Supply Management Services Central Receiving and Delivery

HazMat Handling

US Department of Transportation Definition of “Hazardous Material”

According to the US DOT, a hazardous material is defined as “…a substance or material, which has been determined by the Secretary of Transportation to be capable of posing an unreasonable risk to health, safety, and property when transported in commerce, and which has been so designated”.

Hazardous Materials Regulations

There are many products we come into contact with on a daily basis that are dangerous. Some pose little risk while others can have catastrophic affects on people, property and the environment. Increasing attention is being given to the problems associated with the handling of what has become known as hazardous materials (HAZMAT) or dangerous goods (DG). The government started regulating certain chemicals (explosives, oxidizers) in the 1800ís during the civil war. In 1966 congress established the Department of Transportation (DOT). The DOT was made responsible for hazardous materials transportation. In 1974 congress passed The Hazardous Materials Transportation Act. This act gave the secretary of transportation the authority to identify and regulate all modes of hazardous materials transportation. Over time the regulations have become more stringent and inclusive to the point that it has become impossible for the untrained person to handle or ship HAZMAT safely and within the law.


  • Provide a means for ensuring the safe transportation of hazardous materials.
  • Establish requirements for identifying, packaging, loading/unloading and transporting hazardous materials and communicating these hazards to others.
  • Apply to all hazardous materials transported in commerce. Any person who performs an activity in support of hazardous materials being transported in commerce must be compliant with D.O.T. requirements.
  • Compliance is the law and must be complied with whenever shipping or offering hazardous materials for shipment. D.O.T. HAZARDOUS MATERIALS REGULATIONS ARE NOT NEW. The hazardous material transportation act was passed in 1974.
  • There is an incentive program for compliance in: 49 C.F.R 107.301 – 339

    Criminal: willful disregard and endangerment of the public or environment.
    Penalties: up to $500,000 per day for corporations. Up to $250,000 per day for individuals. Up to 5 years imprisonment.

    Civil: Any violation other than criminal.
    Penalties: Up to $32,500 per day, per violation (11 violations possible on the shipping paper alone) and a $275 minimum.

  • All hazardous materials employees must be trained and tested per Title 49 code of federal regulations part 172 subpart H.

    A hazardous materials employee is any person who:

    1. Determines hazard class of material
    2. Selects packaging for material
    3. Fills packaging with material
    4. Secures closures on packaging
    5. Marks packaging
    6. Labels packaging
    7. Prepares dangerous goods declarations
    8. Provides and maintains dangerous goods emergency response information
    9. Reviews dangerous goods shipping papers for compliance
    10. Persons importing dangerous goods into the U.S. must provide shipper and forwarding agent at place of entry into U.S. with information as to the requirements of the Hazardous Material Regulations (HMR) that apply to the shipment while in the U.S.
    11. Certifies that a HAZMAT is in proper condition for transportation in conformance with the requirements of the HMR
    12. Blocks and braces a HAZMAT package in a freight container or transport vehicle
    13. Segregates HAZMAT in a transport vehicle from incompatible cargo
    14. Selects, provides or affixes placards for a transport vehicle
  • Hazardous materials employers are responsible for ensuring that each employee receives the required training.
  • There are four areas of training:
    1. General awareness/familiarization
    2. Function specific
    3. Safety
    4. Security training
      Retraining and retesting is required at least every 3 years.
  • Driver training 49 C.F.R. 177.816 (c) must be performed for any person who transports any quantity of hazardous materials. Size or type of vehicle has no bearing in the applicability of this requirement. A commercial driver license becomes required when we haul placard amounts of hazardous material.

Please contact Ryan at the office of Research Assurance for more information.