Hazmat 101: Hazmat Placards and Labels Meanings

| By: admin

This chart describes the different hazard placards meanings enforced by United States Department of Transportation Hazmat 101.

A Complete Guide to Hazmat Placards Meanings

Having the proper placards displayed on hazardous materials is required by law. If your company is transporting such materials it is imperative that the right labelling is in order.

Some materials meet the definition of more than one hazard class with primary risks and subsidiary risks.

Some hazard classes contain divisions in order to further group materials with similar risks.

The experts at DGD Hazmat help evaluate if your business is operating within compliance of the Hazmat industry laws. Upon assessment we assure that your business takes precautionary measures to avoid any penalties.

When constantly dealing with the dangerous materials that hazmat shipping companies deal with on a daily basis, safety is the number one priority.

The first step of safety is clear and open communication with each other and with the public so there is absolutely no room for miscommunication thus leaving as little chance for an accident as possible.

A standard approach to ensuring proper hazmat handling and shipping is the proper use of hazmat labels so the shipping employees as well as the public is made fully aware of what they are working with and what they are near.

The shipping company is solely responsible for determining the correct label and, if misjudged and the wrong hazmat label is placed, fines, delays, and the chances of injuring someone becomes a real possibility.

Hazmat Labels

hazmat placards and hazmat labels

The Importance of Hazmat Labels for Safe Shipping Practices

Hazardous Material Packaging labels are critical and necessary for numerous reasons.

Reasons such as:

Communication: Hazmat labels provide the ability to communicate and transmit information quickly and efficiently regarding the chemical properties of the package being transported. They give a clear universal indication of what is being shipped and allows a more organized approach to regulating the process.

Handling Process: It’s clear that working in the hazmat shipping industry comes with a certain extent of danger. All precautions and regulations are required to make the job as safe as possible. With unambiguous labels and markings the workers are able to alert each other of potential hazards of materials and determine where and how the materials should be stored.

-Identification: In the event of a leak or accident, hazmat labels are able to help emergency responders by relaying information quicker and more effectively so they know what material they’re dealing with. The responders use this information to better the process of evaluating and determining the best course of action.

It’s The Law: If you don’t provide the DOT labels your packages will simply not be shipped and you will likely face costly fines and costly penalties that will severely affect your business.

How Do Hazmat Labels Look?

Hazardous materials are broken down and classified into 9 separate groups. Each label is a different color and is easy to see as it easily stands out.

For more information on the appearance of Hazmat Labels and how they are classified, read our blog on The 9 Classes of Dangerous Goods.

Where Are They Placed?

It is essential that the labels must be properly placed on the shipping cargo (Boxes, Pallets, etc.) for maximum safety.

That means focusing on placing the label as close to the shipping name and UN number as possible and must be permanently attached or printed on to eliminate tampering.

For International Shipping – It is mandatory that all labels be placed in the bottom corner of both the primary and subsidiary labels.

For Domestic Shipping – “since October 1, 2005, the U.S. has required a hazard class number displayed in the bottom corner of a subsidiary risk label.” – Label Master

Hazmat Placards

hazmat labels

The importance of Hazmat Placards for Safe Shipping Practices

Hazmat Placards are similar to hazmat labels in terms of importance.

A main difference would be that placards are on the outside of the transport vehicles allowing the public to be made more aware of the hazardous materials they are near and the risk they pose.

They are also legally required for shipping and are beneficial for emergency responders in determining what material is what in the event of an emergency.   

In terms of appearance, they must be “measuring 250 mm on all sides and include a solid inner border that is approximately 12.7 mm from the edge of the placard. The hazard class number in the bottom corner of the placard must measure at least 41 mm” – Cornell’s General Specification for Placards.

For more information on Hazmat Placards and the appearance, please drop us a line and we’ll be happy to assist with any question.