Shipping Hazardous Materials: A Quick Guide

When you are working in the moving and storage industry, you are likely to encounter a wide variety of materials. For the most part, it is safe to assume that people will ship literally anything. That is exactly why as a moving company, it is important to be aware of all of the different rules that apply to shipping. The Department of Transportation (DOT) takes certain rules especially seriously – particularly those associated with materials that can be deemed hazardous.

What materials are classified as hazardous?

The DOT classifies materials as hazardous when a material’s amount or form poses a risk to health, safety or property. This definition is in accordance with the Federal Hazardous Material Law regulations. Any mover knows that these regulations are often strictly enforced on the roads.

What are the specific hazard classes?

• DOT Hazard Class 1: Explosives
• DOT Hazard Class 2: Gases
• DOT Hazard Class 3: Flammable Liquids
• DOT Hazard Class 4: Flammable Solids
• DOT Hazard Class 5: Oxidizers and organic peroxides
• DOT Hazard Class 6: Poisons and etiologic materials
• DOT Hazard Class 7: Radioactive Material
• DOT Hazard Class 8: Corrosives
• DOT Hazard Class 9: Miscellaneous dangerous substances and articles

Additionally, there is the classification ORM-D. This can include any material that poses a limited hazard during transportation. This can be due to packaging, form or even quantity.

It is important to take inventory of all of the materials in your shipment in your Bill of Lading (BOL) and review the classifications of any materials that may be considered hazardous. Once you accept a hazardous material for shipment, you are responsible for it. You want to note any specific shipping instructions or even prohibitions.

Paying attention to the rules can make all of the difference when it comes to costs and claims associated with your mover’s insurance. At Wolpert Insurance, our agents specialize in assisting the moving and storage industry with all of their liability needs. Give us a call today and we’ll answer all of your questions and help keep you safe when you’re out there on the open road!