The DOT packaging regulations requiring Performance-Oriented Packaging (POP), are based on the UN recommendations on the shipment of hazardous materials.
With the passage of HM-181 in 1992, the U.S. DOT has, for the most part, done away with construction specifications of packaging and has converted to performance-oriented methods, whereby a package is required to pass a series of tests to determine its suitability to package certain materials.
Packaging for hazardous materials is now dependent on the hazard classification of a product and its physical attributes. The "UN" marking on the package indicates the level to which the package is tested and passed.
The Information Required for Packaging Hazardous Materials
To determine proper packaging used for shipment of hazardous materials, certain information about the product being shipped is required, and the shipper should have up-to-date copies of CFR 49 Parts 100-185 (revised as of 10/1/96). If shipping by air, copies ofIATA (International Air Transport Association) and ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) regulations are a must. The UPS Guide for Shipping Ground and Air Hazardous Materials should be requested from United Parcel Service for those shipping UPS. They have some of their own packaging requirements in addition to the UN requirements. For shipments to foreign countries, the shipper is required to be aware of the regulations of the country of destination for products being shipped to that country.
Minimum product information required would be the product's UN number (according to the hazardous materials table, CFR 49 part 172.101), its proper shipping name, its hazard classification, the packing group to which it belongs, the product density and vapor pressure (for liquids), or the maximum gross weight of the container with lading, in kilograms (for solids).
Hazard Classifications and Packing Groups
Materials are grouped as to the specific hazard they present. The groups are: Explosives, Gases, Flammable Liquids, Flammable Solids, Oxidizers, Poisonous Materials, Corrosive Materials, and Miscellaneous. Some products may present multiple hazards. In those cases the Federal Regulations have tables to determine which hazard takes precedence.
Within each hazard classification there are three packing groups (I, II, & III). Packing Group I presents the greatest risk (the most regulated), Packing Group II presents a moderate risk (moderately regulated), and Packing Group III presents the least risk (the least regulated).
In the marking of packaging with a "UN number", Group I corresponds to a marking of "X", Group II to a marking of "Y", and Group III to a marking of "Z".
How to Read a UN Number or Marking
The marking that is applied to a UN certified package indicates the type of package and the levels to which the packaging has been approved. The following describes the sequence of numbers and letters that appear in a UN marking and what they designate.
Contents of UN Markings
The markings associated with performance criteria indicate the type of package and the levels to which the package has been approved. Each set of information is separated by a slash mark (/). The following explains each set of numbers and letters in the sequence.
|UN Indication - The package must be marked with a UN Symbol, or just the letters UN are required on embossed metal containers.
Packaging Identification Code - This code identifies the type of packaging, the material of construction, and a category within the type when applicable.
|Type of Package||Material||Category|
1 - Drums
2 - Barrels
3 - Jerricans
4 - Boxes
5 - Bags
6 - Composite Packagings
A - Steel
B - Aluminum
C - Natural Wood
D - Plywood
F - Reconstituted Wood
G - Fiberboard
H - Plastic
L - Textile
M - Paper, Multiwall
N - Metal other than Steel
P - Glass, Porcelain or
A, B, or H Drums-Jerricans
1 - Closed Head
2 - Open Head
A or B Boxes