Hazardous materials present unique challenges to industry, enforcement personnel and emergency responders. Effective preparedness and mitigation are fundamental to the reduction of exposure to the population and response forces. The Cooperative Hazardous Materials Enforcement Development (COHMED) Program provides the advanced hazardous materials (hazmat) and dangerous goods (DG) training that regulatory and enforcement inspectors need. This training goes significantly beyond basic hazardous materials training inspectors receive for certification purposes.
COHMED leadership is comprised of federal, state and local agencies, and industry from the United States and Canada. COHMED leadership works cooperatively with other federal and state agencies, enforcement personnel, emergency planning managers, responders, academic institutions, interest groups and private industry. COHMED is committed to:
- Improving hazardous materials transportation safety
- Fostering national uniformity in regulation and enforcement
- Sharing information on hazardous materials transportation issues and delivery of services
- Providing technical assistance, training and education to states and local governments to enhance existing programs and develop new ones to improve hazardous materials safety
An annual COHMED Conference is held every winter (January/February) to provide an opportunity to foster coordination, cooperation and communication between industry and federal, state and local agencies with regulatory and enforcement responsibility for the safe transportation of hazmat/DG. Many jurisdictions send their hazardous materials specialists and/or instructors to the annual COHMED Conference to receive specialized training.
The COHMED Conference:
- Offers focused hazardous materials training specific to both law enforcement and industry
- Provides training classes to help industry understand how to comply with regulations when traveling into Canada
- Provides a conduit for industry to present concerns/perspective about the enforcement of regulations
- Provides the opportunity to meet peers and industry partners, network and build better working relationships
- Offers the opportunity to provide input into future changes and regulations
COHMED was initiated in 1986 by the states, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA), which is now known as the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).
The next COHMED Conference will take place virtually Jan. 25-28, 2021.