“The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration recently launched an online campaign, Check the Box, to draw people’s attention to the inherent danger and necessary care required when shipping packages that contain hazardous materials,” as reported by Chris Gillis, at American Shipper publications. While technology and new regulations have pushed safety in the 3PL hazmat marketplace, a number of events in the last decade continue to such the ignorance of both individuals and companies. To learn more about the program specifically, check out the U.S. Department of Transportation’s explanatory video further on in the article
“Sending packages can get tricky, especially if hazardous material (hazmat) is hiding in one of your packages. Certain items that are essential to our daily lives — such as batteries and common household items — may seem harmless, but they can be toxic, corrosive and even explosive if handled inappropriately,” the agency warned. Gillis’ article continues on: “The hazmat campaign is highlighted by a blue cartoonish character named HazMatt that has orange flames for hair. That aside, the agency correctly warns package shippers, especially those newbies involved in the burgeoning e-commerce space, that “it is your responsibility to know whether those products are hazmat and to communicate their hazards appropriately, according to DOT’s hazmat regulations.” To determine if a consumer product is a hazardous material, PHMSA said package shippers should first review a manufacturer’s Safety Data Sheet (SDS), formerly known as the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). The information should be found on the manufacturer’s website.”
The campaign, though playful through the specific marketing assets, makes note that there is nothing ‘cute about hazmat shipments.’ Satire pieces and comedy may present a form of education- bringing mass amounts of people to accept certain truths through humor- yet many have stated that, though the intention of the piece is ideally, it should have been more serious. Increase in safety numbers will dedicate (truly) the effectiveness of the campaign.
“PHMSA said there are about 1,500 reported incidents involving undeclared hazmat shipments each year. It’s much scarier to think of all those improperly handled hazmat shipments that move freely through the transportation system — especially in air freight.”