It’s easy to look past the potential safety hazards when shipping everyday items. Some of these items, however, can be considered dangerous to ship, including paint, hair spray, batteries, e-cigarettes, and nail polish. It’s not just known highly-toxic chemical or explosive materials that pose a threat to the safety of those handling them.
Hazardous materials are dangerous solids, liquids, or gasses that can harm people, property, animals, or the environment. The improper shipment, storage, or handling of these materials can cause detrimental mishaps and even death. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, hazmats (hazardous materials) are categorized into nine classes:
- Flammable and combustible liquids
- Flammable solids
- Oxidizers and organic peroxides
- Toxic substances and infectious substances
- Radioactive materials
- Miscellaneous hazardous materials
At CARGOpak, our goal is to help you meet compliance needs with our dedicated training and consulting. As experienced hazmat shipping consultants, we offer expert shipping advance in the form of various on-site and online training. While you consider enrolling in one of our courses, designed with you in mind, here is some basic advice from a hazmat shipping consultant to get you started in your training journey.
Safety is a priority
One of the biggest reasons why shipping hazardous materials is highly regulated is to keep anyone coming into contact safe from injuries. Many people come into contact with these materials during the shipping process, whether shipped via truck, plane, or ship. Injury can occur if the product drops, spills, breaks, comes into contact with another substance, or is not properly packed. To safely transport hazardous materials, companies use proper box markings and follow up-to-date regulations. The process of shipping hazardous materials is complicated and sometimes expensive in order to prevent the compromise of the health and safety of those handling them.
You need proper training to ship hazardous products
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) requires proper training and certification before a company can ship hazardous materials. Compliance training typically covers the use of proper documentation, correct labeling of hazardous materials, and safety measures taken for protection. The DOT takes negligence seriously in regards to the shipment of hazmats.
Failing to comply with these regulations can lead to significant fines and further legal action. The DOT may fine companies over a hundred thousand dollars even for the smallest shipping errors. The range of a fine can depend on the injury or illness caused to any person, with fatal accidents resulting in higher penalties. The improper shipment of hazmats can get companies banned from further shipment.
Avoid making common mistakes
Mistakes can be made without proper training. Companies that don’t understand and comply with the regulations often make costly mistakes. One mistake may include using a different packaging configuration for an approved product or using an unapproved packaging configuration. Each packaging configuration meant to hold a hazmat must be tested and approved. It is important to retain shipping records when shipping hazardous materials.
Another mistake companies may make is using non leak-proof bags to ship liquids. To meet regulations, certains bags are required to ship hazardous liquids, especially by air. Products suitable for transport must be pressure tested. Some companies may not use enough cushion or materials meant to absorb, creating a possible safety threat.
It’s easier to work with a hazmat shipping consultant
Shipping hazardous materials are already costly, but making a shipping mistake costs companies thousands of wasted dollars. To avoid making mistakes and to receive proper training, it may be best to work with a hazmat shipping consultant.
An experienced hazmat shipping consultant can help you understand your legal responsibilities of shipping hazardous products. With proper training, you and your staff can identify all hazmats in your workplace and know the risks of storing and transporting them. Through training, you’ll have the proper tools to identify additional requirements. Additionally, you’ll learn how to document emergency and security plans and keep training records.
With over 25 years of experience in hazmat shipping consulting, we are experts at designing corporate hazardous materials policies, giving shipment advice, and staying up-to-date with safety compliances for all modes of transportation and products. We offer online webinars, consulting, and in-person training to businesses who need training. Our courses are customized to our customers’ needs, whether immediate or long term.
To learn more about our training and courses, we would love to hear from you!