SLSI Hazmat Training ‘Effective and Highly Valued’

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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The Short Line Safety Institute (SLSI) has released two analyses of Hazardous Materials Training sessions held over a three-year period for short line railroad hazmat professionals, and the results indicate that the program “can effectively transfer crucial safety information from instructor to participant, as measured by pre-training and post-training testing, and that it is meaningful to participants, with 97.4% of feedback survey respondents rating the program positively,” ASLRRA (American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association) reported on Jan. 25.

“Since launching the HazMat Training program in 2017, the informal feedback has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Tom Murta, Executive Director, SLSI. “A structured analysis of the feedback surveys has now provided us with encouraging results. Participants rate the program positively, confirming that the training program is indeed a valuable resource to short line and regional railroads. Moreover, an analysis of participant test scores indicates that the training is effective, documenting an improved understanding of the regulatory requirements presented at a statistically significant rate.”

In the testing analysis, post-training test results of each section of the program were compared to the pre-training scores. The average change in score was an increase of 10.4%, “statistically significant for the sample,” SLSI noted. “In addition, the effect size between the paired results was analyzed, resulting in a medium size effect, indicating that the training provided impacted the results in a meaningful way. The positive increase in test results is notable when considering that the participants have experience with hazardous materials transportation safety requirements. Open-ended responses provided in the feedback survey analysis specified that the program provided value to participants via informative sessions, knowledgeable instructors, and engaging discussions.”

SLSI’s Hazardous Materials Training program is intended to supplement training already available on a railroad, and is provided at zero cost, thanks to a grant from PHMSA (Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration). Staffed by SLSI instructors with more than 600 years of combined experience in the safe transportation of hazardous materials, the one-day Hazardous Materials Training combines instruction, hands-on training and interactive experience-based discussions “in order to provide a comprehensive learning experience,”SLSI said. Topics covered in the sessions include U.S. Department of Transportation regulations, rail industry job function-specific regulations, Homeland Security regulations, and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and other regulatory reporting requirements. The program “can be effectively delivered within COVID-19 guidelines.”

The SLSI has continued to add new programs to its Hazardous Materials Training, including providing training in different formats. In addition to in-person training, SLSI has made an online video training program available, accessible at the click of a mouse. Currently, five videos between four and seven minutes long are available, covering key elements of safety regulations.

To find out more, or request a training class, visit

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