With the amount of hazardous materials being transported every day, It is no surprise that dangerous goods shippers may struggle to be compliant. Whether it is a misinterpretation of the regulations, or not knowing that a specific regulation exists, the end result is the same, fines and endangering the safety of others. Below are some common mistakes when shipping dangerous goods.
1. Failure to Use UN Specification Packaging:
Shipping dangerous goods isn’t as easy as throwing it in a box and taping it closed. Depending on the specific hazardous substance, there are regulations in place that tell us what type of packaging is acceptable. These regulations will also tell us if the hazardous substance requires UN Specification packaging or not, depending on the quantity. Your best bet would be to always err on the side of caution when packaging dangerous goods and make sure your understanding of the regulations is correct.
49 CFR 173.24, Subsection 5.12(1) of the TDG Regulations.
2. Improper Marking and Labeling of Packages in Shipment:
The exact violation will differ with each shipment, however, whatever the violation is they all have one thing in common: a misunderstanding of the Hazardous Material Regulations (HMR) and how they apply to the hazardous materials you are shipping. It is the responsibility of the shipper to ensure the package is marked and labeled correctly. Section 4.10 of the TDG regulations, 172.400 49 CFR.
3. Failure to Follow Closure Instructions and to Maintain Them in Accordance with DOT:
Inaccurate record keeping is one of the most frequently occurring violations assessed by the Department of Transportation. The Hazardous Materials Regulations require shippers to maintain a copy of the manufacturer’s notification, including closure instructions (See 178.2(c)(1)(i)(B) of the 49 CFR and clause 4.4 of TP14850), unless it is permanently embossed or printed on the packaging itself. The packaging closure instructions must be available for inspection by a DOT representative upon request for the time period of the packaging’s periodic retest date.
4. Failure to Train Hazmat Employees:
The terms “hazmat employee” and “hazmat employer” are clearly defined in 49 CFR 171.8. Stated briefly, a hazmat employee is anyone who directly affects hazardous materials transportation safety, and a hazmat employer is anyone who uses employees in connection with transporting hazardous materials in commerce, causing hazardous materials to be transported, or manufacturing or offering packaging as authorized for use in transportation of hazardous materials. Section 6.2 of the TDG Regulations.
Before any employee begins working with dangerous goods, that person must be provided function-specific training applicable to the functions of the job that they perform. Also, if a new regulation is adopted, or an existing regulation is changed that relates to a function performed by a hazmat employee, that hazmat employee first must be instructed in those new or revised function-specific requirements. 172.704 (a)(2)(i) 49 CFR.
5. Failure to register with PHMSA:
Federal Hazardous material transportation law requires a person who offers for transportation certain hazardous materials, to file a registration statement with the U.S Department of Transportation and to pay an annual registration fee. The registration regulations are found at 49 CFR 107.601-107.620.
As always, if you have any questions regarding shipping dangerous goods contact ICC Compliance Center at 1.888.442.9628 (USA) or 1.888.977.4834 (Canada).