Hazmat placard regulations; The Ultimate guide

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This is probably one of the most thorough guides you’ll read on the net about hazmat placard regulations and it’s a crowd favorite.

Updated for 2020

Two things have remained consistent over the years with DOT placarding:

  1. No major regulatory updates have occurred for placarding; The basics are the same.
  2. Just about everyone from multi-million dollar shippers and carriers, owner operators and drivers are still confused about this subject.

Here’s why;

Hazmat placard regulations on the surface seem simple, but they’re not (I guess we have attorneys and lobbyists to thank for that)

The purpose of this guide is to show you how to check compliance without expensive software or the next fancy pants phone app.

The thing is, once you understand how to check compliance, it’s really not that hard.If you’re a company that has its own  hazmat training program, this is a topic you should spend more time on, it can save you some headaches in the end.

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Why Hazmat Placards Matter

Besides communicating the hazard, hazmat placards can determine other compliance issues such as:

  • Whether or not you need  a hazmat endorsement on a CDL
  • Additional Federal and State permits, 
  • How many DOT regulations get applied to you.

Applying the wrong placards to the load, not displaying enough of them or displaying them improperly, can potentially get you placed out of service under CVSA guidelines. Of course if you’re placed out of service, it can cost you time or money, or both.

Did I mention CSA points? Yep, you’ll rack up a bunch of those too. In fact, add two extra points if your placed out of service.

Three basic things that determine DOT placards

For basic placarding purposes, there are three key pieces of information that you need to know right under your nose – in fact, right on the paperwork that was handed to you.

Every shipment contains these  key pieces of information. Identifying this information and knowing how to use it  will go a long way to determining placards and checking compliance.

Reading A Hazmat Shipping Paper

Now that we have an idea of what information we need, let’s take a look at some paperwork.

hazmat shipping papers

In the picture, we see a shipping paper with two hazardous materials that are highlighted. The shipping papers list the following:

  • Hypochlorite Solution (a fancy term for bleach)
  • Corrosive Liquid Basic, Inorganic

Those are called “proper shipping names” in the regulations.

These three pieces of information that we need to know are:

  • The hazard class and/or division (if a division is appropriate);
  • Total Weight of each hazardous material; 
  • The type of package that it’s in, either bulk or non bulk.

Now that we’ve taken a look at our hazmat shipping paper, let’s take a look at each of these a bit closer.  

DOT Hazard Classes and Divisions

The hazard class is required to be listed right after the proper shipping name. In this case, the material is in hazard class is 8 (which is a corrosive) for each of the materials listed on the shipping paper.

If you’re familiar with placards (which means you probably already have your endorsement) or you’re just starting to learn about them, let’s go back to the basics to help you get started. The hazard class is also the number you see at the bottom or “home plate” of any DOT placard or hazmat label..If it’s hard to see on the shipping paper, hazard class  8 is right after the word “solution” in the proper shipping name for “Hypochlorite Solution” and right after the words “Sodium Hydroxide” shown in parentheses for Corrosive Liquid.

hazard class on shipping papers
Hazard class for this material is Corrosive 8

Knowing the hazard class will help find the right placard that will go with the hazardous material listed on the shipping paper. 

Think of a hazard class or division as a category (or bucket) for  hazardous material. Divisions are subcategories of a hazard class. 

Hazard Class Divisions

This is because some hazardous materials have different levels of risk associated with them.

Hazard classes 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 all have sub categories or divisions (meaning they’re further divided)

For example:

Flammable materials have a hazard class of 3 – There is no further division.

Explosives are further broken down into divisions because of their many types –

1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, and 1.6

This is because there is a varying degree of risk when dealing with explosives. TNT (1.1) is more unstable and makes a bigger boom than bullets for your guns (1.4)

Gases (hazard class 2) are divided into 3 divisions: Flammable gas, non-flammable compressed gas and poison gas

See how it works?

dot hazard classes

It’s good to get acquainted with hazard classes and divisions, you’ll see them all over the place when it comes to hazmat compliance no matter what mode you’re shipping in (ground, air or water)

They’re on shipping papers, placards, labels just to name a few places.

Also, get familiar with the names for each hazard class. It’s helpful to know that hazard class 3 refers to materials that are flammable or that hazard class 2 refers to materials that are gases.

Think about this;

Wouldn’t it be nice to know what’s parked next to you or what you’re parking next to. You might want to reconsider parking right next to someone that’s hauling poison gas. Just sayin’.

If you haul one hazard class the most, chances are you’re familiar with what you’re dealing with and you understand its properties.

Note that the ORMD designation will be completely phased out by 2021 and replaced with the “Limited Quantity” designation. 

What Is the Weight Of the Hazardous Material?

Next, we need to know how much the hazardous material weighs (package and its contents) because this helps to determine whether or not we’ll have put placards on in the first place. 

So for our Hypochlorite Solution entry above, we have 600lbs, spread over several packages.

For the Corrosive Liquids entry a total of 378lbs is listed.

As we’ll see later on in this article, this particular load did not require placards.

Hazmat Packaging: Bulk or Non Bulk?

In hazmat, the size of the package matters.

We need to figure out if the packages are bulk or non bulk. For the previous example it appears that these are on skids and in cartons, which indicate individual non bulk packages.

chlorine cargo tank placard and markings
Bulk or non bulk? This one is a no brainer!

Knowing the difference is one of the most fundamental things in hazardous materials compliance that you must know.

Placarding rules differ on whether or not the material is in a bulk or non bulk packaging. 

So how do you know if things are bulk or non bulk? It depends on the capacity of the container or packaging the hazardous material is in.

Here’s a quick recap:

​Bulk hazmat:

More than a 119 gallons for a liquid.

Greater than 882lbs solid.

Water capacity greater than 1,000lbs as a receptacle for gas.

​Non Bulk hazmat:

Non bulk hazmat is obviously going to be less than the figures I just gave you. In my article  hazmat bulk packaging I give you the figures right out of DOT hazmat regulations, check it out. No really, you need to read it, go there right now then come back. I’ll wait.

Placards are broken into two groups (“tables’ as they are referred to in the DOT regulations), by their hazard class. Let’s take a look at those.

non flammable gas placard improper display
Nobody likes leftovers – An example of why you should do a good walk around before starting your trip

DOT Placarding Tables

At its core, the dot hazmat placard regulations are pretty simple. The hazmat regulations break placards into two distinct groups (or tables) each with their own requirements:

  • Table 1 Placards: Placard for any amount
  • ​Table 2 placards: Placard for 1,001lbs or more of aggregate gross weight.

​Next, we’re going to break down each one of these tables.

Table 1 Placards

Table 1 placards represent the major bad boys of the hazardous materials world and are generally items that I affectionately refer to as the “kill you now” materials. Poison gases, volatile explosives for example, need to be taken seriously.

Table 1 hazmat:

  • Explosives – 1.1, 1.2, 1.3
  • Gases – 2.3; poisonous by inhalation
  • Dangerous when wet – 4.3
  • Organic peroxide type B, liquid or solid, temperature controlled – 5.2
  • Materials poisonous by inhalation – 6.1; these are generally considered liquids or solids that are giving off fumes. Materials in hazard class/division 2.3 are in a gas form.
  • Radioactive 7; Not all radioactive materials require placards, only those materials that are required to be labeled “yellow III”.

Here’s a graphic of Table 1 materials:

table 1 hazard classes
Table 1 of the hazardous materials table

Notice in the graphic that there are two columns. 

Column 1 of the table tells you the category (hazard class or division if it applies) and any other information.

Column 2 tells you the name of the placard. Everyone has a name, and placards are no different!

Why would knowing the name make a difference? 

Here’s why:

poison gas placard
inhalation hazard placard

Look pretty much the same right? If your paying attention, there’s a subtle difference.

What’s In A Name 

A common mistake that drivers and inspectors both make is calling these “Inhalation Hazard” placards. But according to the chart above, that would be incorrect.

When we look in the Category column for hazard class 2 we see that it is listed as 2.3 and its name is “Poison Gas”, not inhalation hazard.

The placard name for the 6 or 6.1 as it is listed is “Poison inhalation hazard”. Two different names, because the reality is, is that they are two different things – one is a gas, and the other is a liquid or solid that is giving off fumes.

Why does it matter?

For starters, the phrase “Inhalation hazard” is not required to appear on the placard. Many times it’s on the placard to fulfill other DOT requirements.

Also, the name of the placard can occasionally determine what hazmat regulations apply to the load.

multi unit tank car tanks

When to placard for Table 1 hazardous materials

Now for the magical question –

“How much of a Table 1 material do I have to have before I must put placards on?”

This is the easy part –

ANY AMOUNT

If you are transporting any amount of a Table 1 hazardous material, you MUST put placards on the transport vehicle. It doesn’t matter if you have a half pound, a pound, 900lbs, onboard your vehicle… you must have placards. 

Did I say any amount yet?

It also doesn’t matter the size of a transport vehicle. If you are transporting a table 1 hazardous material in commerce on a bicycle, you must have placards on that bike. 

Hazmat placard regulations can be funny sometimes…

Other Things to remember about Table 1 hazardous materials

You’re going to need extra hazardous materials permits. In fact you will need at least one permit or possibly two federal permits, depending on the product you’re hauling. 

For quantities of certain Table 1 materials you may also need an FMCSA “Safety Permit” which may be in addition to any required state permits may need. Drivers, check with your company, companies check with the appropriate authorities in your state.

You may also need things such as a written route plan as well.

Table 2 Hazardous Materials: When To Placard

Now we’ll get into a bit of territory everyone has a general idea about.

You have to placard for table 2 hazardous materials once you have 1,001 pounds of aggregate gross weight.

Here is a graphic of Table 2 hazardous materials:

hazard classes for table 2

What is aggregate gross weight? It simply means that you add up the weight of all packages plus their contents and include that towards the 1,001 pounds.

dot placards

DOT Placarding Example

Suppose you have 600 pounds of Corrosives (class 8) and 600 pounds of Flammable (class 3). You add these materials together and you get 1,200 pounds of aggregate gross weight. Your vehicle would then have to be placarded like this:

corrosive placard class 8
flammable placard class 3

Each material is below the 1,001 pounds but together (in aggregate) they are over 1,001lbs, which means the load would require placarding.

Remember all that talk of bulk and non bulk?

DOT Rule: If the hazardous material is in a bulk package you MUST placard for it no matter what table it’s on, unless there’s an exception.

 A common placarding mistake

One of the biggest mistakes that companies and drivers make is thinking that you need 1,001 pounds of each class before you put placards on for a specific hazardous material. This untrue (as you saw above) and you will receive a violation and maybe placed out of service.

Subsidiary Hazard Placarding

The word ‘subsidiary’ means secondary, subordinate or in addition to. So a subsidiary hazard is a secondary hazard or hazard in addition to the primary hazard.

multiple dot placards

Quick example with Chlorine:

Chlorine gas has 3 hazards associated with it. The primary hazard is 2.3 but it also has subsidiary hazards of 5.1 (oxidizer) and 8 (corrosive). That doesn’t mean that you have to placard for them as you’ll find out. 

Not all hazardous materials that have a subsidiary hazard are required to be placarded for their subsidiary hazard. 

When Do You Use A Subsidiary Placard?

There are only three specific times that you MUST placard for subsidiary hazards.

The first are Hazardous materials that are poisonous by inhalation. That would be hazard classes 2.3 and 6.1

poison gas placard
inhalation hazard placard

​The second are hazardous materials that are Dangerous When Wet, hazard class 4.3

dangerous when wet label

The last hazardous material that requires a subsidiary placard is Commodity Specific.

In other words, you have to be hauling this very specific product, Uranium Hexafluoride. In addition to using a radioactive placard, Uranium hexafluoride requires a Corrosive placard.

radioactive class 7 placard
corrosive placard class 8

The corrosive placard is only required as a subsidiary hazard for Uranium Hexafluoride, specifically. Any other time a hazardous material with a corrosive subsidiary hazard is not required to be placarded for Corrosive. Did I beat that horse enough?

class 7 hazmat placard

Back to the Chlorine gas example; I mentioned earlier. It’s primary hazard class is 2.3 with subsidiary hazards of 5.1 and 8. Since none of the subsidiary hazards are any of the big 3, no subsidiary placard is required for Chlorine.

A Subsidiary Placard Rule To Remember

If you have any amount of a hazardous material that has a subsidiary hazard of the above three materials, you must use a subsidiary placard for it.

Once you have to use a subsidiary placard (again, any of the above 3) you must placard the primary hazard also. It doesn’t matter what table it’s on or how much you have, you must placard for the primary and subsidiary hazard.

In other words, treat like it’s on Table 1.

You can permissibly placard for all other hazards if you want to. Just make sure that you display the placards as required.

Dangerous placard rules

It’s important to remember that the Dangerous placard is an option not a requirement. Keep in mind that you must always consider basic placarding first and then figure out whether or not you can use a Dangerous placard.

To use the Dangerous placard, you must meet the following requirements:

1. The material must be NON BULK. Never put these on a tanker, an IBC (tote) or portable tank for example.

2. You must have 2 or more categories (hazard classes) or Table 2 hazardous materials onboard that require different placards.

3. You can’t have more than 2,205 pounds aggregate gross weight of one hazard class onboard loaded at one facility. Remember the definition I gave earlier on aggregate gross weight? It applies here to.

The most common violation happens with number 3.

Dangerous Placard Quick Example

​The vehicle gets loaded at one facility (or shipper) with 3,000 pounds (I just picked a random number over 2,205) of a hazard class 3 Flammable. You would no longer be able use a Dangerous placard to cover that Flammable material.

DOT requirements for placard display

These are items right out of the regulations on how placards are required to be displayed.

  • ​Placards must be displayed on all 4 sides of a transport vehicle. The front placard can be on the front of the trailer or the front of the truck.
  • ​They must be visible from the direction they face while looking at the vehicle. For example, if you’re looking at the left side of the trailer/vehicle, you should clearly see the placard.
  • ​Placards must be securely attached to the vehicle and not flopping in the breeze or about to come off.
  • ​Have to be located away from appurtenances and devices. That’s federal-ease for being clear of ladders, pipes and other attachments of the trailer so that they’re not obscuring the placard.
  • ​Any lettering or numbers on the placard (when required) must read horizontally, left to right.
  • ​Be maintained in good condition; They need to be clean, not torn up and the right color. Pink does not pass for red.
  • ​​Have to be on a background so that the color clearly contrasts or must have a dotted line or solid line border. A good example is a flammable placard on the side of a trailer that has a code ad. The flammable placard has a solid white line that sets the placard apart from the ad, so it’s legal.
  • ​Hazmat placards must be at least 9.84″ on each side with the border .5″ form the edge.
  • ​Text on placard (such as “flammable”) is not required on placards unless it is Radioactive (class 7), Dangerous (that text is required). If you’re hauling Oxygen, you can leave the text off if you are displaying the specific identification number for Oxygen.
combustible liquid placard faded
Is this placard in compliance?

10 quick tips for Hazmat Placard Regulations

Here is a list of a few things to remember when you’re placarding your vehicle and transporting hazardous material in general.

  • ​Look at your shipping papers, then look at your truck. What hazard class is on the paperwork and what placard do you see? 
  • ​Not hauling hazmat or just picked up a new trailer? Make sure on your pre-trip that there are no leftover placards. They’re hard to get off, so I recommend duct tape to cover up what’s left over.
  • ​Do not display “Drive Safely” placards. It can be confused with other placards and hasn’t been legal in years, but many vehicles still have them.
  • ​Make sure the placards you have on the trailer match the paperwork. If your paperwork says “UN1263 Paint, 3” which is flammable, you shouldn’t have a flammable gas placard on the truck. They look exactly the same, except that flammable gas is in hazard class 2, and the paint is in hazard class 3.
  • ​Trouble keeping your placards in the holder? DO NOT use coat hangers!. I recommend clear packing tape. It’s clear (of course) which means it won’t obscure the placard. Watch for discoloration.
  • ​Yes, you can placard permissively. Just know that when you do, you must follow all the placard rules for display.
  • ​Shippers are required to give you placards unless you are already transporting the same hazmat and have those placards on your truck already.
  • ​Make sure your hazmat endorsement is good. In some states the endorsement expires before the CDL does.
  • ​Be sure all of your required hazmat permits are up to date. If you’re not sure, ask the company.
  • ​Make sure you have your Emergency Response Guidebook, Safety Safety Data Sheet (SDS) or some other emergency response information within your reach.
  • ​Companies or employers, make sure all of your people are getting hazmat training. It’s required by DOT and OSHA.
dot placards improper display
Not sure what’s more dangerous here; The load or the drivers art project.

Summary

So let’s summarize this beast.

To be in compliance with hazmat placard regulations, you need three key pieces of information;

  1. The hazard class and/or division
  2. Total Weight of each hazardous material or each hazard class; 
  3. The type of package that it’s in, either bulk or non bulk.

This information can be found on your hazmat shipping papers that you were provided. If you don’t have hazmat shipping papers, you need to ask someone what’s going on!

Hazardous materials can’t be shipped or transported without shipping papers, unless there’s a specific exception for it..

After you look at your shipping papers to see what you have, then determine what table it’s on.

Remember:

Table 1: you must placard for any amount

Table 2: 1,001lbs or aggregate gross weight

Computer programs and apps are great but there’s no substitute for knowing what the basic DOT placard rules are.

Placarding violations have remained one of the biggest reasons that drivers and companies both have racked up CSA points in the Safety Management System. Getting placed out of service will get extra points added on. 

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95 COMMENTS

  1. I am trying to find out if it is illegal to put placards IN THE TRACTOR wether you need them or not.
    I am being told it is illegal to have placards in the cab with you.

  2. I been driving and doing hazardous waste for 35 years not a lot of van work .I had some questions and your site is the best info and the easiest to understand thanks

  3. I only ever need a flammable 3 placard.Once you have unloaded below the 1001 lbs and don’t need the placard but still have some flammable 3 product can you still leave the placard up. I was told I can but can’t find the reg proving it.

    • Hi Jack
      It depends on a couple of things and actually isn’t as clear cut one would think. An example is whether or not the material was in a bulk or non bulk package.

  4. Need to know what we can haul in a van-trailer 53 foot. For hazmat what class to we tell dot. And insurance please email Frances to get registered thx for your help. Dry van 53 foot trailer only thx again Frances

    • Hi Frances, thanks for stopping by.
      This is a loaded question that has no easy or quick answer. The most I can tell you here is you will need at least a 1 million dollar policy (maybe more, depends). I do offer consulting, just get a hold of me through the Contact page and we can go from there.

    • Glad this will help Phil. Shippers can help motor carriers help them (shippers) by having a good grasp on placarding. If you’re interested in getting hazmat training drop me a line on the contact page and give you more info on classes that I personally teach.

    • Hi Kenny,
      Yep you have to placard all four sides of a transport vehicle. You do have to make sure that each commodity is covered under the placard rules whether it’s their own placard or a Dangerous placard (if the Dangerous placard applies).

    • Hi Bret, thanks for stopping by and taking time to comment.
      Nope, you didn’t miss anything. Whether or not you display UN numbers on a transport vehicle doesn’t fall under
      placarding requirments, but marking requirments.

      UN number can be display 3 ways: Orange box, white square on point (similar to placard, but not a placard),
      or on a hazmat placard.

      So, when you see a UN number on a placard, there are actually two different rules involved: 1 rule thats covers whether or not to placard and another rule whether or not to display a UN number.

      I’m working on putting an article together for hazmat markings.

  5. I have a general statement needing reinforcement. I have always stated that table 2 (2.1) class materials (refrigerants) in Cylinders that have 1000 pounds of content in them will weigh 1350+ pounds gross cylinder weight included. Therefore I consider the aggregate weight clause (cylinder and content) to require the truck to be placarded. Can anyone confirm this? And where is it in clear definition for those that want to argue the point….

    • Hello Randy,
      I can’t speak to the specific container it sounds like your referring to. That being said, aggregate gross weight is the packaging + the contents inside. In the scenario you described with the weight being 1,350lbs total for one package, you would need a placard on the transport vehicle.

    • Greetings O’ Tim!
      Per the regulations, If a driver doesn’t have the required placards for the commodity, the shipper must supply the placards. Both driver and shipper need to make sure they are applied appropriately.

  6. I have a question concerning bulk packaging, i was told that if the IBC tote had labels on it then the truck/trailer did not need to be placarded. I find that hard to believe because the placard on the front of the tote would not be visible so therefore i would not be legal, is this correct? Im trying to cover my rear and have placards on all 4-sides of the truck/trailer but the employer is telling me I don’t need them since the totes have placards. Also the tote placards do not meet the size recommendations as they are only about 4 -5 inches long on the straight side. Thanks for any help

    • Hi Jeremy,
      You’re correct. Even if an IBC is labeled or placarded, the transport vehicle will still be need to have placards. As far as the placard size issue goes, regulated placard size is at least 9.84 inches. If the placard is less than that size, it would be considered a label. A large label, but a label none the less. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. I am not certified hazmat. I am to pick up a. Box load of bleach. Approx 45k lbs. does this make it hazardous?

    • Hi Nancy,
      That is actually a bit of a loaded question! Is it hazmat – Yes (shipped usually as Sodium Hypochlorite).
      But just because it’s considered hazmat doesn’t mean that all of the rules will apply. In the case of the 45lb box, you appear to be fine, just make sure you consult your company and ask you shipper.

      • Nancy question reads 45k lbs …that would be 45,000 pounds wouldn’t it? and if it were a straight load with only that substance, it would need the un numbers on the placards………

        • Hi Joe, thank for stopping by – yes, it looks like she meant 45,000lbs. As far as whether or not you need UN numbers, it depends on how its packaged.

  8. Hello. In a case where a dropped trailer is being loaded at a shipper, that would require placards, then parked on their private lot til a driver picks it up, who is responsible for attaching placards to that trailer ? The shipper upon finished load or driver who eventually comes in to pick said load up. Which may be more than 1 day. Thank you

    • Hi Dana,
      Thank you for stopping by and taking time to ask a question.
      If you don’t already have placards, the shipper is required to supply you with them before you leave the yard. The rules aren’t specific as to who exactly attaches the placards to the trailer but ultimately, the driver is responsible for ensuring that the load has been placarded properly before hitting the road. The driver is the ‘captain of the ship’.

      When picking up a hazmat load, I would suggest doing a quick walk around and make that the proper placards were attached and everything looks like it should according to the paperwork. If there’s a problem you can discuss it with the shipper before you leave to resolve the issue.

      Drive safe out there!

  9. In table 1 I see Hazmat 7 (yellow III only) What about Yellow I & II ?
    ….. not listed in either table no placard needed?
    Are there any special licenses/certificates required to transport small amounts of Hazmat 7: yellow I, II or III?
    Would civil penalties (if any) be levied on the driver or on the driver’s employer?
    Would lack of placard or certificate/license be considered a criminal offense?

    • Hi Leo,
      Placarding for class 7 depends on radioactive labeling requirements. Radioactive material is only required to be placarded for yellow III labeling only. As far as permits are concerned, a federal hazmat permit isn’t required unless it’s a highway route controlled quantity (this has its own definition). Check with your state to find out if you need something locally.

      Dealing with class 7 materials can be sticky, so I suggest getting more professional help if you need it.

  10. The Regulations state this regarding who is responsible for providing the placards after loading.

    Shippers Certification

    “This is to certify that the above named materials are properly classified, described, packaged, marked and labeled, and are in proper condition for transportation acvording to the applicable regulations of the DOT. ‘I hereby declare that the contents of this consignment are fully and accurately described above by the proper shipping name, and are classified, packaged marked and labeled/placarded, and are in all respects in proper condition for transport, according to applicable international and national government regulations.

  11. If I am hauling corrosive 3265 but I don’t have a bulk placard, can I use a orange panel with the un number, and if I do, do I have to fly a corrosive placard under the panel or can I just fly the orange panel

    • If you’re hauling a bulk amount of corrosives, you will need to display both a corrosive placard and ID number. The ID number can be displayed on an orange panel.

  12. Do I placard the grill of my truck as one of the four directions? A million miler told me he only placards the trailer IF the labels are not already attached to the load packages and the load doesn’t require a tarp. (We are flatbed drivers).

    • You can placard the front of the truck or the trailer, you choice. The transport vehicle must be placarded on all 4 sides whether labels are visible or not.

  13. Hello Earl, I have a 2 part question we use IBC totes a lot and I’m wondering if our flat bed is correctly placarded on all 4 sides and the totes have the proper shipping name on them and the BOL is correct does the individual tote need the hazard label and UN since the placards already identify the hazard?

    And is it a violation to carry an SDS for any material that you are not currently transporting? I’m told it’s not but it doesn’t make sense to me because it would make things more difficult for the first responders.

    • Hi Johnny,
      Thanks for stopping by, a lot going on in that question! 1) Labels aren’t required on totes if they are placarded. 2) The UN number is required to be displayed on the tote even when displayed on the vehicle. 3) It’s not a violation to carry emergency response information (SDS or other) for material you’re not hauling. What’s required is that you have emergency info for the hazmat you DO have on board. Hope this helps.

    • From 172.504(f)(3) – “A NON-FLAMMABLE GAS placard is not required on a transport vehicle which contains non-flammable gas if the transport vehicle also contains flammable gas or oxygen and it is placarded with FLAMMABLE GAS or OXYGEN placards, as required.”

  14. Thank you for your quick response to my previous question Earl!

    I have a few questions that no one seems to have a definitive answer on and varies from person to person.

    1. I deal with IBC totes on a regular basis and we have several chemicals that are hazardous. Is there a maximum number of different hazard classes you can put on the same load? Example: could I load a tote of class 3 flammable, class 8 corrosive, class 9 environmental hazard and class 3 combustible on the same truck?

    2. If there is a maximum number of hazard classes per load, is there a maximum number of different UN numbers that are allowed? Example: Can I load a tote of UN3265, UN1789, UN1824 and UN2790 all class 8 corrosive on the same truck?

    3. We have 7 chemicals that require the same placard UN (1993 Flammable 3). Would one placard on all 4 sides be DOT compliant if I had all 7 of those chemicals on one load?

    Thank you for your time and I appreciate all the information you provide us sir!

    • Wow that’s a lot of questions Johnny! Let me give quickest answer I can…

      If you are in full compliance with the DOT rules, there is no limitation on how much hazmat you can haul. Otherwise, haz waste haulers
      would never get anything done!

      When dealing with totes, you can use the placard – HOWEVER – you must display a UN or NA number for each of the differant materials you have on board.
      If your ok with it, I can email you direct for hazmat training if you need it.

      Thanks for visiting the site!

  15. I am repainting and applying new placards on a aviation refueling truck, I have the four required (1203) triangle decals, but since I’m using Phillip’s 66 fuel they want additional placards i.e., NO SMOKING, FLAMMABLE, AVGAS 100LL on there as well. This is a small truck (1000 gallons) and it will look like a billboard on top of already with the name of the business on the side of the tank. What do you think?

    • Those other markings tend to be standard for the petroleum industry. If you can, just try to keep other markings and advertising away from where the required DOT placard will be located.

    • It’s ok to permissively placard a vehicle when placards are not required as long as they conform to the rules. As to whether what’s normal for a broker, I don’t know. Everyone is different.

  16. Earl very informative. I do have a question that I am confused on. I am looking at picking up some enamel paint from the United States class 3 Flammable to bring back into Canada would be looking at no more than 500 lbs do I need Placards and would I need Hazmat Endorsement. I would be transporting this with my personal vehicle.

    • Hey Rod-
      If you’re transporting hazardous material for personal use (your not in ‘COMMERCE’ by definition) the rules don’t apply. Just like buying propane at the store for personal use for your bbq, the rules don’t apply.

  17. Hey! I’ve read two of your articles and I still have a pressing question, If my Father’s company wanted to have a 45 gallon tank, only used to bring fuel to job cites for machinery, would we need to get a placement card and or a hazardous sticker?

  18. Is it legal to hand write the UN number on a placard with the blank white rectangle in the middle or are printed numbers required?

  19. Can a truck delivering hazardous material (material identified with a label) travel through roads with single family dwelling. This is in CA in agricultural areas with single family dwelling.

    • Hi Gregario,
      You will need to check with local authorities (city, county or state) to determine hazardous materials routes. Start by checking with law enforcement or fire departments where you intend on transporting the material.

  20. If I have 3000 lbs of Class 8 and 100 lbs of Class 2.1 can I placard with Class 8 + Dangerous or is is necessary to use the 2.1 placard?
    In another scenario if I have 3000 lbs of Class 8, 100 lbs of Class 2.1, and 100 lbs of class 3 can I placard with Class 8 + Dangerous?

    • If your situation fits with the description of how to use a dangerous placard outlined above (and the regulations) you should be able to use either one.

  21. Here is one I would like your opinion on. If you have a sea freight container that needs placards for marine shipments, but the shipment is not considered hazardous OTR by DOT, who is responsible for putting placards on the trailer? The shipper does offer the placards to the driver picking up the shipment.

    • You’re questions is a bit confusing… If it’s not considered to be hazardous material, no placards are required. However if it is hazmat, the shipper is required to provide placards unless the driver already had them.

  22. Hi , I have a question can a driver that doesn’t have hazmat pick up machinery parts that weight 30,000 pounds with some parts having fuel in them ,broker says it’s not a dangerous load but they consider it hazmat.

    • Thanks for stopping by – the short answer is Yes. Any machinery that has a fuel tank that’s integral to an engine (cars are a common example) are considered to be hazmat. However, there’s exemption in the regulations takes them out of a lot of requirements like placarding.

  23. great article, I have a question we are building a 24 foot box truck and placing air conditioners in it that will run for training. they will have refrigerant in them which seems to be a class 2 chemical. the total weight of refrigerant in the truck is 47 pounds. will i need haz mat placards? it doesn’t seem like it according to what i read but i thought i would ask the experts opinion

    • Hello, Thanks for your comment,

      1. You mentioned that the material is class 2, but needs to be more specific. Is the material in table 1 or table 2? (If you can’t remember see above). If the material is table 1, you must placard for any amount. If its on table 2, you will need to have a 1,001lbs of aggregate gross weight before you meet the requirement.

      2. Having said all that, you may qualify for an exception to the placard regulations altogether due to the material being in part of system that’s installed in a motor vehicle. An example would be fuel systems in vehicles, and generators that are installed on trailers etc. You will need to do additional research to see if that regulatory exception is right for you.

  24. I can’t seem to find an answer. I have multiple shipments of hazmat and non hazmat. 1 pallet at 2,000 lbs of corrosive batteries and 1 tote of corrosive UN1806. I need to placard corrosive with UN1806 because it’s bulk. Do I also need a second corrosive placard for the batteries? Another question here, does a tote of class 9 require placards with UN numbers since it’s bulk?

    • Hi Jonathan – Good questions!

      1. Batteries – Yes, you must placard for them. The battery exception no longer applies when they’re hauled with other hazardous materials.

      2. Class 9 materials aren’t required to placarded at all. However, because you say the material is a bulk amount it must have Identification numbers. The class 9 placard is one way to achieve that.

      • Question what about a full load of batteries from one shipper? Told exempt from Hazmat rules? Although all pallet are placard as corrosive number 8. No Hazmat listed on bills? Just says batteries wet filled with acid unregulated? Being is 43000 lb I’m siding on it needing to be placard? But supposedly there’s an exception?

  25. If we are shipping Table 2 Hazardous of 100 pounds on 1 pallet + 1000 pounds of non-hazardous class 55 on another pallet, but shipping them together as 1 shipment, does the truck need to be placarded because the total weight of the shipment with the hazardous is 1100 lbs? or is it ok not to be placarded as long as the BOL specifies how much the hazardous weighs versus how much the non-hazardous weighs? Many freight carriers only ask on their website for the total shipment weight and whether or not it is hazardous when you are scheduling a pickup, so all they see is 1100 lbs hazardous. This has not been a problem in the past, but now suddenly we have drivers asking us for placards that we shouldn’t need, so I am wondering if we should start scheduling these as 2 different shipments or if pointing out to the driver on the BOL that the hazardous is only 100 pounds is good enough?

    • Hello lisa,
      Tell your people not to overthink this. If the hazardous materials in the shipment is only a 100lbs then no placards are required. You don’t use the aggregate weight of non hazardous materials in your placarding calculations, otherwise every shipment than contained a small amount of hazmat would have to be placarded.

  26. Truck has 3 80 gallon tanks for proving retail gas stations. considering on average gasoline weighs 6.3 lb per gallon and truck has combined capacity of 255 gallons (each proving tank is 5 gal each and dumps into an 80 gal tank) we are well past the 1001 lb limit. i have held a hazmat for over 10 years and know that even empty you need a placard due to the residual fumes in the tanks. how is my company getting away with not placarding? Been researching for a long time and still can not answer this question.

  27. We have 2 lithium-ion phosphate batteries (each at 1843wh) mounted in a CMV (under 26,001lb) we use for demos, traveling interstate. This material is Class 9 and appears we will not need placards, but I read if the combined weight is greater than 1001lbs, we do. What is the regulation for these batteries?

  28. Great article, very comprehensive! If returning empty 275 gallon IBC totes that once contained Class 8 material to a container distributer, do you need to give placards to the driver picking up? Do the IBC’s themselves need to be placarded?

  29. The question about the sea container refers to some products that are hazardous in some countries, but not all. We run into this all the time hauling ISO tanks. Many times they are considered a different haz. class in different countries. Another big one is 1993 N.A. . Combustible is not recognized in other countries. But it is here.

  30. Looking for information as to requirements for Placards and HME for class 9? Additionally if no HME requirements for Class 9 is there still any training required for transport of cargo?
    Say if part of a load has 33 pounds of UN# 3268.

    • Class 9 HM can be tricky. Although you don’t need an HM endorsements to haul it, you’re still required to provide training (it’s still hazmat after all) to all employee that affect transportation of the hazardous material.

  31. If a shipper does not have the required placards and the carrier leaves with a reportable quantity but unplacarded, what can happen to the shipper/carrier?

    • Just because it’s a reportable quantity, doesn’t mean it always needs a placard. If the driver leaves the shipper without required placards, the violation goes to the driver. The driver is the captain of the ship.

  32. We have an opportunity to take 43 K of Class 8 UN2794 batteries wet filled with acid and I want to know if the driver must be hazmat endorsed, and must we register with the DOT as a hazmat carrier. Also will the trailer have to be placarded?

    • That answer is a lot longer than I can give here, because it’s both ‘yes’ and ‘no’ (this is why people hate hazmat). Batteries have a specific exemption, but you have to meet all of the requirements in the rules in order for it to apply. Search “49 cfr 173.159” and enjoy the read!

  33. I pull out a container from sea port. I have a hazmat endorsement..the container has 4 placard each side. Corrosive ( no number) orange label whit un#. Flammable and fish whit tree on the white placard. All 4 placards it’s considered hazmat on the road?

    • If its placarded then its considered hazmat. If you placard your vehicle and you’re NOT hauling hazmat you an potentially receive a ticket, and point in CSA.

  34. So I am picking up a van load of empty labeled 55 gal drums. They all have different hazard class. However 200 drums would in fact weigh more than 1001 lbs. But all that is in the drums is residual. Do I need placards for delivery to cleaners?

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