Shipping Hazardous Materials
The U.S. Department of Transportation (US DOT) requires you be trained and certified before shipping hazardous materials. Even if someone else handles your shipment for you, you are responsible for packaging and labeling of hazardous materials correctly, and providing the reqiured documentation. Fines for non-compliance and potential legal action can occur if you are found to have willfully ignored hazardous materials shipping regulations.
Hazardous materials include hazardous chemicals, infectious substances, radioactive materials, compressed gases, dry ice, liquid nitrogen, lithium batteries and more.
Review the regulation changes for shipping hazardous materials by air in the FAQ section on this page.
EH&S provides online and classroom training courses for UW personnel who ship hazardous materials (see below for more information).
We also ship radioactive material; contact EH&S's Radiation Safety team at 206.543.6328 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
We are required to notify the U.S. Department of Homeland Security if you ship chemicals of interest governed by the Chemical Facility 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 training 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, Biological Substances Category B or dangerous goods in excepted quantities.
These materials are referred to in our online shipping training classes:
How you can get help
Assistance with shipping hazardous materials
EH&S, in coordination with several other 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 EH&S's Radiation Safety team at 206.543.6328 or email@example.com.
For assistance with all other hazardous materials, contact the Hazardous Materials Shipping Coordinator at 206.685.2849 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
EH&S provides the following services:
Training on shipping hazardous materials
Hazardous materials shipping consultation and assistance, including hazardous materials classification, labels, assessment and regulatory interpretations
Regulatory liaison between Federal agencies and the shippers, in the event of an audit or investigation
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
The most recent changes to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) regulations for shipping dangerous goods by air can be found on the IATA website. Most of the changes are minor and don’t apply in most circumstances. The only global regulation change that applies to all shipments is the UN number size requirement.
- For packages under 30 kg/L, the size of the UN numbers must be 1/4 inch in height.
- For packages equal to or greater than 30 kg/L, the size of the UN numbers must be 1/2 inch in height.
View the Lithium Battery Guidance Document (PDF) on the IATA Lithium Batteries webpage to review the 2021 regulation changes for shipments containing lithium batteries.
If you have any questions about any of these changes, please email email@example.com.
Federal Express has implemented many changes in the shipment of dangerous goods with them. The biggest change is a requirement that all Shipper's Declarations for Dangerous Goods (DDG) be prepared using one of the following methods:
- FedEx-approved vendor software applications
- Pre-approved shipper-proprietary software
- FedEx Express automated shipping solutions with dangerous goods edit checks
FedEx has also changed its rules for shipping lithium batteries. If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact FedEx directly at the FedEx Dangerous Goods/Hazardous Materials Hotline at 1.800.GoFedEx or 1.800.463.3339 (say "dangerous goods" when prompted).
All UW locations use a contractor (currently CHEMTREC) to provide Emergency Response information. You must provide their 24-hour emergency contact: 1.800.424.9300.
You may be asked to include a contractor name and customer number. We have 26 different customer numbers for different UW locations. Email firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
In addition to a 24-hour emergency response number, US DOT requires you to provide additional emergency response information. To comply with this requirement, either provide the material safety data sheet (MSDS) [link to Safety Data Sheets page] for the material along with your shipping paper (Declaration for Dangerous Goods) or provide the proper Emergency Response Guidebook pages for your material based upon its UN number.
In either case, whether you use the MSDS or the Emergency Response Guidebook pages, the following information must be present:
- 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 Emergency Response Guidebook 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) found on the guidebook pages.
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 email@example.com.