Hazardous Materials Enforcement
If you transport hazardous materials, you are subject to the Hazardous Material Regulations administered by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) in addition to the general safety regulations administered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These regulations can be found in 49 CFR, Parts 100 through 180 and cover items such as shipping papers; marking and labeling of packages; placarding of vehicles; and the proper packaging and securement of hazardous materials. The following items are common inspection items that are checked when performing hazardous materials inspections. A more in-depth inspection may be required depending on the product being shipped.
A shipping paper is any shipping document whose purpose is to communicate a hazard. Each person who offers hazardous materials for transportation shall describe the hazardous materials on a shipping paper that conforms to the requirements of the Hazardous Material Regulations. No carrier may transport a hazardous material unless it is accompanied by a shipping paper that is prepared in accordance with the Hazardous Material Regulations. Types of shipping papers used to describe hazardous materials might include bills of lading, invoices, manifests, or plain paper. The regulations applicable to Shipping Papers can be found in the Hazardous Materials Regulations Part 172 Subpart C. The Hazardous Material Regulations do not require a shipper to use a special form; however, it requires the proper information to be placed on the shipping papers in the proper sequence, as follows:
- 4-digit Identification Number
- Proper Shipping Name of the Material
- Hazard Class
- Packing Group (PG) of the Material (if applicable)
- Emergency Telephone Number (Monitored at all times the hazardous material is in transportation)
- Emergency Response Information (Emergency Response Guide Book or Safety Data Sheet)
A critical step in the safe handling and transportation of a hazardous material is the marking system. The marking system was designed to communicate several characteristics of hazardous material packaging. Markings are standard hazardous material identifiers, other than hazard labels and placards, that further describe the package. The regulations applicable to Marking can be found in the Hazardous Material Regulations Part 172 Subpart D. The Hazardous Material Regulations require the correct markings to be placed on hazardous material packaging prior to transportation.
A critical step in the safe handling and transportation of a hazardous material is the labeling system. The labeling system was designed to communicate several characteristics of hazardous material packaging. Labels are standard hazardous material identifiers that are designed to meet certain specifications and placed on packages, packaging, or overpacks. The regulations applicable to Labeling can be found in the Hazardous Material Regulations Part 172 Subpart E. The Hazardous Material Regulations require the correct labels to be placed on the hazardous material packaging prior to transportation.
A critical step in the safe handling and transportation of a hazardous material is the placarding system. Placards identifying primary and secondary hazards (if applicable) on vehicles and bulk packages. When placards are required on a vehicle, they must be displayed on all 4 sides of the vehicle and must be visible from the direction it faces. In addition to communicating the hazard, placard regulations can determine other compliance issues such as requiring a HAZMAT endorsement on a CDL, permitting, or whether other DOT regulations apply. The regulations applicable to Placarding can be found in the Hazardous Material Regulations Part 172 Subpart F. The Hazardous Material Regulations require the correct type and number of placards to be placed on the vehicle or bulk package prior to transportation. An empty cargo tank or portable tank which has been emptied of hazardous materials must remain placarded unless it has been cleaned of residue and purged of vapors, or has been refilled with a material which does not require placards.
A critical step in the safe handling and transportation of a hazardous material is the packaging system. Packaging requirements are based on the Packing Group of the material, its vapor pressure, and chemical compatibility between the package and the hazardous material. Containers used to transport hazardous materials must be built to international standards and properly marked and maintained as such (includes everything from cardboard boxes to cargo tanks). There may be additional requirements or exceptions to these items, depending on the material being transported, the amount of material in each package, and whether you are an interstate carrier or an intrastate-only carrier. Also be aware that while some requirements are the initial responsibility of the shipper of hazardous materials, final responsibility falls on the carrier to make sure these materials are not placed on the highway in violation of the regulations. General requirements for Packaging are contained in 49 CFR 171.2(g).
Hazardous Material Registration
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration requires motor carriers to obtain Hazardous Material Registration prior to transporting Hazardous Materials. A Hazardous Material Registration is required for:
- any highway route controlled quantity of a Class 7 (radioactive) material;
- more than 25 kg (55 lbs.) of a Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 (explosive) material in a motor vehicle, rail car or freight container;
- more than 1 L per package of a material extremely poisonous by inhalation;
- a hazardous material in a bulk packaging having a capacity of 3,500 gals. for liquids or gases, or more than 468 cubic feet for solids;
- a shipment in other than bulk packaging of 5,000 lbs. gross weight or more of one class of hazardous material for which the transport vehicle requires placarding;
- any quantity of materials requiring placarding.
- The following are excepted from the registration requirement:
- An agency of the Federal Government
- A State Agency
- An agency or political subdivision of a State
- An employee of (1)-(3)
- A hazmat employee (including an owner operator of a motor vehicle leased to a registered motor carrier for 30 days or more).
- A person domiciled outside the United States who offers hazardous material transportation solely from outside the United States. (See 49 CFR 107.606(a)(6) for exceptions and reciprocity.)
- Registration is required annually and includes a fee. For additional information on the registration requirement, you may call the US Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration at 1-800-467-4922 or (202) 366-4433.
Hazardous Material Permitting
After January 1, 2005, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires motor carriers to obtain a Hazardous Materials Safety Permit (HMSP) prior to transporting certain highly hazardous materials. An HMSP is required to transport any of the following materials:
- A highway route-controlled quantity of a Class 7 (radioactive) material;
- More than 25 kg (55 pounds) of a Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 (explosive) material or an amount of a Division 1.5 (explosive) material requiring placarding under 49 CFR 172;
- More than one liter (1.08 quarts) per package of a “material poisonous by inhalation,” that meets the criteria for “hazard zone A”;
- A “material poisonous by inhalation,” that meets the criteria for “hazard zone B,” in a bulk packaging (capacity greater than 460 L (119 gallons));
- A “material poisonous by inhalation,” that meets the criteria for “hazard zone C,” or “hazard zone D,” in a packaging having a capacity equal to or greater than 13,248 L (3,500 gallons); or
- A shipment of compressed or refrigerated liquefied methane or liquefied natural gas, or other liquefied gas with a methane content of at least 85 percent, in a bulk packaging having a capacity equal to or greater than 13,248 L (3,500 gallons).
Motor carriers will be required to apply for a HMSP the next time they are scheduled to file the MCS-150 form after January 1, 2005. All motor carriers, including interstate, intrastate and foreign carriers must comply with this regulation. General requirements for Hazardous Material Permitting are contained in 49 CFR 385.400. For more information you may call the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration at 202-385-2400.
Hazardous Materials Carrier Responsibility
This list above contains some of the major responsibilities of HM carriers. Carrier and offeror (shipper) responsibilities frequently overlap. When a motor carrier performs a shipper function, the carrier is responsible for performing that function in accordance with 49 CFR. The cargo space of the vehicle should be suitable for the material being shipped. The vehicle itself must be in sound mechanical condition. The carrier must check to ensure that the material offered by the shipper is properly described and packaged. In addition to the provisions of 49 CFR Parts 100-180, interstate motor carriers of placarded loads must comply with the hazardous materials requirements in 49 CFR Part 397 with regard to:
- Shipping Paper
- Placard and Mark Vehicle
- Loading and Unloading
- Blocking and Bracing
- Incident Reporting
- Security Plan
- Employee Training
Driving and Parking Rules
In addition to the Hazardous Material Regulations, motor carriers and drivers must comply with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations found in 49 CFR Part 397.
For more specific requirements, carriers and shippers should consult the most current edition of 49 CFR Parts 100-185. Motor carriers should also consult the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.