Where Are The Hazmat Shipping Papers?

There is a dark corner, way in the back of the 49 CFR that many shippers have never visited.  It is a place often thought only applicable to carriers and thus not worthy of a shipper’s time.  It is Part 177, Carriage by Public Highway.  While true that many of the requirements in this section apply only to a trucking company, some requirements require the help of the shipper for the carrier to comply with the rules.  Hazmat shipping paper accessibility is one of those requirements.

Carriers that transport dangerous goods must have proper documentation or hazmat shipping papers stating exactly what they are carrying and how it should be handled. It is a shipper’s responsibility to provide the right documentation to their carriers.

In addition to the shipping papers, carriers must also have the emergency response information which can come handy in the case of an incident. So, what exactly are shipping papers and what information they include? Let’s break it down.

Where Do You Keep Hazmat Shipping Papers?

A hazmat shipping paper is a written record of what is being transported. The main idea behind shipping papers is to provide first responders with important information for emergency response. The term “hazmat” stands for “hazardous materials.”

49 CFR 177.817 requires that the driver of a motor vehicle transporting hazardous material ensure that the shipping paper is readily available to and recognizable by authorities in the event of an accident or inspection.  The paper must be clearly distinguishable from other papers by either tabs or having it appear first in whatever storage mechanism the driver is using.

The driver has other requirements concerning the shipping paper.  While sitting at the vehicle controls, the driver must be able to reach the papers while strapped in by a seat belt.  At the same time, the papers must be readily visible to a person entering the driver’s compartment or in a holder inside the driver’s side door.

The driver has to also be concerned about where the hazmat shipping paper is when he/she is not at the vehicle controls.  In this case, the papers must be in a holder inside the driver’s side door or sitting on the driver’s seat.

Side note on this; The hazmat shipping papers must be retained by the motor carrier for one (1) year after acceptance of the shipment or three (3) years for hazardous wastes.

What Do the Hazmat Shipping Papers Include?

The hazmat shipping papers must include the following information: 

  • The identification number
  • The appropriate proper shipping name
  • The hazard class and sub-hazard if applicable
  • The packing group is applicable identified in Roman numerals
  • The type and number of packages containing the hazardous materials
  •  The total quantity of hazardous materials
  •  Any additional information (according to the 49 CFR 172.203)

It’s essential to include all of the information listed above. Failure to include all relevant information may put the shippers at risk of being cited, and/or may prove fatal for others in case of an accident.

Is There A Special Format for Shipping Papers?

For ground transportation, a shipper doesn’t need to use any special form to prepare the hazmat shipping paper. According to the Hazardous Materials Regulation (HMR), all that is required is that proper information must be placed, in writing, in a proper sequence.

Most shippers use bills of lading, manifests, invoices, and even just plain papers as “shipping papers” to describe hazardous materials. However, the hazmat shipping papers must meet the same requirements to describe the hazardous materials using the information stated in the HMR. 

Getting Started With Hazmat University

Want to learn more about creating hazmat shipping papers? Hazmat University is an online training solution for shippers, carriers, and drivers who deal with hazardous materials or dangerous goods that require special handling. 

Our online web-based training is convenient and affordable AND BEST OF ALL you complete the training at your own pace. The online courses are designed to comply with federal as well as applicable international regulations for handling and shipping hazardous materials. Call us at (844) 532-7634 or (609) 860-0300 to learn more. You can also contact us online