Ship Dangerous Goods Through Mexico? Check Your Labels.
Mexico’s interpretation differs from US DOT’s in that the HMR does not prohibit shippers to place hazmat labels in a square orientation when placing a label “correctly” is not possible.
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Mexico’s dangerous goods Normas Oficiales Mexicanas (NOMs) lays out the nation’s requirements for hazmat shippers and carriers. COSTHA recently requested clarification of NOM-003-SCT/2008 (in Spanish), which prescribes standards for hazardous materials labels.
Mexico Less Lenient With Labels
Point 8.1.2 of the NOM states “Las etiquetas tendrán Ia forma de un cuadrado. colocado con un vértice hacia arriba,” which translates to “The labels will have the shape of a square, placed with the vertex up.”
COSTHA asked whether Mexican authorities would allow a hazmat label to be placed in a square orientation on packages too small to accommodate the diamond orientation
Mexican transport authorities responded as follows:
(Translation from the original Spanish, available here.)
On packages too small to fit a hazmat label in a diamond orientation, the UN Model Regulations allow shippers to use a reduced-size label so that the label may be placed in accordance with the rules. PHMSA also allows a reduced size labels on small packages (49 CFR 172.407(c)(1)(i)).
Alternative Hazmat Labeling Options for Small Packages
PHMSA offers additional options for labeling too-small hazmat packages at 49 CFR 172.406(b), such as affixing the label to a securely affixed tag or affixing it by other suitable means. These alternative labeling methods are allowed for packages that do not contain radioactive materials (Class 7) and are smaller than the 3.9-inch-by-3.9-inch (100 mm-by-100 mm) minimum label size. Shippers may also use alternative labeling means on packages with “irregular surface to which label cannot be satisfactorily affixed.”
Given Mexico’s strict interpretation of the hazmat labeling requirements, your best bet may be to invest in reduced-sized labels or larger packagings if you ship dangerous goods south of the border.
IATA issued guidance to relax its DG label standards earlier this year.
Hazardous Materials Shipper Training (49 CFR, IATA, IMDG)Meet DOT and IATA training mandates in cities nationwide in 2018. Be confident your shipments are in full compliance with the latest 49 CFR and DGR requirements for ground or air transport, earn CM Points and CEUs, and leave with trusted resources to simplify compliance and support your decisions.
Tags: DOT, hazmat shipping, hazmat training, international, mexico
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