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Top 10 Myths and Misconceptions About Shipping and Transporting Dangerous Goods/Hazardous Materials

Here are some of the myths and misconceptions about hazmat transport in the U.S.

Update May 2015: (A new myth!) "Some Lithium Batteries are not restricted!" Wrong. All lithium batteries are restricted. Some small cells and batteries are excepted from certain hazard communications, packaging and training requirements, but all of them are restricted by all modes of transport. You must understand what the restrictions compel you to do. So a Safety Data Sheet (which isn't even required for articles like a lithium battery) which says "not restricted", or "not hazardous" is misleading. Here are some other myths and misconceptions:

If you would like to download the entire article (6 page .pdf) click here.

  1. ORM-D shipments don't require trained and certified employees to handle them (also "Consumer Commodities are not hazardous by ground...")
  2. I only have to train and certify two employees per office
  3. DG Packing Companies are "certified" by the government to package hazmat for shippers
  4. Shipments by Ground, under 1000 pounds are not hazardous
  5. Your chances of getting a DOT inspection are slim
  6. Third party trainers (i.e. IATA approved Schools and others) can "certify" your employees
  7. There is a specific hazmat certification test that an employee must take
  8. All students must pass an exam with a specific score to be considered "passing"
  9. HazMat Instructors have some special training and/or certification from the government
  10. All hazmat shipments must have an emergency phone number

Most Common Causes of Hazmat Violations

#1 Cause

Well, this is a matter of opinion, but from our experience in handling penalty mitigation cases, the most common scenario where someone ends up with a penalty involves some sort of product return.

A company normally “uses” but does not ship hazmat. They’re not subject to the regulations unless they’re a shipper or offeror.

Once in a while a hazardous product will have to be returned to the vendor, that’s when they end up in trouble!

#2 Cause

Probably the 2nd most common cause of a hazmat violation is a company who uses untrained personnel in shipping hazmat. Often, the company has only one or two trained employees and if they call in sick, they may end of using someone who doesn't know what they're doing.

#3 Cause

And finally, rounding out the top three is one we see in our Hawai'i office a lot. Many violations involve products that are sent by ocean initially and are not marked or labeled as hazmat because of the IMDG Limited Quantity Exception for "consumer" type of items. So, these items are received by the buyer of the goods and because they are not marked and labeled as hazmat, the buyer may not realize that when they have to ship them out by ground or air, they now must be marked as hazmat and most likely labeled as hazmat as well.


Free Support!

Have a hazmat question? Give us a call, we're glad to help.

Phone (800) 949-4834 or fax your Dangerous Goods Declaration to (800) 527-5121 and we will review it for you.

Email: jim@dgtraining.com

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Transportation Development Group, LLC (TDG) * 2023 E. Sims Way, Ste. 372 * Port Townsend, WA 98368
e-mail: jim@dgtraining.com