Beginning January 2013, any shipping papers printed with the old style hazmat description (PSN first) will be subject to rejection by the transporter, enhanced inspection by the authorities, and possible civil fines. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) establishes requirements for describing hazardous materials on shipping papers at 49 CFR Part 172 Subpart C.
Currently, the basic description of a hazmat consists of the following four elements, in the following sequence:
- the identification number,
- the proper shipping name (PSN),
- the hazard class or division, and
- the packing group.
Example: UN1090//ACETONE//CLASS 3//PG III
When PHMSA first created the Hazardous Material Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180), the authorized sequence was proper shipping name first, followed by hazard class/division, then the identification number, and finally the packing group.
Example: ACETONE//CLASS 3//UN1090//PG III
For several years both sequences were used interchangeably, then in 2007 domestic and international regulatory authorities switched over to the current style (id# first) and ceased to use the old style.
For various reasons, when PHMSA adopted this change they extended a six-year transitional period during which the old style sequence could continue in use. The transitional authorization ends this year.
Reference: “Hazardous Materials: Harmonization With the United Nations Recommendations, International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code, and International Civil Aviation Oganization’s Technical Instructions” (71 FR 78596, December 29, 2006