The US DOT Finally Phases Out the Hazard Class ORM-D

By Terry Poland, Principal DG Training Instructor & Consultant

It has been a long time coming, but at the end of 2020, it will be official as the US Department of Transportation (DOT), Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), finally phases out the hazard class “ORM-D” (Other Regulated Materials, Type D).

ORM-D was eliminated for air and ocean transportation in 2011 under DOT rulemaking HM-215K in an effort to continue the goal of harmonizing with international standards.  ORM-D (ground) was spared under objections from many companies shipping small quantities of consumer commodities and other materials under this designation.  However, after multiple extensions, ORM-D will be completely phased out as of January 1, 2021.

In its place, most consumer commodity shipments qualify to be designated as “limited quantities” and afforded most of the same exceptions such as not requiring:

  • Hazard Labels
  • Hazard Placards
  • UN Specification Packaging
  • Shipping Papers – Ground Shipments Only – except if the material is a hazardous waste, hazardous substance or marine pollutant

“Consumer Commodities” are defined in 49 CFR as, “materials that are packaged and distributed in a form intended or suitable for sale through retail sales agencies or instrumentalities for the consumption by individuals for purposes of personal care or household use.”  Packages prepared under this designation from most hazard classes generally meet the limited quantity requirements as long as their inner packagings are within the limits for the associated packing group and the gross weight per package does not exceed 30 kg (66 lbs.).

The image below shows a comparison of the differences for packages prepared as limited quantities as ORM-D is phased out:

We have both single modal and multi-modal Limited Quantity training classes to choose from.

We have several other useful articles regarding shipping Limited Quantities in our Knowledge Base:
Why the ‘Y’ in the Air Limited Quantity Mark
What marks and labels are required on a Limited Quantity Shipment?
The Difference Between Excepted Quantity & Limited Quantity Shipping