Where to Keep Hazmat Shipping Papers During Transit: A Guide for Carriers

When transporting hazardous materials, it is essential to keep the shipping papers in a secure place. According to the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), the documents must be kept in a holder inside the driver's side door or on the driver's seat. It is important to note that carriers must retain the shipping documents for hazardous materials for one year after the acceptance of the shipment, or three years in the case of hazardous waste. The requirements for shipping papers are listed in 49 CFR, Part 172, Subpart C.

This subpart states that a shipping document is any document whose purpose is to report a hazard and that meets the requirements contained in this subpart. Every person offering hazardous materials for transport must describe them in a shipping document that meets the requirements of the HMR. No carrier may transport hazardous material unless it is accompanied by a shipping document prepared in accordance with HMR. The emergency response information requirement is contained in 49 CFR, Part 172, Subpart G. The number must be maintained at all times a shipment is in transit.

The use of alerts, answering machines and switchboards is not authorized. The phone number must be someone capable of providing information about the material. Each person who receives the shipping document required by this section must keep an electronic copy or image of it, which they can access in or through their main business center, and must make the shipping document available, upon request, to an authorized official of a federal, state or local government agency at reasonable times and places. In the case of hazardous waste, the paper copy of the shipment must be kept for three years after the initial carrier has accepted the material. For all other hazardous materials, the paper copy of the shipment must be kept for one year after the carrier has accepted the material. Each paper copy of the shipment must include the date of acceptance by the carrier.

A motor carrier (as defined in § 390.5 of subchapter B of chapter III of subtitle B) that uses an unchanged shipping document for multiple shipments of one or more hazardous materials with the same shipment name and identification number may keep a single copy of the shipping document, instead of one copy for each shipment made, if they also keep a record of each shipment made that includes the name of the shipment, identification number, quantity transported and date of shipment. A shipping document can consist of more than one page, if each page is numbered consecutively and the first page has an annotation specifying the total number of pages included in the shipping document. It must be entered in a color that clearly contrasts with any description on the shipping paper of a material that is not subject to HMR requirements, except that a reproduction may be highlighted rather than printed in a contrasting color. No person may accept transportation or transport hazardous material by road unless they have received a shipping document prepared according to Part 172 or are exempt from shipping paper requirements under this subpart. A new hazardous materials employee who changes jobs may perform those functions before completing training provided they do so under direct supervision from a properly trained employee with necessary knowledge and complete training within 90 days. The bidder is only exempt from sending a shipping document once they have received a copy from the carrier. If necessary, prepare a shipping document containing description including United Nations identification number, correct name of shipment, hazard class and packaging group, quantity, number and type of packages, contact information for emergency and certification from sender. It is essential to follow these regulations when transporting hazardous materials to ensure safety and compliance with HMR requirements.

Adhering to these regulations will help carriers remain compliant with federal regulations while keeping their shipments safe.

Heidi Longbotham
Heidi Longbotham

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