Application of the 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 hazard classes- i.e., 1 through 9. Some classes have further divisions and (for explosives) compatibility groups to more precisely identify the hazard characteristics of the materials to be shipped. Some materials may also be assigned to more than one hazard class or division.
More than 2,800 chemical classifications are listed in the UPS chemical table in the Hazardous Materials Table found in 49 CFR and in the List of Dangerous Goods found in IATA. The shipper must use the established scientific criteria to classify hazardous materials correctly. Classification includes determining the appropriate description for the material from the UPS chemical table, including the appropriate packing group, where applicable.
Because regulations require that a shipper classify hazardous materials, UPS is unable to assist shippers in performing this classification. Most manufacturers have the ability to classify a material and may be the best source for validating this required information. A Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for a material could provide 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.