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How to Ship Hazardous Materials

Hazardous materials, also known as HAZMAT, are materials that may cause health risks or the destruction of life or buildings. HAZMAT shippers must follow the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act (HMTA). In addition to shippers, this act also applies to manufacturers who manufacture containers that contain hazardous materials.


Hazardous materials are more common than one might think. Hazardous materials include explosives, flammable gasses, and corrosive substances. Hazardous items can also refer to commonly found household items, including paint, nail polish, laptop batteries (lithium), and cleaning supplies. No tastes or odors are associated with hazardous materials; some will only be detected through physical reactions.


HAZMAT shipping can be a daunting task. To be successful at handling hazardous materials, follow these guidelines:



Make sure you use the correct packaging for the material you're handling. Keeping it up-to-date and packaged correctly will help your company stay compliant. Material Safety Data Sheets are an integral part of this procedure. Hazardous Materials Tables will list which materials should be shipped according to the code.


Follow Carrier Set Rules

To be able to print a shipping label within DesktopShipper for shipments that include hazardous materials, the selected carrier must have pre-approved the transport of the item type. Like tariffs, items must be coded correctly before being delivered. This means they must be appropriately described, classified, labeled, and packaged according to the carrier's rules.


Carrier Must-Haves for Hazmat Shipping:






After completing that process, you are authorized to ship, and both the shipper and the carrier will be prepared for the pickup of potentially hazardous material.


Display Hazardous Goods Warning When using DesktopShipper, the software will populate an order upon scanning the SKU. Suppose an order is imported into DSX, or our cloud-based shipping application, that is flagged as hazardous goods. In that case, a warning window will open for the user, alerting them that the materials are hazardous and should be handled accordingly. This streamlines the process and reduces the chance of errors.



Transporting HAZMAT is strict and for a good reason. At the time of publishing this article, the maximum civil penalty is $75,000 for knowingly violating federal hazardous material transportation law. Suppose there is the destruction of property, severe injury, or results in death, the fine increases to $175,000. Every carrier has different guidelines and rules regarding the shipping of hazardous materials, so it's essential to follow safety and international laws to ensure consumer, employee, and business safety. Utilizing DesktopShipper to help ship hazmat will not only help avoid those fines but will help to keep orders safely managed.


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