The mechanism for applying the various hazardous materials regulations begins with the classification of a hazardous material. This fundamental shipper responsibility consists of an analysis of scientific testing data to determine the characteristics of a material. Materials with similar criteria-based characteristics are grouped together in classes. Nine class numbers, 1 through 9, uniquely identify materials with dangerous properties. Some classes have further divisions and compatibility groupings to more precisely identify the hazardous characteristics of the materials to be shipped. Some materials may also be assigned to more than one hazard class.
More than 2,800 chemical classifications are listed in the UPS chemical table in this guide, in the Hazardous Materials Table found in 49 CFR and in the List of Dangerous Goods found in IATA. It is your responsibility as a shipper to use established scientific criteria to classify your hazardous materials into one or more of the nine classes. Using the classification data, you must determine the correct and appropriate description for the material from the chemical table, including the appropriate packing group. The basic descriptions in the chemical table must be used to identify all the chemicals available in commerce that are regulated by the DOT.
Per regulations, UPS is not able to assist you in identifying or classifying your materials. This function is specifically the shipper's responsibility. Most manufacturers have the ability to classify a material and may be the best source for validating this required information. Obtaining a copy of the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) could provide you with the necessary information.
For materials that are not already classified, third-party testing facilities may be available to perform these services. Never offer an unidentified, undeclared, or unclassified material to a carrier. The DOT can and does impose severe penalties for such actions, including civil penalties and criminal prosecution of shippers. When in doubt, do not ship!
Once your material is classified, if you have any questions about shipping hazardous materials with UPS, please call the UPS Hazardous Materials Support Center at 1-800-554-9964.
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