Hazardous Materials Transport at Airport

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Ron Tomasetti, CDS, CDT ::::

Case Synopsis: A tanker delivering airplane fuel at a local airport crashed into an electric baggage cart when the driver made a sudden turn to avoid a worker loading baggage into the cart. The worker was severely injured when the cart overturned on him. The tanker driver, who was in the USA on a work VISA from Argentina, was operating the commercial motor vehicle which was placard (Flammable) without a CDL (Commercial Driver License). The employer, ABC Fuel Enterprise, Inc. did not have the vehicle licensed (displaying a plate). It was reported at the time of the collision it was raining, and the tarmac was wet. The injured worker brought suit claiming the driver was not qualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle and the employer was negligent for hiring him.

Experts Analysis: A site inspection was performed, and employer records and deposition testimony was reviewed. The expert analysis demonstrated that the collision occurred on private property. The employer would not be considered a motor carrier for either interstate commerce or intrastate commerce; and therefore, not subject to FMCSR (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations). The employer did have a personnel file, but was not required to have a driver qualification file in accordance with FMCSR’s. The tanker did not travel on or over any public roadway, the vehicle did not have to be licensed (displaying a license plate) but the vehicle was registered. The driver did not need a CDL, nor comply with Federal regulations concerning qualifications of drivers, including a back ground check of former employers. The employer; however performed a criminal background check on the worker before offering him employment.

Conclusion: Case settled prior to trial.

 

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