Ship Dangerous Goods Through Mexico? Check Your Labels.

Posted on 6/25/2018 by Roger Marks

MexicanFlag_FB.jpgThe Council on the Safe Transport of Hazardous Articles (COSTHA) recently shared an interpretation from Mexican transportation authorities that makes it clear that Mexico expects hazmat labels to be placed with the "vertex upwards," I.e., as a square-on-point, or a square at a 45-degree angle, as required by the UN Model Regulations Mexico requires the diamond orientation even if the package is too small to fit a 100 mm x 100 mm hazmat label. 

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.

Catch an expert-led workshop to satisfy DOT hazmat training mandates in July! The Hazmat Ground Shipper Certification Workshop comes to New Jersey, Boston, Hartford, Philadelphia, Williamsburg, Baltimore, Charlotte, Orlando, Atlanta, Nashville, Memphis, Mobile, Jacksonville and more this summer!   

Mexico Less Lenient With Labels  

hazmat-label-DWW.pngMexico’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.

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: 
“For the above, answering your question I inform you that based on the basics of the identification of products considered dangerous, it is necessary that the pictograms are displayed in the form of a diamond, since the emergency personnel is familiar with this identification and may act if appropriate and necessary, for this reason you cannot place the labels in square orientation.”

(Translation from the original Spanish, available here.) 

Alternative Hazmat Labeling Options for Small Packages

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)).

All-Hazmat-Labels.jpgPHMSA 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

Find a Post

Compliance Archives

Lion - Quotes

I think LION does an excellent job of any training they do. Materials provided are very useful to my day-to-day work activities.

Pamela Embody

EHS Specialist

I really enjoy your workshops. Thank you for such a great program and all the help Lion has provided me over the years!

George Chatman

Hazardous Material Pharmacy Technician

Our instructor was very dynamic and kept everyone's interest. Hazmat shipping can be a dry, complicated topic but I was engaged the entire time.

Kimberly Arnao

Senior Director of EH&S

If I need thorough training or updating, I always use Lion. Lion is always the best in both instruction and materials.

Bryce Parker

EHS Manager

The exercises in the DOT hazardous materials management course are especially helpful in evaluating your understanding of course information.

Morgan Bliss

Principal Industrial Hygienist

My experience with Lion classes has always been good. Lion Technology always covers the EPA requirements I must follow.

Steven Erlandson

Environmental Coordinator

I used the IT support number available and my issue was resolved within a few minutes. I don't see anything that could have made it better.

Danny Province

EHS Professional

I love that the instructor emphasized the thought process behind the regs.

Rebecca Saxena

Corporate Product Stewardship Specialist

Best instructor ever! I was going to take my DOT training w/a different provider, but based on this presentation, I will also be doing my DOT training w/Lion!

Donna Moot

Hazardous Waste Professional

You blew the doors off the competition!

Stephen Bieschke

Facilities Manager

Download Our Latest Whitepaper

The definitive 10-step guide for new hazardous materials shipping managers. Quickly reference the major considerations and details that impact hazmat shipping compliance.

Latest Whitepaper

By submitting your phone number, you agree to receive recurring marketing and training text messages. Consent to receive text messages is not required for any purchases. Text STOP at any time to cancel. Message and data rates may apply. View our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.