DOT 49CFR – Awesome Online Regulations
As of 2022, the US government website known as “eCFR.gov” (which provides access to all 50 Titles of the United States “Code of Federal Regulations”), has been significantly upgraded and improved.
Going back 40 years, my career as a hazardous materials course developer and instructor required 49 CFR, Parts 100 – 199 (known then as the “HazMat Regulations” or “HMR”), and was printed only by the US Government Printing Office. As I quickly became a seasoned user of the HMR, there was a realization that any changes made the two-volume set immediately out-of-date. Back then, the choice was to simply throw away the old volumes (of about 1,000 pages each) and purchase new ones, or purchase an expensive private subscription which would be maintained via monthly updates coming in the form of page-for-page exchanges and/or even pen-and-ink changes just to keep the HMR up-to-date.
Not long after that, in the mid 1980’s, along came a number of private publishing houses essentially printing upgraded Volumes I & II of 49 CFR (Parts 100 – 177 & 178 – 199, respectively) in more frequent succession. These printing houses, such as www.ManComm.com, included larger pages (so that larger text could be accommodated) and even color printing for section headlines and boldface entries for Proper Shipping Names in the HazMat Table (such as IATA does in their DG List).
Today, it is clear that the internet has caught up and in many way surpassed other printed versions of this critical database for regulatory requirements. The ease and joy of finding information through layers of Titles, Chapters, Subchapters, Parts and Subparts just got so much easier via simple use of the hyper link. With that said, below is a simple how-to process of following the hyperlinks in 49 CFR to locate the basic description of the material and shipping options for any HazMat shipment.
Step 1. Go directly to www.eCFR.gov to see the list of all 50 Titles, including Title 49 (Transportation) for the HazMat regulations – OR – enter the complete reference such as “49 CFR 172.101” (the HazMat Table) to take you directly to the passage desired:
Step 2. As an alternative to step 1 above, once at the home URL www.ecfr.gov, click on Title 49, Transportation:
Step 3. Then go to Subtitle B, Chapter I, Parts 100 – 199; click on these are the “parts” of 49 CFR which contain the “HMR” (Hazmat Regulations) to expand them:
Step 4. Next, go to Part 172 for the Hazmat Table (and other hazmat communications requirements such as marking, labeling and documentation) and Part 173 for the packing instructions (references); we will expand upon use of the Hazmat Table in Part 172.101:
Step 5. Click on the link for the HazMat Table in 172.101:
Step 6. Once you arrive at the HazMat Table in 172.101, scroll down through the information explaining the use of the HazMat Table until you arrive at the alphabetically arranged list of Proper Shipping Names to find your entry; do not click to pop-out the table until you have scrolled to the entry you wish to research; once you do pop-out the table, wait for a second or two for the program to catch up at the entry selected.
Step 6 (Cont’d). Below is the HazMat Table prior to expanding to see the material detail; locate the material you wish to ship by finding the proper shipping name in Roman type (non-italics) such as “Acetal” shown below:
Step 7. Click on the “expand” button to view the full detail of the table:
Note: Special provisions referenced in Column 7 are explained in Part 172.102; packing provisions are identified in Column 8 (a – c) and found in part 173; Column 9 (limits for passenger aircraft and rail cars) and Column 10 (vessel stowage requirements) are seldom used as instead the International regulations found in ICAO and the IMDG are generally used for air and ocean transport, respectively.
There are many efficient features in the online Code of Federal Regulations to help you increase productivity and enhance your research for the HazMat shipping. The best thing is to log in and start using it right away. Of course, as always we are here to help with any support questions you may have about the regulations for all modes of transportation.