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Back to School: DOT Hazmat Classes

Resources > Back to School: DOT Hazmat Classes
Shipping dangerous goods? Need to know which DOT hazmat class your commodity falls under? We’re here to help. Get a quote from a top hazmat carrier today.
Published: September 23, 2020
Last Modified: August 28, 2023
Author: Ask Truckload

Hazardous materials are shipped every day, so it pays to be informed at all times on what DOT hazmat classes each item falls into and how that affects freight transportation. Failure to do this can result in major damage and even injury or death to people if an accident occurs. So it’s absolutely imperative that your drivers are up to date.

Luckily, this information is readily available through the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and you will have access to the most up-to-date information on all the DOT hazmat classes and how to handle each. There are 9 DOT hazmat classes, covering everything from explosives to radioactive materials to poisons.

Continue reading for an overview of these facts to become an expert yourself.

Nine Classes of Hazardous Materials

Nine Classes of Hazardous Materials

As stated in the title of this section, there are 9 classifications of hazardous materials as defined by the DOT. These are:

  • Class 1: Explosives
  • Class 2: Gases
  • Class 3: Flammable or Combustible Liquid
  • Class 4: Flammable Solid, Spontaneously Combustible, and Dangerous When Wet
  • Class 5: Oxidizer and Organic Peroxide
  • Class 6: Poison and Poison Inhalation Hazard
  • Class 7: Radioactive
  • Class 8: Corrosive
  • Class 9: Miscellaneous (doesn’t fit into any of the previous 8 categories)

Each class comes with subclasses as well. For example, under Class 2 for gases, there are sub-categories of oxygen, flammable gas, non-flammable gas and inhalation hazard. There are individual labels for each type that denotes the class and subclass, so they can be easily identified.

Keep in mind that USA Truckload Shipping, powered by R+L Global Logsitics, is ready to handle your hazmat needs. We’ll ship hazmat commodities, excluding Classes 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 and Class 7.

While labeling is not unilaterally required, it is still a good idea to use it when applicable so that anyone who has to handle the freight can take the proper precautions to protect themselves and those around them. 

Preparing Hazardous Materials For Shipping

The first thing the shipper must know about having HAZMAT transported on his or her behalf is it is solely their responsibility to prepare these items according to state and federal laws. The company transporting the HAZMAT materials will not be responsible in the event that the HAZMAT is not properly packaged.

First, as the shipper, you will be required to include shipping papers. The information that needs to be present on these papers is: 

  • Shipper name and address
  • Consignee name and address
  • Proper Shipping Name (per CFR49, 172.101 Hazardous Material Table)
  • Hazard Class/Division
  • Hazard Identification Number (example: UN1263 or NA1760)
  • Packing Group (I, II, III)
  • Piece Count and Package Type
  • List Hazmat Items First
  • Emergency Response Phone Number
  • Shippers Certification
  • Emergency Contact Name (DOT HM-206F)
  • Emergency Contact Phone Number (DOT HM-206F)

After that is taken care of, there are a few other parts of the process that need to be completed by the shipper. First of all, the packages themselves have to be properly marked. This means the hazard identification number, proper shipping name and the address of the shipper. The markings have to be durable so they can’t be easily altered and in English. Also, placards have to go with all hazardous material shipments. The only additional requirement for the placards are they cannot be damaged in any way.

The final task to undertake is making sure the kind of HAZMAT being properly labeled with the class and subclass of the type being shipped. Using an earlier example, it would need to be marked as Class 2 gases, with the specific subclass hazard such as flammable or non-flammable.

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Freight Shipping Hazardous Materials 

Freight Shipping Hazardous Materials

More than half of the hazardous materials in the United States is shipped via truck with much smaller percentages by water or rail. While hazardous materials can also be shipped by air, restrictions are greater and so is the potential danger compared to other methods of transportation.

If you’re working with a reputable third-party logistics (3PL), they will not only meet current U.S. DOT requirements but exceed them. Furthermore, should you ever find yourself in a situation where you’re unsure about any aspect of what you should be doing to get ready to have your HAZMAT shipped, your transportation partner should be able to easily answer your questions with a quick phone call or email.

Once you’ve done your part by properly labeling and packaging the hazardous goods, the freight shipping company will take it from there. The shipment will be properly loaded and spaced out if needed. The carrier will follow every protocol to the letter and make sure your load is safe, secure and arrives on the agreed-upon time.

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Shipping Hazardous Materials With R+L Global Logistics

Once you’re up to date on DOT hazmat classes and are ready to ship hazardous materials, give R+L Global Logistics a call to see how our hazmat carriers in the arena can help having your potentially dangerous goods safely transported.

R+L Global Logistics takes safety and compliance very seriously when it comes to hazmat, but where we differentiate ourselves from the competition with our exemplary customer service. We’re always available for our customers, even if they have a simple question about their freight shipment.

But the reasons to partner with R+L Global Logistics don’t end there. We have an industry-leading safety rating, since we only work with properly and fully trained drivers and can even submit to you the ISS-2 safety rating of the carrier assigned to you. We have a 99.5 percent on-time delivery rate so you can be very certain your load will arrive in a timely fashion. Included with every one of our freight shipments is real-time visibility so you can see where your goods are at any point in the journey.

We also offer expedited shipping for your hazmat items, for the instances when a standard shipment time frame just won’t do. Depending on the length of the route, up to a day or two can be shaved off the trip.

So now that you’ve reviewed the DOT hazmat classes and are all set to start shipping, get a free truckload freight quote today by calling R+L Global Logistics at 866.353.7178.

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