DOT Fixes 49 CFR to Reinstate Spec Packaging Definition

Posted on February 8,2018 by Roger Marks

Package-300.jpgOn Monday, US DOT put back something it accidentally deleted from the 49 CFR Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) in October 2017. In the Federal Register, DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration announced a fix to the HMR to reinstate the definition of “specification packaging” at 49 CFR 171.8, which was inadvertently deleted during a revision late last year.


What is Hazmat Specification Packaging?

Specification packaging—which means “a packaging conforming to one of the specifications or standards for packagings in part 178 or part 179 of 49 CFR”—is a crucial term for hazmat shippers. Packagings like boxes, cylinders, jerricans, drums, IBCs, FBCs, and tanks must meet exacting manufacturing and performance standards to be authorized by DOT for use in hazmat transport (in most cases).   

The “specifications” for acceptable hazmat packagings include instructions for packaging construction material, material thickness, seam design, closure devices, capacity, strength, durability, leakproofness, and other critiera.

You can spot a specification, or “spec,” packaging by the UN marking found on the package. You should see the letters UN followed by a series of alphanumeric codes that provide more information about the packaging and its limits. The code “4G,” for example, tells you that the package is a fibreboard box that meets UN stMultiple_Placards.jpgandards for containing hazardous materials.

Not all specification packagings are compatible or authorized for every material. Choosing the right package for your shipment requires combining data from the 49 CFR 172.101 Hazmat Table, any applicable special provisions, and your knowledge of the material’s properties. 


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/Lion News/February 2018/DOT Fixes 49 CFR to Reinstate Spec Packaging Definition