Translogistics Blog

TLI University: Hazardous Material 101

March 2, 2020

Written By: Translogistics

TLI University Logo horiz CMYKiStock-930762046

Welcome to TLI University!

With more than 20 years in the industry we thought it was time to pass along some of the knowledge that helped us get to where we are today. This is a weekly publication aimed to educate anyone who is curious about transportation and shipping.

This week, we combine all we have learned so far and move on to the international level of shipping.


What is Hazardous Material?

  • The Department of Transportation defines a Hazardous Material as any substance or material that could adversely affect the safety of the public, handlers or carriers during transportation
  • As these products can be very dangerous to handle, there are strict regulations as to how these products are handled by shippers and trucking companies
  • Each product that is considered hazardous is identified by a UN number, which is a number from UN0001 to UN3500
  • While some hazardous products possess unique qualities and are classified under their own UN number, other products that are similar in qualities may be classified under the same UN number – as an example, Flammable Liquids, not other specified, share the UN1993 number
  • Each UN number also has a Hazard Identifier associated with it – A Hazard Identifier is a collection of Hazardous classes and subdivisions that identify why a product is hazardous and what regulations are associated with handling the product – some are much more dangerous than others, such as Class 7 Radioactive Materials, and are very highly regulated - there are 9 general Hazardous Classes as identified in the table below:
  • Shippers of Hazardous Materials must follow strict guidelines when handling and preparing shipments for transportation – they must also complete a Shipper’s Declaration for Hazardous Goods.
  • Drivers who handle Hazardous Materials MUST be Hazmat Certified to transport the materials – they must pass a very thorough background check by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in addition to passing a difficult test from the Department of Transportation to become a HazMat certified driver
  • All trailers that contain Hazardous Materials must have a placard on the side of the trailer indicating what Class of Hazardous Material is being transported – a placard is a diamond shaped metal plate that is affixed to the side of the trailer – examples of placards are below:
  • There are more rules and regulations in place when a shipment is considered Hazardous Waste – although it sounds much more frightening, Hazardous Waste is nothing more than Hazardous Material that has been used or went through some sort of manufacturing process
  • An example is motor oil – when it is manufactured and shipped, it is classified as a Hazardous Material – when it was used in an engine and drained during an oil change, it becomes Hazardous Waste

What extra information is needed when shipping Hazardous Materials?

  • In addition to the information needed for any other Transportation method described above, additional information needs to be provided to a transportation company when scheduling a HazMat shipment
    • UN Number – as discussed above
    • Hazardous Class and Subdivision – as discussed above
    • Proper Shipping Name of the Product
    • Packing Group
    • Contact information in the event of a spill or other accident – this is generally a company called ChemTrec, which has an 800 number to call in the event of an emergency 



Stay tuned for more information on transportation modes! 


If you liked this, you may interested in this as well:

Misco Products Case Study

Share This Blog

Categories: TLIUniversity

About Our Blog

For the latest insights, tips and commentary surrounding the logistics industry, look no further.  Shippers will find thoughts from the award-winning team at Translogistics covering everything related to your transportation processes and plans.  If you have a question we are readily available at