HazMat Transportation

Why Your Workers Need to Know About DOT’s Hazardous Materials Table

If you ship or transport any materials that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) deem hazardous, you are required to train your employees on various aspects of hazardous materials transportation. One of the key things your hazmat workers need to know is how to read the Hazardous Materials Table.

Why Your Workers Need to Know About the Hazmat Table

Part of the general awareness requirements for training hazmat employees is that employees be able to recognize and identify hazardous materials. One of the basic ways an employee is able to identify hazardous materials is by being familiar with the Hazardous Materials Table.

The Hazardous Materials Table, found at 49 CFR 172.101, identifies over 3,000 of the most commonly transported hazardous materials, listing them alphabetically by proper shipping name.

The table provides employees involved in any aspect of hazmat transportation with the information necessary to complete shipping papers, mark and label hazmat packages, select appropriate placarding, and comply with other requirements of DOT hazmat transportation regulations.

Any of your employees who work with hazardous materials should:

  • Understand the purpose and importance of the Hazardous Materials Table.
  • Be able to identify regulated hazardous materials used in your workplace.
  • Locate information in the table necessary to prepare hazardous materials for shipment and safely transport them.
  • Identify codes and symbols used in the table.

Table Format

The table is divided into 10 major column headings, numbered 1 through 10, with a number of additional subcolumns.

The first 5 columns in the table provide the information necessary to give a basic description of the materials, which is required for shipping papers. The remaining 5 columns provide specialized information necessary for packaging, marking, labeling, and other requirements specific to the mode of transportation.

Tip: Column 2, which provides the hazardous material’s description name and the proper shipping label, is perhaps the most important item in the DOT hazmat regulations. The proper shipping name determines important issues, including whether it is legal to move the hazmat; how to package, label, mark, and placard the shipment; and whether special provisions apply.

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