Compliant Pro
If your plan neglects airbags, you fall short of meeting compliance mandates. ARA Pro gives members an easy way to meet federal guideline.
ARA members take pride in the quality of their work, reputation, and the parts they sell. They generally go above and beyond what is required for certifications, such as Certified Automotive Recycler (C.A.R.) or Gold Seal, and comply with federal regulation on the environment, HazMat, and other areas. 
 Forward thinking companies should make airbag protocol a mandatory part of safety training, because it is a viable profit center – and it is part of compliance law.

ARAPro™ Airbag Protocol, a product of ARA Product Services LLC, is the automotive recycling industry standard for extraction, handling, and inspecting non-deployed OEM airbags. This is a voluntary standard for recyclers selling airbags and it offers auto recyclers a one-stop shop for all of their airbag needs, including, easy-to-use, 24-hour, web-based training, testing, and certification for technicians handling both airbags and hazardous materials.

ARAPro™ is available through, and is very affordable for ARA members, at only $99 per year, per yard. State affiliated chapter members can join for a slightly higher rate of $129 per year, per yard.

“The purpose of ARAPro™ is to ensure best practices are employed when processing these parts,” said Peter Byrne, who manages the ARAPro™ Program for ARA Product Services LLC, with nearly 20 years experience in the airbag industry, including several years with TRW, the largest U.S. airbag maker. “The emphasis is on safety for the employees and making sure the airbags are not changed as they are handled in the recycling process. Airbags are regulated materials. All employers shipping airbags in commerce are required to train and test their employees. The Department of Transportation is actively enforcing these regulations. ARAPro™ offers thorough, practical, cost-effective training.”

Because it is web-based, no travel is required and you do not have to pay to bring a trainer in to your yard. There is no limit to the number of employees or part-time employees who may be trained under the system. All you need is access to the Web. The Web site offers 24 hour, seven days per week, access to both airbag and HazMat training and testing for employees.

How ARAPro™ Works

There are two parts to the program: Airbag Protocol and Hazardous Materials training and testing (required to ship airbags in commerce). ARAPro™ is an elective industry standard option for auto recyclers.

The hazardous materials training and testing, however, is not voluntary for shipping airbag modules in commerce. If you ship airbag modules, as the majority of auto recyclers do, a federal requirement is imposed on an employer to train and test employees in hazardous material regulations. These modules are regulated and designated hazardous materials by the Department of Transportation.  

ARAPro™ offers the only formal recycled airbag extraction, handling, and inspection results database in the industry. Once an employee has read all the material on airbags, hazardous materials, they can take the test and must earn a score of 100% in order to obtain the certification. An employee can re-take the test as many times as needed.

“The employer can have all of his or her employees take the training and certification, or a few,” said Byrne. “They are all covered in the $99 annual membership fee. They may re-take the tests as often as needed to get the required 100%. If they have to re-take the test, even more than once, it won’t be time wasted because they are learning more each time and thus, ensuring a safer work environment.”

Personalized certificates can be created for employees who pass the airbag and hazmat tests. Certification, in the case of hazardous materials, is valid for three years while airbag certification is good for one year.

The original vision for ARAPro™ was to make OE recycled airbags more marketable to insurance companies for insurance paid collision repairs. “However,” said Byrne, “the official policy of insurance companies is to only use new airbags. Regardless of the insurer’s position, ARAPro™ helps recyclers standardize their airbag related operations, track inspection records, and ensure employees are airbag trained, certified, and safe.”

Marketing Airbags

“The recycled airbag market is substantial,” says Byrne. “Our Web site has an airbag meter that estimates the number of inquiries made about airbags. We reckon that about once every 19 seconds, someone makes an electronic inquiry about recycled airbags!”

Recyclers who take and pass the airbag and HazMat training (including the required security awareness training) are able to use the ARAPro™ brand to further differentiate themselves from others selling airbags. They can refer their body shop customers to ARAPro™ airbag part search, a special search engine that pulls up only those with ARAPro™ certification. This narrows the search for a potential buyer while increasing the odds of a sale for the recycler. 

“I acknowledge that compliance with the law places time and cost restraints on a recycler and that it seems like they are being punished for obeying the law while there are people re-selling airbags and shipping them via the U.S. Postal Service,” says Byrne.

Benefits of ARAPro™

While recyclers follow the regulations on HazMat materials, other non-recyclers are selling airbags online. Seemingly skirting the rules, some send airbags through the U.S. mail, failing to declare them as hazardous materials, and using non-approved packaging; all of which are clear violations of federal regulations. “It’s my hope that the people enforcing the federal law on hazardous materials will turn their attention away from the law-abiding and focus on the non-law abiding offenders,” Byrne comments.

The ARAPro™ Airbag Protocol program offers these features to participating recyclers:

• Web-based training for yard employees in airbag basics, inspection and safety.
• Multiple choice tests for employees after they complete the self paced training.
• Inspection procedure which guides the technician on the checks to make on each airbag and automatically stores the results in a relational database.
• Certificate of Conformance listing the checks performed on the airbag to be included with the part and kept on file.
• Hazardous Materials training.
• Personalized certificates for both Airbag and Hazardous Materials training for employees who successfully pass the tests.
• ARAPro™ part search engine, in collaboration with, filters search results listing only airbags from ARAPro™ member recyclers.

Tips for Airbags

The program’s home page,, contains information on the training program. “Guidelines for Use of OEM Non-Deployed Airbags” is a free downloadable PDF full of safety tips.

Another feature of the airbag inspection software is the real time Airbag Recall Check. At the touch of a button, the software checks the government airbag recall notices and immediately warns the technician if a recall campaign is in place, saving time, effort, and adding to customer satisfaction. 

The ARAPro™ brand provides body shop and consumer’s assurance. For more information, visit or e-mail Peter Byrne at

Michelle Keadle-Taylor is a freelance writer based in Northern Virginia

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