Undeclared Hazardous Materials Can Prove Costly

Jan. 1, 2005
Undeclared Hazardous Materials Can Prove Costly

So as not to be misconstrued, DOT has even changed the definition of Undeclared Hazardous Material in 49 CFR, 171.8: "Undeclared hazardous material means a hazardous material that is: (1) Subject to any of the hazard communication requirements, shipping papers, marking, labeling and placarding of Part 172 and 173 in 49 CFR. And (2) offered for transportation in commerce without any visible indication to the person accepting the hazardous material for transportation that a hazardous material is present, on either an accompanying shipping document, or the outside of a transport vehicle, freight container or package."

Any person in possession of a hazardous material during transportation, including loading, unloading and storage incidental to transportation, must report to the Department of Transportation if certain conditions are met. This means that the entity having physical control of the shipment is responsible for filling out and filing Form Dot F 5800.1. The report must be filed within 30 days of discovery of the incident.

RSPA has also published HM 223, which clarifies the loading, unloading and storage operations, including storage incidental to transportation. Warehouse operators, especially consolidators, forwarders, and carriers who discover packages of undeclared hazardous material in their warehouse, incidental to transport, will be required to complete the report. According to RSPA, the report will take approximately 1.6 hours to prepare. Copies of the Form Dot F 5800.1 can be downloaded from (http://hazmat.dot.gov/spills.htm). There are some exceptions to the reporting requirements of HM229. Read the full text of the regulation at http://hazmat.dot.gov/69fr-30113.pdf

Packages containing undeclared hazardous material not only present a physical danger while in the transportation system but could also initiate fines and penalties to the shipper. As part of the training requirements listed in 49 CFR, 172.704, each hazmat employer must provide general awareness and familiarization training to each of their hazmat employees. This training is designed to provide familiarity with the requirements of the hazmat regulations and to recognize and identify hazardous materials.—Gene Sopchak, Asst. V.P. Regulatory Compliance, Panalpina Houston

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