Over 800,000 hazmat materials ship daily in the United States. That’s a lot of shipments!
Hazardous materials transportation is essential to many industries, including construction, agriculture, and healthcare.
Transporting hazardous materials can be dangerous if not done right. The US Department of Transportation has many rules and regulations on hazmat shipments.
Do you know how to stay compliant when shipping dangerous items? Keep reading to learn six tips for transporting hazardous materials.
What Materials Are Hazardous?
The first thing you need to know is what, exactly, counts as a hazardous material. The Department of Transportation (DOT) has a pretty comprehensive list. But some of the most common materials considered dangerous are:
- Toxic chemicals
- Flammable liquids
- Corrosive materials
Of course, this is a small sampling of what the DOT considers to be a hazardous material. Visit the US Department of Transportation’s site for a full list of hazmat materials.
You need to be aware of what materials you’re transporting, even if they don’t seem dangerous at first glance. Nail polish remover, for example, is a flammable liquid, and certain types of batteries are corrosive.
If you’re transporting any of these materials or anything else that could be hazardous, you should take the proper precautions.
Tip #1: Know the Rules and Regulations
You must be aware of the laws surrounding transporting hazardous materials. Familiarize yourself with the rules and requirements the Department of Transportation (DOT) set forth.
Make sure you have the proper permits and licenses before transporting any hazardous materials. Keep track of all the paperwork associated with transporting hazardous materials. That includes bills of lading, manifests, and shipping papers.
Be sure to label all containers of hazardous materials clearly and accurately. Be aware of the placarding requirements for transporting dangerous materials. It involves placing signs outside the vehicle to state what type of hazmat material is inside.
Familiarize yourself with the emergency response procedures for transporting hazardous material. That includes knowing how to deal with a spill or leak and being aware of the emergency contact information for the DOT.
Tip #2: Always Label and Package Correctly
Once you know what materials are hazardous, the next step is to ensure they’re correctly labeled and packaged. This is crucial for both the safety of those transporting the materials and for anyone who may come into contact with the materials along the way.
Labeling is vital for a few reasons. First, it lets anyone who comes into contact with the material know that it’s dangerous and needs to be handled with care. Second, it helps ensure that the materials get transported safely. Proper labeling and packaging will help to prevent accidents and spills.
Here are a few tips for proper labeling and handling hazardous packaging materials:
- Make sure the labels are visible and legible
- Use the correct type of label for the material you’re transporting
- Make sure the packaging is secure
- Follow all DOT regulations
- Keep track of the material’s end date
Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you’re unsure how to label or package material, err on caution.
You must provide a Product Data Safety Sheet (SDS) for each hazardous product you’re transporting. Whoever is shipping your items needs an updated safety sheet on the nature of the hazard. It should include what to do in case of an accident and the first-aid procedures for each product.
In terms of packaging, you’ll want to use containers that are
- Strong enough to hold the material without leaking
- In good condition (no holes, cracks, or dents)
- Appropriately sized for the amount of material you’re transporting
- Closed and sealed tight
- Proper labeling
For more information on labeling and packaging, check out this guide from the DOT.
Tip #3: Use the Proper Equipment
When transporting hazardous materials, it’s essential to use the proper equipment. That includes using the correct type of container and label.
Do not neglect to wear safety gear when transporting hazardous materials. That includes gloves, goggles, and a respirator if necessary. It is the employer’s responsibility to provide PPE.
Using the proper type of vehicle for transporting hazardous materials is also essential. Ensure the vehicle is in good condition and that you properly equip it to transport hazmat materials.
Tip #4: Train Your Employees
If you have employees who will be transporting hazardous materials, it’s essential to train them properly. They should be familiar with the DOT regulations and the proper procedures for transporting hazmat materials.
Make sure they know how to properly load and unload the materials and deal with a spill or leak. Review the emergency response procedures with them and ensure they know how to reach the DOT in case of an incident.
You should have systems in place for employees to follow. That minimizes the risk of mistakes and ensures everyone is on the same page.
Create a system of checks and balances so that everything is done correctly. Make sure you have strict consequences for non-compliance.
Tip #5: Inspect Everything
Before transporting any hazardous materials, it’s essential to inspect them. Check the containers to make sure they’re in good condition and that the labels are accurate.
Inspect the material itself to ensure it hasn’t expired and that it’s still safe to transport. For example, if you’re transporting food, make sure it hasn’t spoiled.
Inspect all the equipment you’ll be using to transport the materials. That includes the vehicle and any safety gear.
Tip #6: Choose Trucking Services Qualified for Transporting Hazardous Materials
Once your hazardous materials are labeled and packaged, you need to find a trucking company that can transport them safely. But transporting hazardous materials requires a specific qualification from the US Department of Transportation.
At Patriot Freight, we specialize in transporting dangerous materials. We are hazmat compliant and certified by the DOT. We have a team of experienced professionals trained in transporting hazardous materials.
We are fully trained and certified to transport the following:
- Poisonous Material
You can trust us to safely transport your hazardous materials and comply with all DOT regulations.
Stay Hazmat Compliant When Transporting Hazardous Materials
DOT regulations can be daunting, but they are in place for a reason. Following the labeling and packaging guidelines and planning for safety can avoid costly fines and protect your products from damage.
Working with a hazmat-compliant shipper will ensure that your products are delivered safely and on time. When transporting hazardous materials, choose Patriot Freight.
Here at Patriot Freight, we dedicate ourselves to providing the best possible service to our clients. Contact us today for more information on our trucking solutions and logistics services.