Fireworks And A Mover’s Liability

With the 4th of July rapidly approaching, we thought: what is a better time than right now to talk about shipping hazardous materials such as fireworks? The moving and storage industry is regulated when it comes to rules by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). As a business owner, paying attention to those specific rules is essential to the success or failure of your company – especially when it comes to something as serious as hazardous materials.

As defined by the DOT, hazardous materials may be classified as an item(s) that poses a risk to health, safety, or property. Recently, we discussed the various classes of hazards and which items may apply. In the spirit of Independence Day, let’s focus on DOT Hazard Class 1: Explosives – you know, fireworks!

First things first, in order to ship fireworks; in general, the DOT must issue Explosive (EX) Classification Approvals:
• All  explosives, prior to transportation, must be classed and approved by the DOT
• There must be written documentation of the materials being transported

Written documentation must include:
• Explosives (EX) approval number
• Proper shipping name
• Identification number
• UN packaging specific marking
• Proper packing lable
• Permit

Many of these documented numbers can be included on the shipping papers as opposed to the packaging – which makes for a more streamlined process of documentation for movers.

How does a person obtain approval from the DOT?

Prior to contacting you, the mover, an individual who wishes to ship hazardous materials must obtain approval from the DOT. In order to expedite the process, there is an online application process. This process can provide immediate confirmation, 24/7 access and instant tracking numbers.

As a mover, when dangerous or hazardous materials are in your shipment, your liability may change. Federal law PROHIBITS an individual to ship such materials without prior knowledge to the mover. As a mover, you must comply with 49 CFR Parts 171, 172, 173, and 177 as a hazardous materials carrier.

Ensure your movers insurance adequately covers your liability as it pertains to hazardous materials such as fireworks. Should a spill, damage or accident occur, you will want to understand your responsibility as the mover. At Wolpert Insurance, we are more than happy to go over these guidelines with you. Our goal is to provide you with information as it pertains to insurance for moving companies. We understand that there are key differences between that and a regular commercial truck’s liability. We want you to understand that as well – and get the protection you deserve.

So before you agree to ship fireworks in your cargo this Independence Day, talk to your friendly New England moving industry experts at Wolpert Insurance!