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Hazmat Transportation: Handle with Care


Transporting hazmat freight is far more complex than simply sending it on its way and being done with it. Hazardous transportation is highly regulated and comes with many rules that carriers and shippers must comply with.

Carriers that ship and transport hazardous materials require their employees to be educated and trained on the matter. In addition, adequate processes and protocols are a necessity for safe shipping.

To send a shipment with hazardous materials, shippers should provide the carrier with the following information:

  1. Shipping name: This is typically the name of the chemical.
  2. Hazard class: This tells the carrier in which of the nine classes the hazard material belongs (listed below).
  3. Packing group: Tells which group the material falls under. I is great danger, II is medium danger, III is minor danger. However, certain commodities don’t have assigned packing groups.
  4. Identification number: Consult with your Freight Agent if you're unsure. 
  5. Telephone number: The number given should be checked 24/7 while the hazardous material is being shipped.
  6. Mass/Volume: This indicates the quantity of hazardous materials covered in the description, followed by an accurate unit of measurement.
  7. Emergency response information: This includes the immediate hazard threat of the material, the risk of fire or explosion and the precautions to be taken in the event of a spill, leak, etc.
  8. Additional descriptive information: This might include special permits, a notice saying the substance is poisonous or toxic, among other information.

The U.S. Department of Transportation categorizes hazardous materials into the following nine classes:

  1. Explosives
  2. Flammable liquids and combustible liquids
  3. Gases
  4. Corrosive Materials
  5. Flammable solids, spontaneously combustible and dangerous when wet
  6. Oxidizers and organic peroxides
  7. Poisons (toxic) and poison inhalation hazards
  8. Radioactive materials
  9. Miscellaneous

Shipping hazardous materials can be just that – hazardous. But, with the right procedures in place, accidents can be prevented, ensuring the safety of everyone involved.