have some work to do, we’re going about it the right way.



Of the 65 respondents so far, 43—or 65%—said they’ve been in the business 10 years or longer. So it’s safe to say the responses we’ve captured reflect the voice of long Dangerous Goods experience.

Here are the serious questions we asked, with a breakdown of the answers. (Totals may not equal 100%, as not every respondent answered every question.)


What’s the most challenging aspect of hazmat shipping?

Labeling … 3%
Packaging … 9%
Training … 49%
All of the above … 37%

Does this mean labeling and packaging are easy? Hardly. Almost half the survey thinks they’re at least as challenging as training. There are no easy tasks in DG.


Which of the below concerns you most?

Managing risk across the entire supply chain … 38%

Staying up to date on the latest regulations … 23%

Understanding complex regulations … 18%

Lack of resources and budget … 17%

With all the moving parts in a complete supply chain, it’s no wonder so many DG pros are concerned. But even for experienced professionals, keeping current with regulations is a challenge. And that concern about budgets? Read on.


Does your company have the right compliance technology in place to meet emerging regulations?

Yes, 100% … 34%

Yes, mostly … 43%

We’re getting there … 18%

No … 3%

77% of our respondents feel positive about their companies’ technology. That’s reassuring, although there are clearly companies who need to raise their game.


Does your organization have a standardized training and operations budget for Dangerous Goods/Hazmat shipping and compliance?

Yes, 100% … 46%

Yes, mostly … 25%

We’re getting there … 9%

No … 17%

The good news: 71% have a set compliance budget. The bad news: 17% have not. One in six companies that ship Dangerous Goods doesn’t regularly budget for compliance training or operations? Not good.


How would you rate your C-suite’s level of understanding of the business impact of Dangerous Goods compliance?

Forward-thinking … 32%

Aligned with today’s requirements … 43%

Behind current requirements … 23%

Answers to this question may shed some light on the budget issues raised earlier. 23% said their C-suites were “Behind current requirements.” That’s very concerning.


Has your company begun to merge roles and responsibilities between OSHA and DOT?

Yes … 46%

No … 49%

Almost a 50/50 split. That’s good to see—we suspect a few years ago the “yes” number would have been much lower.



Anyone who’s been to a Dangerous Goods Symposium knows hazmat pros know how to have fun. Here’s a sampling of the responses reflecting the weirder lighter side of the DG community.


If Dangerous Goods shipping was a reality show, what would it be called?

Best answers:

Naked and Compliant

You Shipped What?

Dancing with the Inspectors

Compliant without Complaints


Complete the following sentence: “I knew I was a DG pro for life when … [fill in the blank].”

Best answers:

“… I told the shipping manager that what he was sending out was hazmat and he had no clue.”

“ … placards started appearing in my dreams!”

“ … I caught myself reading a 49 CFR while on vacation.”

“ … the rules didn’t make sense and I wanted to know why.”


How many DG pros does it take to install a light bulb?

Best answers:

“One—unless EHS is involved. Then it takes six.”

“Nobody knows. Light bulbs are not DG, so we don’t know what to do.”

“Depends on the bulb—is it mercury vapor? Metal halide?”

“Can’t be done while Geoff Leach is insisting it be called a ‘lamp.’”


What’s your favorite DG rookie mistake?

Best answers:

“Not recognizing DG because it seems so ordinary.”

“Not signing shipping papers.”

“Using standard units of measure for international shipments.”

“Signing Jay Cutler to a long-term deal … wait, even a DG rookie wouldn’t do that.”


What advice do you have for someone just starting their career in DG?

Best answers:

“You won’t get rich, but there’s never a dull moment.”

“Hang in there—it’ll start to make sense eventually.”

“Virtually every regulation has a tragic story behind it. Don’t be complacent about compliance.”

“I hope you already have a significant other.”


Let’s hear your answers! You can still participate in the 2016 DG Survey, and we’d love to hear from you!



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