How to ship hazardous materials safely

Jim Berge

By Jim Berge Business Development at King Solutions

We get asked a lot of shipping questions, but one of the most critical to answer is how to ship hazardous materials safely.

Shipping hazardous materials is not as easy as popping them into a box and sending them out the door. It is ripe with literal hazards, not to mention a truckload of federal regulations that must be followed in order to stay in business. Needless to say, it requires a bit of knowledge, tact and careful handling.

Carelessly shipping hazardous materials is a good way to cause a huge crisis. That’s why we have put together a short guide to help you get the job done in a manner that is healthy for you, your workers and the future of your company.

Always Follow Federal Regulations
The regulations put forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) are quite long, but definitely worth reading to ensure that you are in compliance with all the rules and safety guidelines. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts involved in detailing these rules and regulations, but we can lay out a few guidelines of our own that will help you get the process started.

Step #1: Know the Rules
First off, know what you are carrying and how the Department of Transportation (DOT) classifies it. You can do this by checking DOT’s list of definitions and classifications online. Whether you are shipping your materials by land, sea or air, you should know the respective rules and regulations.

Remember that besides general safety, federal compliance is the single most important step in this process. Failure to meet these regulations can result in huge fines, loss of product and even closure of your business.

Step #2: Package Properly
The manner of packaging you use depends upon the materials in which you are shipping. No matter what you are sending, where it is going and how it is going to get there, making sure that everything is packaged properly is the best way to avoid injuries and fines.

Always make sure that hazardous materials stay where they belong: inside their appropriate containers.

Step #3: Document, Label, Then Document Some More
Just like your taxes, documentation is key. Keeping detailed paperwork on the contents of your shipments, your method for handling them and the packaging that you used is essential to staying out of trouble with the federal government.

Once everything is documented, make sure you label everything appropriately so that your carrier knows what they will be handling. You should also discuss any specific guidelines that need to be followed with your carrier to ensure the successful transport of your materials.

And remember, document everything in detail to avoid any mishaps.

Step #4: Invest in Your Future
Your employees need to be properly trained in handling hazardous materials, and investing in their training is essential to ensure both safety and success. You also need to be aware of changing guidelines, so make sure to stay in the loop with the federal rules and regulations to make sure you are always in compliance.

Then document everything, just to be sure.

Always Trust the Professionals
At King Solutions, safety is our top priority, both for our employees and for your cargo. It’s one of the reasons why we were named a “Top Workplace” in 2015.

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