Dangerous Goods Excellence

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The 501 CSW Dangerous Goods Program is about five years old now and is managed by the Wing Dangerous Goods Advisor, Mr. Richard Stephen, a Local National Direct Hire employee who works in the Logistics office at RAF Alconbury. This complex program includes the storage and movement of all hazardous material, hazardous waste and clinical waste, and is governed by European regulations. Movement is generally within the United Kingdom, but personnel are trained to consign or drive Dangerous Goods (DG) shipments throughout Europe. This means that many US personnel, both military and civilian along with their UK and Norwegian counterparts have to undergo additional training to meet this requirement. Trained personnel cover the requirements for transporting DG via road, sea and air transportation, along with separate driver qualifications, in the basic Driver, Road Tanker Driver and Class 1 Explosives Driver courses. To complete the requirement we also offer DG Technical Expert training for on base hazardous waste Accumulation Point Managers/Operators. One thing for sure is that DG regulations are very intense, but the wing currently has about 150 trained persons to cover the many missions involved in the wing. This works out fairly evenly at around 50 trained DG certifiers, who are authorized to release DG onto the public roads, 55 drivers, who are authorized to convey DG on the public roads, and nearly 50 DG technical experts who receive training which enables them to recognize the chemicals that they will come into contact with.

Although the many regulations can appear intimidating, simple formulas ease the requirement and by referencing the appropriate regulations, one can soon arrive at the correct answer. DG movements, either by road, sea or air are governed by quantities which are either above or below a certain threshold. For movements above the threshold, each consignment must be approved by a DG certifier, driven by a DG driver and in a vehicle that is approved for transporting DG. The wing has about 22 registered DG vehicles which either transport explosives or aviation fuel.  Such vehicles are themselves the subject of an annual recertification process. DG staff are knowledgeable not only on the products to be shipped but also on the availability of DG vehicles. It is sometimes the case that explosives are transported by authorized DG contractors, although the possibility for additional DG vehicles for the wing is under consideration.

DG staff are spread across the seven units that make up the wing. For DG purposes, each unit is led by a Unit Dangerous Goods Advisor (DGA) who oversees events at that unit. The Unit DGA also reports to the Wing DGA on inbound & outbound movements of DG, as well as movements of hazardous waste and clinical waste. This often means contact with waste contractors with supporting documents is of prime importance in the process. Each chemical, gas, explosive or similar product is formally recognized by a unique United Nations number which properly identifies the substance and allows DG to properly control and ship items. Unit DGA's are required to record both turnover of DG and advise the Wing DGA on persons requiring DG training. Such information is submitted in the form of an annual report to USAFE A4 via the Wing Commander and I do assure you that we move much more DG material than you might think.

The 501st DG program answers to the Command DG office at Ramstein, which falls under USAFE A4. Annual conferences and workshops, in which many updates and amendments to the DG program are formally announced, are held both at Ramstein Air Base and the UK. As such the Wing DGA offers mandatory annual DG refresher training to all personnel who hold a DG qualification. Therefore the Wing DGA is responsible for providing training, refresher training, annual inspections and Commander briefings. There are around 11 Wing/Installation DGA's situated in Germany, UK, Italy, Azores and Turkey. In addition the 501 CSW Dangerous Goods Advisor has joined the Inspector General team as a Wing Inspection Team member and is responsible for all DG inspections across the wing.

The wing DG program reports via the LG office directly to the Wing Commander, and during the last Unit Effectiveness Inspection was recognized twice by the IG for our outstanding performers, specifically Mr. Richard Stephen, the Wing DG Program Manager, and TSgt Matthew McGuinn, 420 MUNS Unit DGA. The 501 CSW DG program is held in high esteem, a fact that was borne out at the recent annual DG conference at Ramstein, where the wing's DG program was voted “The best in USAFE.” This award clearly reflects the hard work and dedication of all DG professionals within the wing.