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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 in a compliant manner.

Approved Third-party Vendors

UPS accepts hazardous materials on a contract basis only.

General Requirements

DOT states that no person may offer or accept a hazardous material for transportation in commerce unless that person is trained in conformance with 49 CFR and the hazardous material is properly classed, described, packaged, marked, labeled, and in condition for shipment as required or authorized by

Required Training

Federal regulations require hazardous materials training for every 'Hazardous Materials Employee.'


The mechanism for applying the various hazardous materials regulations begins with the classification of a hazardous material.


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.


49 CFR 173.24 states that the packaging for any hazardous material must be sufficient to ensure containment of the material throughout the entire transportation cycle.


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


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.

Dangerous Goods Declaration  (IATA)

Learn about the IATA Shipper's Declaration that shippers must use when shipping dangerous goods.

Shipping Batteries or Devices with Batteries

Effective January 1, 2017, UPS will change its requirements for shipping lithium batteries by air.

DOT Special Permit Packaging

The table below lists the known packaging's that can be used to package specific hazardous materials 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.