Editor's note: The following article is intended as general information only and is not legal advice. If you have questions concerning legal requirements for shipping hand sanitizer or other matters, consult an attorney.
With the coronavirus pandemic turning hand hygiene into a global issue, the demand to ship hand sanitizer has never been higher. From airports and convention centers to campuses and office buildings, access to hand sanitizer has become an essential feature of life during COVID-19.
The downside of alcohol-based hand sanitizers is: They’re flammable and must be handled with care.
In fact, the classification and shipping of various types of hand sanitizer is strictly regulated by the U.S. government and other national and international authorities.
If you’re just starting the shipping process, the most important thing to know is: You – the shipper – are responsible for ensuring that you’re complying with all regulations that apply. That means, you are required to:
Here are three suggestions designed to get you started on a path to safely and securely shipping hand sanitizer - whether for commercial or residential use:
To ship hand sanitizer with a commercial carrier, you first need to set up a hazardous materials contract with UPS.
Signing up for the UPS Hazardous Materials Contract Service is straightforward. Establish a UPS payment account—if you don’t have one already—and request to ship hazardous materials when prompted. Speak with a UPS representative if you need assistance at any point. Keep in mind, UPS customers need training and certification before they execute the UPS hazardous material service agreement.
To activate the hazardous materials contract, you must accept all items on the Dangerous Goods Agreement Checklist. You can review the checklist when setting up your UPS payment account or when updating an existing UPS account that you intend to use for shipping hand sanitizer.
Among other conditions, you should note:
Once you’ve agreed to the terms, your UPS account will become eligible for shipping hazardous materials. You will receive a new start kit, including hazmat supplies, to get you underway.
To be safe and to improve the likelihood that your hand sanitizer will reach its final destination, every shipper should have experts on hand who are trained and certified in handling hazardous materials and dangerous goods.
For shipping in the United States only, you can get guidance on safe packaging and labeling for hand sanitizers by consulting with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration help desk at 800-467-4922. Specific UPS guidance can be found on UPS.com that contains up-to-date resources or call the UPS Hazardous Materials Support Center at 1-800-554-9964.
The UPS help desk is not able to classify or identify commodities for customers, nor can they instruct customers on preparing a shipment for transportation. However, they can evaluate regulatory requirements and provide specific details that apply to UPS shipping.
For shipments to or from outside the U.S., check details on UPS requirements on our Shipping Dangerous Goods Globally page.
Note: Shippers of hand sanitizers should be aware that both the U.S. DOT and Transport Canada have temporary exceptions to facilitate the movement of hand sanitizer in ground transport during COVID-19. It is the shipper’s responsibility to determine if they may use one of these exceptions or other limited quantity exceptions already found in regulations (U.S. DOT, Transport Canada and ADR, for example).
After you’ve set up a hazardous materials contract, reviewed the service agreement and consulted with experts to classify the type of hand sanitizer you’re shipping, here’s where you can go to set up a shipment:
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