My Short Lived Experience With Hazmat Tanker

Topic 1820 | Page 1

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bubbarolls's Comment
member avatar

I tried my hand at hazmat chemical tanker job as my first trucking job. This company I was with is a company with a tanker division that hauls a lot of acids and hazardous materials. I realized halfway through orientation and during my first few days of training that this job wouldn't be a great fit for me.

I have nothing negative to say about the company. They treated me great. I got to spend a week in Florida for orientation and I was able to do my training locally.

What I Did Not Like About Hauling Chemical Tankers

  • wearing hazmat PPE (personal protective equipment) and sweating in places I didn't know I could sweat in making you prone to dehydration and heat exhaustion. It feels like you're wearing an extra 20 lbs and it didn't fit right in certain places even with a bigger size suit.
  • chemical plants - "Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore"... some were clean, but many were dirty, dusty, and a maze to get through with very tight turns. you will get dirty.
  • the added responsibilities of making sure the paper work is correct and that you have the right placards due to HAZMAT regulations
  • driving a loaded tanker with front & backward surge, and slosh pulling the tanker in all different directions.
  • remembering to stop at all railroad crossing.

Even as a tanker driver you do quite a bit of backing in tight spaces in the unloading areas of chemical plants.

What I Did Like About Hauling Chemical Tankers:

  • automatic trucks
  • driving (lots of fun pulling a tanker down the road).
  • decent hotel stay with microwave/fridge, wifi, and even a pool and within walking distance to stores and places to eat.
  • orientation was very, very informative and the daily lunch was delicious.
  • company personnel and were nice and treated you like a decent human being.
  • trainer was professional and easy to get along with.

I realized that there were certain elements of the job that I would never like, such as wearing that ill fitting dehydrating hazmat PPE, so I decided to cut my losses short. I informed both my trainer and terminal manager and they were understanding. I cleaned and returned the hazmat PPE and my first and last check should be in the mail in a couple of weeks.

As a newbie, my next truck driving job will just be pulling dry van for a long while before deviating into any other division.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

ThinksTooMuch's Comment
member avatar

Sorry to hear you didn't like it. It definitely is not for everyone but I am sure you learned a lot. I think part of it is that the company hauls a lot of acids so you had to wear the pickle suit a lot. I drive a haz-mat tanker and only had to wear the green pickle suit twice in 4 months. It was horrible the first time, 95 degrees in Illinois in August at 1:00pm lol. But the 2nd time it was October in Toledo, OH and it was like 30 degrees at 8:00am, so it was quite comfortable.

Good luck on your next endeavor, just give it your all and you'll do great.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Hey Corinthian, sorry that first idea didn't pan out but thanks a million for sharing that with us!

I pulled a food-grade tanker for a year one time and I absolutely loved it! I've always recommended to people who are interested in pulling a tanker to go for food grade and stay away from the chemicals. Who wants to wear a Hazmat suit, pull Hazmat loads like sulfuric acid, and spend your time in nasty chemical plants when for the same money you can pull orange juice, honey, and cream from places like dairies and orchards, right????

smile.gif

If you like tanker, speak with some of the food grade companies. Otherwise get some experience with dry van and see where life takes you.

But thanks again for sharing that information. It will be incredibly helpful for anyone considering pulling a chemical tanker!

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.
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