Most shippers and transporters of hazardous materials associate the familiar small orange Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG) with compliance with HazMat Regulations (49 CFR), using it to provide emergency response information for a hazmat shipment. That is not really why the ERG was created.
The ERG was originally developed for use by first responders on site at transportation incidents involving hazardous materials/dangerous goods. The ERG provides quick identification of the hazard(s) of the materials and helps them to protect themselves and the general public during the initial response phase of an incident.
With few exceptions, HazMat Regulations require that emergency response information accompany shipments of hazardous materials for availability at the scene of an incident. The ERG is just one of the ways the emergency response information can be provided.
Emergency responders are familiar with the ERG because OSHA and EPA regulations require training on the use of the ERG. So, although not the original intended use, keeping an ERG with the hazmat shipping papers is an easy way to comply with the requirements in the HazMat Regulations, that the emergency response information be readily available to, and recognizable by, authorities in the event of an incident or inspection.
Many carriers play it safe and carry an ERG in their vehicles to cover any hazmat load/situation that they may encounter.
The ERG is updated and issued every four years. The new ERG is anticipated to be released in early 2016. Anyone who works with hazmat, including shippers, carriers, and emergency responders will want the new 2016 ERG to be sure they have the updated emergency response information.
Though not yet available ERGs may be pre-ordered in the MoTA estore, THE truckerStore. Orders will not be invoiced until shipping begins in the spring.