The most frequently asked questions of the LPS Industries HAZMAT team involve shipping regulations for hazardous materials. The answers to the majority of these inquiries require understanding the regulations behind Combination Packages, which is defined below. The following is an overview of the some of the most common HAZMAT questions asked by LPS customers. Please note that the answers in and of themselves are not intended to be used as a guide for compliance. Several useful resources that provide information about regional and global regulations covering the transport of hazardous materials are indicated below.
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What kind of packaging do I need for a hazardous material?
To ship a hazardous material, the package offered to the carrier must be designed and tested in accordance with specific regulations. Based on the danger level of the hazard and the mode of transportation, each specific hazard requires a specific level of protection during transit and is assigned a maximum quantity allowed to be shipped.
What is a Combination Package?
Performance-Oriented Combination Packages are used to ship via parcel carriers such as UPS and FedEx. Manufacturers design these packs around a specific primary container to hold the hazardous material. A strong outer packaging is required to protect the inner container, and specially designed inner components are used to cushion and stabilize the primary container inside the outer carton. Specifications for these components are contained within the regulations. All three sets of components must be used together to ensure proper protection.
The packs are tested in a laboratory to ensure they can withstand the kind of handling they will receive during transit. Tests are conducted for ground, air, domestic and international transportation in compliance with prescribed testing methods and procedures. The testing procedure is part of a set of broader regulations that apply to all domestic and international shipments of hazardous materials. After passing the tests, the packs are printed with markings that signify a successfully tested package.
Who develops the regulations, and what is their scope?
The regulations for design, testing and use of hazardous material packaging are published by the U.S. Government and the United Nations. Domestic shipments are regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Code of Federal Regulations, Title 49 (49CFR). Airline shipments have additional regulations maintained by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR).
Shipments of hazardous materials must be made in packages designed, tested and manufactured in accordance with these regulations. The Hazardous Material Tables, published in the DOT 49CFR and the IATA DGR, designate the maximum quantity and type of protection for each hazard allowed in transit.
Who is ultimately responsible for package integrity and safety of a shipment?
The ultimate responsibility for package integrity and safety belongs to the Shipper. To avoid spills, accidents or injuries, the shipper must prepare, assemble and close the package in a prescribed manner and in compliance with the manufacturer’s closure instructions. The closure instructions must be followed exactly. They contain the specific procedure used to prepare the package for testing and must be repeated by the shipper to insure safety during transit.
However, the shipper’s obligations don’t end with the closure. The shipper is required to follow a wide range of regulations, covering every aspect of protecting the hazard in transit. For example, marking and labeling the package must be performed according the prescribed regulations for the hazard and the carrier being used. Also, based on the hazard and carrier, there may be additional requirements for containment and cushioning inside the package.
Where do I find the regulations?
The complete set of regulations can be found in the US DOT 49CFR Parts 100 – 185 and the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations. For immediate help with a shipment, or questions about regulations, the US DOT Helpline in Washington, DC can be reached at 1-800-467-4922.
The agency charged with administering the US Department of Transportation Hazmat Regulations is the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration. Their website is www.phmsa.dot.gov.
As an agency of the United Nations, The International Civil Aviation Organization maintains regulations for shipping internationally via air. They are published by the airline trade group, The International Air Transport Association (IATA). Their website is www.iata.org.
For more information, visit: https://www.lpsind.com/hazardous-material-packaging/