Containing Your Hazardous Material in Transit


There may be a time when you are required to ship a hazardous material. Relinquishing possession of a substance that could potentially harm a person or the environment requires special attention. You, as the shipper, are responsible for the safety and security of that material. There can be legal ramifications if you violate the U.S. Department of Transportation regulations. However, upon investigation, you might find the necessary US DOT training and certification to be relatively straightforward.

What Is Hazmat?

U.S. Federal Regulations offer a Hazardous Materials Table where you can classify your hazardous material, or hazmat, and view the specific standards regarding its transportation. Hazmats may include but are not limited to:

  • Lithium batteries
  • Dry ice and liquid nitrogen
  • Biomedical
  • Dangerous chemicals
  • Radioactive substances

Also, be aware that if your hazmat is a Chemical of Interest that could potentially be a security risk, additional Department of Homeland Security concerns apply.

Proper Packaging

The hazard classification will determine the proper packaging necessary to transport your product safely. The quantity of your material may affect what packaging is most appropriate. At this point, securing competent authority approval for your packaging can help certify that it meets regulatory requirements.

Find a Carrier

A correctly packaged hazmat can only be transported by a carrier that has been issued a safety permit by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. It is generally a good idea to contact your transporter directly to coordinate the pickup and delivery of your particular hazmat so that it is shipped safely and expediently. If your shipment’s destination is outside the U.S., be on the lookout for special requirements for imports and exports.

Hazardous materials have become a part of everyday life. Proper attention to the rules regarding your specific hazmat can help make sure that the hazard stays inside the box until your recipient is ready to take it out.