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What to know about hazardous materials shipping and training
December 8, 2020

If your company handles hazardous material in any way, it’s crucial that you receive proper training to ensure the safety of your employees and the environment. Hazardous materials shipping training is required to maintain a safe workplace for your employees and those who will be handling hazardous material as it’s shipped. CARGOpak offers training that is designed to fit the needs of your company and fulfill the training requirements that have been set by the Department of Transportation. We’ve provided a basic outline of what you and your employees need to know about hazardous materials shipping. Comprehensive training by CARGOpak will ensure that your team is trained according to your unique needs.

What is considered hazardous material (hazmat)?

Any item that’s a solid, liquid, or gas that can harm a person, any living organism, the environment, or property when improperly handled, stored, or shipped is considered to be hazardous materials, or hazmat. It’s critical that your company is properly trained in the shipping of materials in order to avoid potential danger and incur fines for your company.

What are the hazmat classes?

There are nine classifications of hazardous (or dangerous) materials. These nine classes are as follows:

  • Class 1: Explosives—products are likely to explode under certain conditions.
  • Class 2: Gases—gases that are dangerous when inhaled or make contact with a surface.
  • Class 3: Flammable liquids—liquids that will ignite upon making contact with fire.
  • Class 4: Flammable solids—solids that will ignite upon making contact with fire.
  • Class 5: Oxidizers/organic peroxides—chemicals that readily yield oxygen in reactions and cause or enhance combustion.
  • Class 6: Toxic and infectious substances—can cause death, serious injury, or harm to humans if swallowed or inhaled.
  • Class 7: Radioactive material—materials spontaneously give off ionizing radiation.
  • Class 8: Corrosives—causes irreversible alteration or visible destruction to human skin, steel, or aluminum.
  • Class 9: Miscellaneous hazardous materials—products present a hazard but are not included in another class.

Materials that fall under any of the above-mentioned classes must meet requirements as outlined in hazardous materials shipping training.

How should I label hazardous material?

Prior to shipping any hazmat, it must be properly identified and classified. A safety data sheet (SDS) must be provided to assist whoever is handling the material. The proper label as outlined in the SDS must be fixed to the outside of the appropriate packaging, which depends on the type of hazmat that’s being shipped. For some liquids, a plastic drum is sufficient while others might require an aluminum drum. It’s recommended that an SDS is consulted with each material to ensure that all shipping regulations are met.

Additional requirements must be met if dangerous material is to be transported by water or by air. Standards establish by the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG) and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) are widely accepted as proper guidelines for transport.

Who will ship hazardous materials?

The four major US parcel carriers USPS, UPS, FedEx, and DHL offer hazmat shipping. Though each has individual rules according to national and international restrictions.

What are common mistakes made with hazardous materials shipping?

When it comes to hazardous materials shipping, you can never be too careful. Common mistakes that are made in handling hazmat are things like altering packaging to save money on shipping, not providing enough cushioning or absorbent material, improper sealing of packaging, and incomplete declarations on shipping papers. While these mistakes are common, it doesn’t mean that they’re at all OK or safe. Proper hazardous materials shipping training is the key to ensuring a safe and proper environment when working with hazmat.

What are the penalties for non-compliance when shipping hazardous material?

Civil penalties can be assessed by the Department of Transportation based on the type of violation. A maximum penalty of $75,000 can be assessed for knowingly violating federal hazmat laws. Additionally, a penalty of $450 is a minimum for training violations.

Contact CARGOpak for comprehensive training

In order to meet compliance regulations, individuals who ship hazmat must be rectified every two years. Contact CARGOpak today to schedule training for your team. We’ll assemble a custom hazardous materials shipping training that fits the needs of your company and employees.

Image of an employee shipping dangerous goods.