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Shipper's Responsibilities

The U.S. Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR) describe the responsibilities of all U.S. shippers of hazardous materials. Compliance with these federal Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) is mandatory.  In addition, U.S. shippers who, for domestic shipments, elect to follow International Air Transport Association (IATA) Dangerous Goods Regulations, based on the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Technical Instructions, must offer such shipments in compliance with ICAO/IATA, as well as with applicable conditions and limitations of 49 CFR. Violators face considerable civil or criminal penalties (see 49 CFR 107; subpart D, for baseline civil penalties and fines).

The UPS Guide for Shipping Ground and Air Hazardous Materials is intended as a guide and not a replacement for US Hazardous Materials Regulations.  The shipper is responsible for complying with all applicable requirements of 49CFR, ICAO/IATA and UPS variations.  The shipper is also responsible for full compliance with the UPS Tariff Terms & Conditions of Service.

This section briefly describes shippers’ responsibilities under the regulations and further defines UPS requirements.  UPS has established certain requirements that exceed those of the HMR to promote safety in its network, which involves high-speed handling of individual packages.  As a result, packages may experience conditions in the UPS system that are not experienced by unitized or palletized shipments.

If you have any questions about shipping hazardous materials with UPS, please call the UPS Hazardous Materials Support Center at 1-800-554-9964.

  • Contract Shipping

    UPS Hazardous Materials Contract Service provides a standardized and more efficient method of handling hazardous materials. The service is designed to maximize the benefit to known shippers while minimizing the risks associated with these types of shipments.
  • General Requirements

    DOT and IATA regulations both require that a person may offer or accept a hazardous material for transportation in commerce only if the material is properly prepared for transportation.
  • Required Training

    Federal regulations require hazardous materials training for every “Hazardous Materials Employee.”
  • Classification

    Application of the hazardous materials regulations begins with the classification of a hazardous material.
  • Description

    Properly describing a hazardous material is a fundamental requirement for communicating the presence of a potential hazard to any employee of the shipper, carrier, consignee, or regulatory agency who may come in contact with the shipment.
  • Packaging

    Regulations require packaging for any hazardous material to be sufficient to ensure containment of the material throughout the entire transportation cycle. See, for example, 49 CFR 173.24 or IATA 5.0.2.4.
  • Marking

    Marking requirements establish clear and accurate communication about the material in a package.
  • Labeling

    A description of the labeling requirements for shipping hazardous materials.
  • Documentation and Certification

    The purpose of documenting a hazardous materials shipment is to provide the carrier with vital handling and emergency response information to use as the package is transported.
  • Shipping Papers (49 CFR)

    When using 49 CFR, whether you are shipping by ground or by air, shipping papers must accompany each hazardous materials package.
  • DOT Special Permit Packaging

    The table below lists the known packagings that can be used to package specific hazardous materials in Divisions 4.3 and 6.1 (P.G. I and II) that UPS requires to be in DOT Special Permit packaging.
  • Infectious Substances

    Infectious Substance, Category A means an infectious substance known to contain or suspected of containing a pathogen.
  • Coolants and Refrigerants

    Coolants and Refrigerants are used to keep temperature sensitive products cold or frozen while in transit.