Thursday, September 8, 2011

HAZMAT Transport and Medical Conditions



I received a call yesterday asking my opinion on medical conditions and HAZMAT drivers.  Here's the issue I was asked about: should a driver with a medical condition that elevates their possibility of a stroke still be allowed to drive hazardous materials tankers if doctors say the patient is currently healthy?  Keep in mind that although no one can predict when a stroke can occur, if the driver has had a mini-stroke, they have an elevated chance of having another.

My opinion is that they shouldn't be allowed to drive if there is an increase in the possibility of having a stroke.  This didn't make anyone happy.  "You can't say that," I was told, "because there are other health conditions such as diabetes, etc. that also increase the possibility of a diminished capacity event for that individual."

Also, they continued, "It violates their rights by restricting their employment possibilities based on only 'statistics.'"  Sorry, but that won't bring anyone back who's been injured or killed by a hazardous materials release.

Look- hazardous materials are hazardous materials.  What's the use of strict DOT regulations if we aren't also strict when it comes to regulating drivers?  Personally, I wouldn't let anyone get behind the wheel of a truck carrying HAZMAT if they hadn't had a breathalyzer test before getting into the vehicle. 

That's not a popular idea, either.

But I like it.