USPS Raises Penalties for Hazmat Postal Violations

Posted on 5/20/2019 by Roger Marks

The US Postal Service raised its civil penalties for violations of mailability and consumer protection provisions, including violations for shippers of hazardous materials by post.

The Interim Final Rule is effective as of May 13, 2019. The maximum civil penalty, raised to keep pace with inflation, increased from $119,786 per violation to $125,314 per violation. The minimum civil penalty for violations of USPS hazmat mailing requirements is $314 per violation.

Under 39 USC 3018(c)(1)(A), USPS may impose civil penalties for those who offer nonmailable hazardous materials by post, or who fail to follow USPS requirements for hazardous materials by mail.

In March this year, USPS finalized new, clarified packaging requirements for packages containing liquids in response to a significant number of liquid spills in the mail system due to misunderstood packaging rules. 

USPS also updated its requirements for shipping lithium batteries by mail in 2017 to keep pace with rapidly evolving international standards.

PHMSA Hazmat Civil Penalties

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) raised its hazmat civil penalties in November 2018. PHMSA regulates hazardous materials shipped in commerce within, into, and out of the United States. Fines for violations of DOT’s 49 CFR Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) increase every year, and are now as high as $79,976 per day, per violation.

How to Ship Hazmat by USPS

USPS can be a cost-effective choice to deliver goods to customers around the world. Businesses that ship small quantities of hazardous materials must have the knowledge and procedures in place to ensure safe delivery—both USPS and US DOT have the authority to issue hefty penalties for violations of hazmat regulations. In addition, improper packaging, markings, labels, or shipping papers can all result in rejection, lost time, missed deadlines, and upset customers.

Check out the Hazmat Postal Shipper Online Course and find out what you need to know to offer hazmat for transport via USPS.

Tags: fines and penalties, limited quantities, new rules, shipping hazmat, USPS

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