This article presents a simple, seven-step approach for staying compliant with the HMRs. (Although U.S. and Canadian authorities offer reciprocity, this article will mirror U.S. regulatory compliance.)
Step 1: Classification & IdentificationThe shipper (consignor) is responsible for the proper classification, or description, of hazardous materials. An easy way to remember the shipping description is using the acronym â€œSHIPâ€:
S â€“ shipping name â€” Assigned to the hazmat by the regulations, it is not a trade name, rather the name found in the Hazardous Materials Table, 49 CFR Â§172.101. Proper shipping names are listed in Column 2, with bold-faced text, and descriptions in italics.
H â€“ hazard class â€” This refers to the type of danger. There are nine classes, further divided into divisions. An example would be Division 1 of Class 6 written as â€œClass 6.1.â€ In addition, some materials possess multiple hazards. The primary class represents the greater risk during transportation. The subsidiary (AKA secondary) risk designates all other dangers. For example, METHANOL is flammable and toxic; therefore, in the hazmat table, it would read (in Column 3) â€œClass 3 (6.1)â€ or â€œ3 (6.1).â€
I â€“ identification number â€” A four-digit numerical code preceded by the letters â€œUNâ€ or â€œNA.â€ UN numbers are taken from the international standard, while â€œNAâ€ numbers are used for domestic transportation only, assigned by the DOT.
P â€“ packing group â€” This refers to the severity of the hazard. More specifically, Column 5 (PG) in the table contains Roman numerals I (great danger), II (medium danger) or III (minor danger).
Step 2: PackagingInvariably, the only barrier between the hazardous material and the person carrying it is the package in which it resides. Packaging is divided into three basic groups, by size:
Non-bulk packaging is further classified as single, combination or composite packaging, per Â§171.8.