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A look at what qualifies as HAZMAT

One of the most common safety concerns for a company is hazardous dot materials. It may surprise some to find out specifically what is considered hazmat, including a lot of everyday items: hand sanitizer, smoke detectors and even cologne, to name just three.

There are specific regulations for businesses concerning how hazardous DOT materials are transported. The federal Department of Transportation (DOT) is in charge of ensuring companies are complying with the rules, all for the safety of employees and emergency responders, as well as the general public.

HAZMAT Check Image

DOT’s website has a great list of specific hazmat materials of which companies should be aware. It also has a lot of detail about its own initiative to get the word out about the importance of transporting hazmat the right way.

Checking the box to keep things safe

DOT’s initiative is called - Check the Box - a reference to the regulatory way to mark hazmat as it is being transported. They estimate that 1,500-plus transportation incidents take place every year, causing potential or very real safety concerns. The regulations state that hazmat needs to be - classified, packaged, labeled, handled, and stowed - in a specific way in order to ensure safety. Many of the types of hazardous DOT materials are of a certain type, including explosives, gases, and solids or liquids that may be flammable. The best way to note if it’s hazmat is to look for the safety data sheet, or SDS , that most manufacturers supply to see if they have denoted it that way. The SDS will have a section that’s labeled - Transportation Information - and that’s where you can find how the material is specifically classified. If the SDS isn’t around or wasn’t included, most companies will have that same info on SDS sections of their own websites.

From the ordinary to the specialized

Some of the more common hazardous dot materials run the gamut from ones that are specific to a type of business to things that can be found in many households every day. Among the least typical items are airbags and airbag inflators, carbon dioxide canisters and cylinders, fuel-powered equipment with the fuel already inside, items with mercury, and oxygen tanks. But hazmat also includes some items that are staples of the supermarket. They include high-proof alcohol, car batteries, fire extinguishers and smoke detectors, perfumes and colognes, hand sanitizer, lighters and matches, nail polish and its remover, paint, and sealants or varnishes used to treat wood.

When it comes to training your own employees on HAZMAT, Compliance Training Online can help. There are several courses available, including one that is required by anyone in the U.S who is involved in shipping hazmat. There are also specific courses for employees who ship lithium batteries as well as carrier requirements by water, air, highway or rail.

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