Shipping Hazardous Materials

What's New?

New Class 6.2 and Class 9 labels

The Department of Transportation's deadline for using up your old stock of Class 6.2 and Class 9 labels is September 30, 2014. The old labels can no longer be used starting October 1, 2014. The new labels can be seen here: New Class 6.2 and Class 9 Labels (PDF)

Small quantities of each label can be requested for free from You will need to provide your name and campus box number.


Before you ship hazardous materials

You must be trained and certified to ship hazardous materials if you are involved with a shipment of hazardous materials via land, air or sea. There are prescriptive requirements for packaging and labeling of hazardous materials and for the associated documentation used in the event of an emergency. There are fines for lack of certification and improper packaging and, worse, a chance for loss of life and property. You may be jailed if you show that you willfully ignored shipping requirements. Even if you ask someone else to package the shipment, you must be trained because you know what the hazardous material is and therefore have some responsibility for it.

Hazardous materials include hazardous chemicals, infectious substances, radioactive materials, compressed gases, dry ice, liquid nitrogen, lithium batteries, aerosol cans and other pressurized items, and more. Commonly shipped hazardous materials include dry ice and liquid nitrogen, infectious materials, lithium batteries, and aerosol cans.

Training is available through EH&S; see below for more information. EH&S also ships Radioactive Material; contact Radiation Safety at 206.543.6328 for more information.

Environmental Health and Safety is required to notify the Department of Homeland Security if you ship certain listed substances governed by the recent Chemical Facilities Anti-Terrorism Standards Title 6 CFR Part 27.

International shipments may also be subject to Import/Export requirements. Information on these requirements and contact information can be found on the UW’s Office of Sponsored Programs website.


Training for shipping hazardous materials

EH&S offers a Shipping Hazardous Materials class which meets US DOT requirements. You must be re-certified every two years.

We also offer online classes for those who only ship certain dangerous goods such as dry ice, Category B infectious materials or dangerous goods in excepted quantities.

Biological Substances Category B
Dry Ice with non-dangerous goods or Exempt Patient Specimens
Dangerous goods in excepted quantities


References for online training

These reference materials are referred to in the online training for Shipping and Transport of Hazardous Materials:


Assistance with shipping hazardous materials

packaging with flowersEH&S, in coordination with several departments around campus, offers assistance for trained UW students, faculty and staff who need to ship hazardous materials.

For assistance in shipping radioactive materials, contact the Radiation Safety Office at 206.543.6328.

For assistance with all other hazardous materials, contact the Hazardous Materials Shipping Coordinator at 206.685.2849 or email We offer assistance only - you must already be trained and currently certified.


Significant Changes for 2016

These are mostly small changes that won't affect most shipments. A few pertain to lithium battery packing instructions:

  • PI 965, text has been added into Section IB to require the outer packagings to be rigid. To reinforce this requirement, the permitted packagings tables in Section IB and Section II have been modified to identify the descriptions of outer packagings permitted, e.g. wooden boxes, fibreboard boxes, and fibre drums. The same changes have been made to Section II of PI 966 - PI 970 and Section IB of PI 968.
  • PI 966 and PI 969, text has been added to clearly identify what may be considered as "equipment" for the purposes of the packing instructions. The same clarifying text has been added to PI 967 and PI 970.
  • PI 967 and PI 970, a provision limiting the exception from application of the lithium battery handling label on packages with lithium batteries contained in equipment where there are no more than four cells or two batteries in the package. The exception from the application of the lithium battery handling label will only apply where there are no more than two such packages in the consignment. To provide time for shippers to modify their shipping processes to apply the lithium battery handling label to packages when there are more than two packages in a consignment, a 12-month transition period has been provided for, although shippers are recommended to implement this requirement as soon as possible.

Previous Changes to Air Shipping Regulations

There were mostly small changes in 2015 that won't affect most shipments (see complete list of changes below) but there are three changes that are worth highlighting.

  • UN3090, Lithium Metal Batteries, (not contained or packaged with equipment) are forbidden for shipment on passenger aircraft. Packing Instruction 968 have been revised to identify that these batteries are not permitted on passenger aircraft. This includes a requirement that packages prepared in accordance with Section II must bear a Cargo Aircraft Only label in addition to the lithium battery handling label. They have also modified PI 969 (and also PI 966 for Lithium Ion batteries packed with equipment) to clarify that the number of lithium batteries in a package must not exceed the number for the equipment's operation plus two spares.
  • Portable electronic devices, Carried by Passengers or Crew containing lithium batteries and spare batteries have been restructured to set the requirements out in three parts:
    1. Spare lithium batteries above a specified size, which are permitted only with the approval of the operator, and that must be in carry-on baggage;
    2. Lithium battery powered electronic devices containing batteries above a specified size, which are permitted only with the approval of the operator; and
    3. Portable electronic devices (PED) and spare batteries for such devices where the batteries are at or below the specified size which are permitted without operator approval. PED may be in checked or carryon baggage. All spare batteries must be in carry-on baggage.

  • Documentation, A new paragraph, has been added to recommend that shippers should identify "not restricted" on the air waybill when the packages bear diamond-shaped pictograms required by the Globally Harmonized System for Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS), but where the substance(s) do not meet the classification criteria as dangerous goods.

In 2014 there were only a few minor changes (mostly for those who ship small lithium batteries). Listed below are the main changes:

  • Additional proper shipping names previously found only in the IMDG manual. They are all "forbidden for transport by air."
  • You are now allowed to use the limited quantity mark without the "Y" (the mark used for ground or sea transport) as long as all the other required marks and label are correct.

Finally there are two changes to battery shipments:

  1. Change to Special Provision A806 regarding Nickel Metal Hydride shipments by Sea.
  2. Changes to Lithium Battery Packing Instructions 965-970, 965 and 968 (see the document for specifics), clarification on the lithium battery handling label and an example (8.1P) of a shipper's declaration for a lithium ion batteries shipment.

There were only a few significant changes for 2013. The two changes with the broadest and biggest impact on the UW community are:

1) When shipping Cargo Aircraft only material, you must use the new label (see below). The old label is no longer legal to use.


New Label (20K) NEW LABEL

2) Changes affecting Lithium Battery classification and shipping. There are added revisions to the standard definitions of "Lithium Battery", "Lithium Cell" and "Net Quantity". They also further defined when something is to be shipped as a "Battery Powered Vehicle" vs. Lithium Batteries Contained in Equipment (changes to Special provision A21 and new Special Provision A185). The final change has to do with the quantity of Lithium batteries you can ship under the "Section II" provisions of packing instructions 965 - 970.

Federal Express

Federal Express has implemented many changes to the manner in which you must ship Dangerous Goods with them. The change with the biggest impact is that FedEx Express will require all Shipper's Declarations for Dangerous Goods (DDG) to be prepared using one of the following methods:

  • FedEx-approved vendor software applications
  • Preapproved shipper-proprietary software
  • FedEx Express automated shipping solutions that have dangerous goods edit checks.

Note: FedEx Ship ManagerŪ Software and FedEx Ship ManagerŪ Server both have Dangerous Goods edit checks. The interactive templates previously available on are no longer offered. So you can no longer use the FedEx DDG PDF document for generating your DDG for shipment on FedEx.

FedEx has also changed how you can ship lithium batteries. If you have any questions or would like additional information please contact FedEx directly at the the FedEx Dangerous Goods/Hazardous Materials Hotline at 1.800.GoFedEx/1.800.463.3339 (say "dangerous goods" when prompted).


Emergency Response Information

More information is now needed along with the 24 Hour Emergency Response telephone number. All UW locations use a contractor (currently CHEMTREC) to provide Emergency Response. Now, you may be asked to include the contractor name and customer number. There are 26 different CHEMTREC customer numbers for different UW locations. Email for the contract number that applies to your location. You must also include "University of Washington" in your shipper address, which is how CHEMTREC would identify you in the event of an emergency response.

Again, besides a 24 Hour Emergency Response number, DOT requires you to provide additional emergency response information in a manner that is available for use when away from the package containing the hazardous material. To comply with this requirement, either provide the MSDS for the material along with your shipping paper (DDG) or provide the proper emergency response guide book pages for your material based upon its UN number. In either case, whether you use the MSDS or the ERG pages, the following information must be present:

  • The basic description and technical name of the hazardous material
  • Immediate hazards to health
  • Risks of fire or explosion
  • Immediate precautions to be taken in the event of an accident or incident
  • Immediate methods for handling fires
  • Initial methods for handling spills or leaks in the absence of fire
  • Preliminary first aid measures

If you use the ERG guide book pages to meet the above requirements then you need to indicate the "basic description and technical name of the hazardous material" (its proper shipping name and UN number) on the guide book pages.


Shipping Resources


Transportation by personal vehicle

You cannot transport hazardous materials in your personal vehicle for work related activities. If you have any questions about this policy, please contact the Hazardous Materials Shipping Coordinator at 206.685.2849 or email