Hazardous Materials Transportation Act (HMTA): How To Comply

Dec 7, 2023 | Blog, Trucking Info

The Hazardous Materials Transportation Act (HMTA) of 1975 is a key U.S. law that aims to increase protection from the inherent dangers posed by HAZMAT transport.

HMTA was established to create consistency across existing safety regulations to prevent incidents and risks.

What Is The Hazardous Materials Transportation Act?

The Hazardous Materials Transportation Act (HTMA) is the primary federal U.S. law that regulates the transportation of hazardous materials.

It is managed and enforced by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

What Is The Purpose Of The HMTA?

The primary objective of the HMTA-Hazardous Material Transportation Act is to protect health, safety, and property from the inherent risks that exist when transporting hazardous material in commerce.

This is done by improving the regulation and enforcement authority of the Secretary of Transportation.

What Is Defined As Hazardous Material?

A hazardous material is a substance or material that the Secretary of Transportation has determined as capable of posing an unreasonable risk to persons, property, or natural resources.

Such risks may result from any hauling incidents and accidents or spills when transported in commerce.

As hazardous materials, DOT identifies various biological, chemical, gas, or radioactive substances. 

Note that for air cargo, hazardous materials transportation regulations are also defined by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Aviation Transportation Association (IATA).  

How Will You Know If A Material Is Hazardous For Transportation And Stay Compliant?

The information for identifying and/or classifying hazardous materials is documented in the most current version of the DOT Hazardous Materials Table, which provides an extensive list of substances.

When transporting dangerous goods, you need to review, identify, and classify each material on a case-by-case basis.

You should always clarify HAZMAT classification/identification in detail before shipping. If you have doubts, you should consult an EHS Hazardous Materials Specialist.

If you have any questions regarding HAZMAT shipping, packaging, or regulations, contact our Safety and Compliance department at Pinnacle Freight Systems, Inc. at tel. 732-667-5261 ext. 118.

How Do You Transport Hazardous Goods (And Stay Compliant)? 

DOT HAZMAT regulations delineate provisions for transporting hazardous waste and dangerous goods.

Provisions For Transportation Of Dangerous Goods And Hazardous Waste

Classification And Labeling

All HAZMAT should be appropriately classified and labeled according to DOT standards. In this way, shippers and carriers identify what type of dangerous materials (or hazardous waste) they transport. 

There are 9 classes of hazardous materials; most have subdivisions.

  1. Explosives and materials with blasting agents. 
  2. Gasses, divided into: oxygen, flammable/non-flammable gas, and inhalation hazard. 
  3. Flammable liquids and combustible liquids. These are further identified as gasoline, flammable, combustible, and fuel oil.
  4. Flammable solid, spontaneously combustible, and dangerous when wet.
  5. Oxidizer and organic peroxide.
  6. Poison (toxic) and poison inhalation hazard.
  7. Radioactive
  8. Corrosive
  9. Miscellaneous – generally includes but is not limited to environmentally hazardous substances

Packaging and Container Standards

To comply with HMTA during the transportation of hazardous chemicals, the law requires specific types of safe packages and containers to be compliant. 

HAZMAT regulations regarding packaging are meant to protect drivers, shippers, and the environment from leaks, spills, and any other accident.

Marking and Placarding

HAZMAT vehicles must be properly marked on all four sides with HAZMAT placards, with the proper HAZMAT class and ID number (or name).

This marking is vital for emergency procedures. It also informs the public of the type of hazardous chemicals being transported.

In addition, containers must be marked respectively. In cases where containers have bulk packages, and the marking IDs are not visible, the hazardous material truck should be marked on each side and each end.

Trucks carrying hazardous materials are required to have all legal documentation that identifies their HAZMAT.

The same regulations apply to hazardous waste trucks.

Training And Certification

Hazardous material regulations dictate that anyone who deals with the transportation of hazardous chemicals, other dangerous goods, or hazardous waste must have the proper training and certifications.

Pinnacle Freight Systems, Inc. is a fully compliant HAZMAT-certified carrier. All our drivers are Hazmat Endorsed, and regular training takes place to ensure the motoring public’s safety, our staff’s safety and the protection of the environment and your load.

Reporting and Documentation

According to the Department of Transportation, all HAZMAT carriers must issue and maintain records and HAZMAT reports.

Reporting requirements vary depending on the type of substance and mode of transport. HAZMAT reports are submitted electronically to the DOT system before shipping. Any changes must be submitted immediately.

Submitted information is used by government agencies to enforce regulations and ensure compliance. 

Plus, in cases of an accident, shipment information to first responders can be identified instantly. It also provides post-incident reports in an effort to prevent similar accidents from happening again and to designate better handling in the future.

Emergency Response Planning

HAZMAT DOT regulations mandate emergency response planning for incidents involving hazardous chemicals and hazardous waste transport.

HAZMAT transport incidents can occur at the origin or destination (when storing, loading, and unloading) or en route during transit.

Incident report systems include distinct steps to handle emergencies, depending on the type of HAZMAT freight, the vehicle, and other conditions.

In all cases, set priorities include life safety, hazard control, and protecting the environment.

Safeguarding Hazardous Material Transportation

At Pinnacle Freight Systems, Inc., we are constantly training and upgrading our expertise, infrastructure, and procedures to prevent incidents and safeguard the HAZMAT supply chain.

This means safeguarding the well-being of our drivers, our staff, and the nearby community.

We are fully compliant HAZMAT carriers. This is why we offer FTL and LTL HAZMAT as well as temperature protection on hazardous shipments when required. Ready to get started?

Frequently Asked Questions On Hazardous Materials ACT (HMTA)

Here are some questions often addressed to our Safety and Compliance department:

Where Is The Hazardous Materials Table Located?

You can find the official DOT Hazardous Materials Table via the websites of the U.S. Department Of Transport (Pipeline And Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.)

Because there are continuous changes and amendments, you are often directed to the online tools of the Code Of Federal Regulations. Here, you can check the latest updates on hazardous material transportation.

What Is Hazardous Material OSHA?

In the United States, hazardous materials are defined, regulated, and administered by various bodies, including OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration.)

For OSHA, hazardous materials are “any substances or chemicals which are hazardous to people’s health or are physically hazardous.” 

The OSHA list of HAZMAT includes a wide range of chemicals, such as carcinogens, irritants, and any agents that damage the lungs, skin, eyes, etc. 

Other types of OSHA hazardous materials are chemicals that combust or explode but also substances that produce or release dusts, vapors, or mists – even during normal handling, use, or storage.

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Fax: 732.667.5265

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500 Cedar Lane, Florence, NJ 08518

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